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Cub Tracks lets it slide

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meatloaf, Saul ball, saltwater origins, and other bullets

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates
yeah right
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Cubs meatloaf. #narrativegate continues.

In out previous epistle, Cub Tracks hit the spot, talking about how we’re wonderful, the impact of trade rumors, dolphin happiness, and other bullets. Today we are happy to have left the Steel City behind and are looking forward to the four-game set against the Mets. Pierogi do go with meatloaf, I’m told. Could work. I’d be willing to do it, perhaps with the sour cream and dill sauce I use for Koprova Omacka, one of my favorite dishes. That would hit the spot, too — the kind of thing they might have at Cop Out Pierogis, where I’ve never been, but have heard about.

Right now I’m watching Berwyn-born former Chicagoan Bob Odenkirk do his best Elias Diaz imitation, using a drumstick instead of Anthony Rizzo’s large form. It’s working for Odenkirk too...’sall good, man. But Jimmy is a morally conflicted character in a morally complex world. Hard to make out what’s right and what’s wrong sometimes, Chuck. Real life is complicated, too. We’re leading off with a Rick Morrissey joint. Never let it be said that Cub Tracks is not in touch with the zeitgeist.

The writers are making a big deal out of Joe Musgrove’s slide into Javier Baez and the subsequent bench-clearing, focusing on the bench-clearing instead of the apparent rule violation that Jim Deshaies spoke of on the telecast, because that’s what sells.

Crew chief Gerry Davis instituted a video replay review to see if Musgrove interfered with Baez. However, replay officials at Major League Baseball’s central office in New York informed Davis that it was not a reviewable play.

I’d like to know why the hell not — I agree with JD. “The umpires got together and talked it out, and determined the slide did not violate the slide rule.”

Hooey. Rizzo payback is what that was. I call BS. I’d call Mike Ehrmantraut, if he were real, and let him sort it out. Not that I have any problem with either slide, but I have a problem with the way the league office behaves. I suspect that this behavior is going to cost us all a lot of baseball in a year or so, and I don’t like that one bit.

Not that I can do anything about it except to gripe in this desultory fashion. On to the big Citi — as always * means autoplay on, or annoying ads, or both (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Cubs News and Notes:

“I was going in hard to break up a double play,” Musgrove said. “You talk about an internal clock. [Baez] saw me coming. I was right in front of him. If he wanted to get out of the way, he should have. I wasn’t trying to hurt him by any means, but I was trying to go in hard like their guy [Anthony Rizzo] did. [Baez] should’ve got out of the way, I guess.”

Words were exchanged between Musgrove and Baez, drawing both teams from their respective dugouts and bullpens. Catcher Willson Contreras dashed into the middle of the scrum, and Hendricks appeared to play the role of peacemaker between Musgrove and Baez. The players quickly left the field, however, with nothing more than words flying from each side.

”He just went hard,” Baez said. “I’m not saying it was a bad slide, but he just went hard. I asked him, ‘What was that about?’ He said, ‘Sorry,’ and the conversation was over. Everybody came out because they had to. Sometimes players are just talking. That was the situation there and it was over. They came out of the dugout. They have to go to second base to see what happened. It was over.” — Carrie Muskat.

  • Rick Morrissey (Chicago Sun-Times*): Cubs manager Joe Maddon’s relationship with old-school baseball is complicated. “This is baseball! Its gray areas are its problem and its beauty.”
  • Matt Johnson (Sportsnaut): Does Joe Maddon teach his players to slide dirty? You have to read this. It’s the best column of the day.
  • Carrie Muskat (*): Cubs unable to sweep in tense finale with Bucs. “The Cubs had hoped to escape Pittsburgh with a sweep of the Pirates and without any more incidents on the basepaths but couldn’t do either.”
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Tensions mount between Cubs and Pirates in 2-1 loss. “The Cubs’ inability to collect a clutch hit prompted manager Maddon to lift starter Kyle Hendricks after only five innings and 71 pitches.”
  • Bruce Miles (Daily Herald {$}): Sizing up the NL Central challenge facing inconsistent Cubs. “It’s wonderful. I love good competition. I want to play in what’s considered the best division in all of baseball,” said Joe Maddon.
  • Sahadev Sharma (The Athletic {$}): Forget about your unsophisticated lineup complaints, the Cubs are starting to heat up. “...the Cubs have that fearsome heart of their order clicking together for the first time this season.”
  • Steve Greenberg (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Cubs teammate who knows Yu Darvish best says pitcher believes fans ‘hate’ him. “...the pitcher is having a hard time dealing with the criticism he’s hearing and reading as he serves his second stint on the disabled list of the season.”
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Hickey says Darvish expected to resume throwing soon, injury needed ‘couple days to calm down’. “It was something that was bothering him for a little bit,” Hickey explained to Mully and Hanley.
  • Tony Andracki (NBC Sports Chicago*): Before injury struck, one Cubs teammate thought Adbert Alzolay was ‘ready to explode’. “Chris Gimenez was ready for the 23-year-old right-hander to break out with Triple-A Iowa before the injury.”
  • Tommy Birch (Des Moines Register {$}): What’s going wrong for Cubs pitching prospect Jen-Ho Tseng this season? “He’ll have innings where it’s there, at-bats where it’s there, pitches where it’s there. It’s just a matter of stringing them all together on a consistent basis,” said Minor League Pitching Coordinator Brendan Sagara.
  • James Neveau (NBC Chicago*): Contreras gets last laugh in uniform controversy. “Instead of having the Venezuela flag on his arm, Contreras will instead be sporting it on his bats, where MLB’s uniform code doesn’t apply. “
  • Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): Victor Caratini wasn’t happy about being sent back down to AAA, but it was time. “...Caratini still has work to do developing behind the plate...” Elaborating on Tommy Birch story.
  • Chicago Tribune* {$}: Rizzo on interference ruling [VIDEO].
  • Smoking Musket: Albert Almora Jr, Chicago Cubs OF, wears WVU helmet in dugout. I do not know why this is either, and I spent an hour looking.
  • Carrie Muskat, Maria Guardado (*): Mark Langston glad he didn’t sign with Cubs in ‘78. “To me, the best thing happened, because I went off to go to college,” Langston said.

The Last Word?

Food For Thought:

Thanks for reading.