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Cub Tracks disappears into the night

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Javier Baez, Willson Contreras, Jon Lester, Kyle Schwarber, and other bullets

T-Mobile Home Run Derby
The grand finale
Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Home Run Derby! Gadiel Baez didn’t do Javy any favors. But hey, it has to be cool to even be there. I suspect Javier Baez has more All-Star appearances in his future. I suspect the same of Kyle Schwarber.

The Armed Services thing was dumb. Honestly, I think the whole thing is dumb, and badly-organized, but Javy and Schwarbs are in it, so I’ll temper my animus. I have nothing but respect for the players, who have to deal with all of that junk just to hit bombs.

The finale was pretty exciting though. The announcers were pretty Harper-centric but whatever. It’s over.

This happens today:

And now for the news — as always * means autoplay on, or annoying ads, or both (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Cubs News and Notes:

Back in January 2014, someone on Twitter asked the popular analyst Jason Parks: Who will have the better major-league career, Báez or Houston Astros prospect Carlos Correa? Before Parks would leave Baseball Prospectus, become one of Epstein’s special assistants and join the Arizona Diamondbacks as their pro scouting director, he responded: “Both could be all-stars; Báez could be a religion.” — Patrick Mooney {$}

Joe Maddon’s first thought when he heard about the firing of Mike Matheny was of him and his family. He’s also curious to see how the team reacts under interim guy Mike Schildt. The Cubs host the Cards in a 5 game series out of the all star break: “The personality of the team can change. What they’re willing to do, willing to try to do, how they react to situations. All that stuff changes with a new guy. You have no idea how it’s going to be. From my perspective I have to get used to a new guy. — Jesse Rogers.

  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Cubs trade rumors. (1). Jacob DeGrom. (2). Manny Machado.
  • Steve Greenberg (Chicago Sun-Times* {$}): Do Cubs — with talent everywhere — need ‘Bryzzo’ to lead them in second half? “...isn’t it tantalizing to think of how good the Cubs can be if Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant lead the way in the second half?”
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): Cubs surge to top of NL at All-Star break thanks to clubhouse culture. “...the Cubs are one poster team for making sure all parts of the puzzle are treated equal.”
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times* {$}): Cubs ride unlikely first-half MVPs to best record in NL at the break. “Pretty phenomenal,” manager Joe Maddon said.
  • Sahadev Sharma (The Athletic {$}): An All-Star once again, Cubs ace Jon Lester is doing everything he can to stay on top of his game. “I’ve noticed I’m not striking as many guys out,” Lester said. “I think that’s a combination of changing how I’m pitching. I’m throwing more changeups and I’m pitching up in the zone a little more, trying to throw in on guys’ hands as opposed to being down.”
  • Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): Yu Darvish hopes to throw off a mound this weekend, but mysteries remain. “Instead of tolerating the pain and getting used to it, I think it’s more important to prevent any of this happening in the future,” Darvish said. “In this rehab process there’s a little bit of preventative [work].”
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Cubs rookie reliever James Norwood maximizing his midseason audition. “The balance was there, and Norwood put it together,” Maddon said.
  • Mark Feinsand (MLB.com*): Cubs’ trio enjoying their All-Star experience. “The biggest thing I told them is just be prepared for craziness,” Jon Lester said.
  • Patrick Mooney (The Athletic {$}): The making of El Mago: How Javier Báez became Major League Baseball’s true crossover star. “Now, in the city of Chicago, kids are growing up saying, ‘I want to be like Javy.’”
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times* {$}): Tat-two part harmony: Javy Baez, brother wear love of the game on necks in Derby. “(Baez) said he has no regrets about getting the first of his many tattoos.”
  • Paul Sullivan (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Showtime comes naturally for All-Stars Javier Baez, Willson Contreras. “The big thing for me is watching these two knuckleheads over here having fun,” Lester said.
  • Jesse Sanchez (MLB.com*): Baez bows out after 479-footer, longest of Derby. “With brother pitching, Cubs’ 2B hits 16 HRs, but ousted by LA’s Max Muncy.”
  • Adrian Garro (Cut Four): Baez wore a Clemente jacket at Derby. “...who better to put on a jacket originally owned and worn by the late, great fellow Puerto Rican Roberto Clemente?”
  • Doug Glanville (NBC Sports Chicago*): And ode to El Mago [VIDEO].
  • Mark Feinsand (MLB.com*): Runner-up Schwarber hits Derby-high 55 HRs. “Although the Nationals Park crowd had cheered Schwarber’s titanic blasts during his first two rounds, it was abundantly clear that the fans were not in his corner in the finals.”
  • Chicago Tribune* {$}: Cubs’ Albert Almora Jr. says wife Krystal ‘is doing much better’. “No specifics were given regarding the medical emergency.”

No ‘food for thought’ today. Let’s instead think about the second half. Thanks for reading!