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Bote, Hamels, Smyly, and other bullets

Washington Nationals v Chicago Cubs
Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images

Finding stuff to link to and to talk about on an off-day can be taxing sometimes. It’s a hurry-up-and-wait process, especially after something big happened in the game previous to the break. That’s definitely the case here. Eventually non-David Bote articles were filed. Some of them were even interesting.

Not me. I love me some baseball. Me and my friend Herb watch a lotta games, here in the nearly air-conditioned comfort of my front room, with the ugly duct-taped leather couch and a plethora of institutional felines. We root for the underdog on a regular basis, all of us being humble and lovable.

David Bote, man, is he easy to root for. Ask Ken Rosenthal. Easy like Matt Szczur in previous seasons. Easy like Anthony Rizzo, who had his annual children’s camp on the off-day.

“This is the ultimate excitement,” Hamels said. “It’s the thing that when you’re a kid in the backyard, and you’re visualizing trying to win games, it’s always bases loaded, you’re down by 3 and you’re trying to hit the grand slam. For Bote to be able to do it, what a way to be able to experience that.

”I think all of us that were in the clubhouse, you’re jumping around and you’re trying to get down there as quick as you can. Just the joy that you get to see everybody be in, especially to lead into an off-day. I know we have a big series coming up against Milwaukee, so this is something to really pick our heads up and use this momentum.” — Cole Hamels.

That guy’s easy to root for, too. Working-men made good. I hope Bote gets his car back intact.

And if Hamels wants to be ‘this year’s Justin Verlander’, I’m all for it. As always * means autoplay on, or annoying ads, or both (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Cubs News and Notes:

  • Michael Beller (Sports Illustrated): From A’s-Mariners to Cubs-Brewers, this might be the most significant week of the regular season. “ will go a long way toward determining this year’s postseason matchups.”
  • Tom Haudricourt (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel {$}): With 8 games left, Brewers-Cubs battle for NL Central title resumes this week in Chicago. “Every game from now on is a big game, but especially against the Cubs,” said right-hander Jhoulys Chacín.
  • Nate Greabe (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): The Cubs are going to be alright: Reasons for optimism. “...the NL simply isn’t as good.”
  • Teddy Greenstein (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Joe Maddon offers thoughts on civility but shuts down talk of a future in politics. “I challenge you to get off your porch, get out of your basement, stop watching your TV and formulate your own opinions,” he said.
  • Andrew Joseph (USA Today*): Michael Wilbon ripped ESPN’s Cubs coverage but left game. “‘Dad, there can be a grand slam, right?’ No, we’re leaving. We gotta go. We gotta go to bed. ‘Dad, there can be a grand slam.’ We’re leaving. Let’s go. I’ll leave you here.”
  • Tony Andracki (NBC Sports Chicago*): Hamels is rejuvenated and leading the Cubs’ rotation. “Small sample size and all that, but Hamels is doing a damn good job of keeping the narrative relevant that he could be this year’s Verlander.”
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Hamels looking more like staff ace than emergency innings-eater. “It’s like those commercials for Nu Finish that used to run during Cubs games on WGN.”
  • Jon Greenberg (The Athletic {$}): Tyler Chatwood is waiting for the phone to ring, searching for that familiar feeling. “ can’t go out there and repeat that feeling from watching on video. You’ve just got to find that feeling yourself.”
  • Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation*): Sure sounds like the Nationals dumped Brandon Kintzler on the Cubs for stupid reasons. Well, saving money.
  • Chris Kuc (Chicago Sun-Times* {$}): Still rehabbing from surgery, Drew Smyly awaits chance to pitch for Cubs. “I’m healthy but I’m not ready to go pitch every five days or every couple of days as a reliever,” Smyly, 29, said.
  • John Grochowski (Chicago Sun-Times* {$}): Despite a below-average number of HRs, Cubs still lead the NL in runs scored. “...the Cubs lead the NL with 576 runs, 16 more than the runner-up Dodgers and 55 more than the league average.”
  • Jeff Burdick (Cubs Insider): Maddon’s unorthodox Sunday Night lineup could have playoff implications. “Personally, I found it a smart move with solid statistical justification.”
  • Tony Andracki (NBC Sports Chicago*): David Bote’s story is too unbelievable, even for Hollywood. “ was one of the best moments in franchise history.”
  • Carrie Muskat (*): From Africa to hero, Bote’s had quite a journey. “...start at an airport in Mombasa, Kenya. That’s where Bote learned he was selected by the Cubs.
  • David Kaplan and Eddie Olczyk talk to Bote [AUDIO].
  • Rian Watt (Fangraphs): Bote rises. “When you roll a fair dice 10 times and it comes up sixes in all 10, you don’t scoff at the accomplishment because it was unlikely to happen that way, but rather marvel at it for exactly that reason.”
  • Moshe Wilensky (Cubs Insider): Has Bote put Tommy La Stella out of a job? “Bote’s performance is the real driving force in his increased playing time, both now and in the future, but the financial considerations can’t be ignored.”
  • Patrick Mooney (The Athletic {$}): Jason Heyward on why playoff experience matters, how the Cubs offense is evolving and those Bryce Harper rumors. “Here we are again with still another opportunity in August to play for a division and try to clinch Step 1.”

Food for thought:

Thanks for reading.