The Rundown: Rizzo Returns, Mother Nature Hates Baseball, Jackie Robinson Day

No game yesterday so I watched a replay of Saturday’s attempt at major league baseball that was a textbook example of attrition. A late TD, missed extra point, and a field goal by Javy Baez helped the Cubs rally from a 10-5 deficit in a 14-10 victory played in wintry conditions. Bear down, Chicago Cubs.

Weather was the story of the day. More on that later, but, the decision to cancel yesterday’s game was more than OK with Cubs manager Joe Maddon, who also did not want Saturday’s game played.

“I thought the 2008 World Series game [with Tampa Bay] was the worst weather game I ever participated in,” Maddon said. “I think it just got surpassed. That’s not baseball weather. I don’t know what the intent is. I really don’t. The elements were horrific to play baseball. It’s not conducive.”

Conducive to good baseball? Maybe just decent or passable baseball? Neither made an appearance at Wrigley Field on Saturday afternoon. In normal conditions, the game-tying, bases loaded double by Baez in the 8th inning would have slowed to a single, keeping the Braves ahead by at least a run.

Someone had to win that game and I am not disappointed with the outcome. I just wish spring would show up. Extended forecast models indicate we could possibly have snow at any point in Chicago through the first week of May. The last time this city saw snow that late was back on May 5, 2005.

Cubs News & Notes

Tyler Chatwood was tabbed to start Sunday’s postponed game against the Braves. He’ll now take the mound Monday, with the rest of the rotational schedule likely being pushed back a day. This is the first meeting of the season between the two NL Central rivals. The Cubs were 14-5 against the Cardinals last year, 8-1 at Wrigley Field. Adam Wainwright, who is 14-9 with a 4.03 ERA in 34 career starts against the Cubs, takes the bump for St. Louis.

The Cardinals are coming off of a four-game sweep against the Reds in Cincinnati.

For more on the NL Central Division, be sure to check out this week’s Central Intelligence column by Erik Mauro.

Welcome back to Wrigley Field, Yadier Molina. Don’t forget the pine tar.

With a 7-7 record entering this evening’s game, the Cubs have shown several inconsistencies that may be troublesome long-term despite the small sample size.

Anthony Rizzo will be reactivated from the DL for tonight’s hame. The Cubs optioned Efren Navarro to clear a roster spot for the sorely missed first baseman.

Monday marks the 70th anniversary of the first Cubs game televised on WGN, a milestone that will be celebrated before and during the telecast of tonight’s game against the Cardinals. Hey, Hey! Holy Mackerel!

How About That!

Weather conditions forced several Sunday games to be postponed. In all, six games, including a Yankees-Tigers doubleheader, were canceled as winter continues its grip on the Midwest.

MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports that there is little reason to expect Braves phenom Ronald Acuña to be promoted before Monday’s game against the Phillies and there is likely no guarantee it will happen during the homestand.

With a record of 13-2, the Red Sox are off to their best start in 118 years.

Are the Mets the new team to beat in the NL East?

Jackie Robinson Day in Baseball

Sunday was Jackie Robinson Day across MLB, though the celebrations were tempered by all of the postponements. Robinson’s daughter Sharon thinks black baseball players are more reluctant to speak publicly about racial issues than their NFL and NBA colleagues because black players constitute a lower percentage of rosters.

Baseball historians and authors have taken to Twitter to remind the masses that Jackie Robinson breaking MLB’s color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 wasn’t welcome by everyone.

MLB has removed a Jackie Robinson/Chief Wahoo commemorative baseball cap from its online store after widespread backlash. Original Wahoo hats, however, are still available for purchase.

Sunday’s Three Stars

  1. The Weather – Mother Nature won in Chicago, Cleveland, Minnesota, Kansas City and swept a doubleheader in Detroit. The White Sox have played just 12 games in 18 calendar days and the weather has adversely affected baseball’s lagging attendance through three weeks.
  2. The Astros-Rangers Game – Justin Verlander and Bartolo Colon staged an epic duel on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. Colon took a perfect game into the 8th inning while Verlander was equally impressive.
  3. Joey Luchessi – The rookie pitcher led the Padres to a 10-1 victory over the Giants with 9 strikeouts across six innings without giving up a walk.

They Said It

  • “Part of the protests, in NFL, NBA, is how are we getting these proceeds in from games and funneling them into the African-American community? So baseball players do that through their own charities or work within communities that they’re playing. They’re in a much more difficult position to do something collectively. They collectively acknowledge we need to put more effort into reaching kids with color, and at this point, that’s as collective as we’ll see from them.” – Sharon Robinson
  • “[Shohei Ohtani] throws 100 miles per hour and can take you deep at the same time. If you don’t respect that, I don’t know who you are or what you’re doing.” – Chris Sale

Monday Walk Up Song

A Hazy Shade of Winter by The Bangles

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Michael Canter

Michael Canter is the CEO of Jivewired, a streaming television platform launching in January 2018 on Apple TV and Roku. "Cubs fan since I was five years old (1969): lover of classic rock and indie music; partial insomniac; detests the liberal use of the word 'albeit' by baseball writers; Nice guy, though somewhat brooding."

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