I’m tired of commenting on the business side of baseball, talking about the novel coronavirus, and trying to navigate the politics of what has been a much needed rise in awareness of social injustice. I just want baseball to return, so today I am going to try to keep the focus on the game itself.
It disgusts me that at least eight owners may be in favor of canceling the season outright and I think I’d rather save my comments on that until I feel a little less angst toward the game. I’m just a little spent emotionally after yesterday’s rant, so I’d prefer to get back to the things that make the game so wonderful, like dingers, particularly those that come with the bases loaded.
- “Back, back, back…hey hey!” – Jack Brickhouse
- “It might be…it could be…it is!” – Harry Caray
- “Swung on, belted!” – Chip Caray
- “There’s a deep drive!” – Len Kasper
Cubs News & Notes
- Anthony Rizzo misses the little things about baseball, like the daily drive to Wrigley Field.
- Though he has yet to play a game wearing the blue pinstripes, Jason Kipnis is already one of my favorite players. He’s been a monster on Twitter lately.
- Jason Heyward gave another candid interview regarding racial injustice in this country. If anything, the right fielder would excel as a politician or civil rights leader once his baseball career ends.
- Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune recalls his favorite and funniest confrontations with Sammy Sosa.
- There may have been more to Sosa’s surge as a power hitter than what many think is the obvious reason. An adjustment in his mechanics between the 1997 and ’98 seasons played a big part, too.
- The path that brought Ryne Sandberg to the Cubs in 1982 wasn’t as simple as you may have thought, and the roots of that trade go all the way back to 1965, when Chicago drafted Ken Holtzman.
- Overlooked in all the hype surrounding Sosa lately was the power surge by Sandberg in 1990, when the second baseman hit a career high 40 taters.
- Sandberg arguably deserves more due than he has received since retiring, and that may be because of his failed attempts to manage the team, plus the desire of Theo Epstein to put those lovable loser years firmly in the past. Upon arriving to Chicago, Epstein rejected Sandberg’s managerial overtures.
- This spring training hitting contest between Sandberg, Mark Grace, and Shawon Dunston is well worth your viewing time.
- In drafting Ed Howard IV, the Cubs are suddenly deep in young middle infielders, especially at shortstop, with Javier Báez, Nico Hoerner, minor league prospect Pedro Martinez, and potentially international free agent Cristian Hernandez, who could be the best of the bunch.
- Jordan Bastian, Cubs beat writer for MLB.com, named his top 5 Cubs managers of all-time and Joe Maddon is not his number one choice.
- Don Zimmer was only listed as an honorable mention, which is a shame because he was one of the game’s better daily quotes.
- Sometimes being a Cubs fan means separating baseball and politics.
- Ian Happ and Obvious Shirts have teamed up to create a new t-shirt for those of you who support MLB players.
Find Your Inner Hero
Simple, but spot on, wouldn’t you say?
I believe we should include 'hate' when teaching children which are the bad words
— KᗩTE ᑫᑌIGᒪEY (@KateQFunny) June 17, 2020
Apropos of Nothing
Ryno was as old-school as they come. He and Mickey Mantle are two guys who circled the bases heads down without exception, no matter the moment. I’d add Hank Aaron and Ernie Banks to that list, and most sluggers before the current generation of players. That said, I do enjoy the theatrical displays of the modern game.
“Hit a home run – put your head down, drop the bat, run around the bases, because the name on the front is more – a lot more – important than the name on the back.” – Sandberg
Odds & Sods
Sandberg got his first hit at Wrigley Field, a can of corn that was lost in the sun by right fielder Leon Durham, but it was when he was still with the Phillies after the infielder earned a September ’81 call-up. Bob Dernier followed Sandberg in the Phillies order that game.
MLB News & Notes
Before the debate on what a shortened season means to the legitimacy of statistics and championships, I would like to opine that asterisks do not belong in baseball’s record books. Simply put, every season is different and if you dig deeply enough, you will ultimately find something worthy of exception. Too often we try to erase or marginalize history, which is befuddling to me.
I am, however, not opposed to a 16-team playoff format and I hope the league does it every season.
Let’s not forget that taxpayers have financed most MLB stadiums and fans are therefore entitled to baseball, this year and every season after.
Failure to salvage the 2020 season could come at a high cost to both players and owners.
If you read just one tweet this summer…
Agent Joel Wolfe on @MLB owners crying poverty:
"The Marlins played without fans for 15 years, yet still managed to give a player the biggest contract in sports history (Stanton), and then sold the team for a Billion dollar profit, with 5 competing buyers."
— Patrick Saunders (@psaundersdp) June 15, 2020
Rob Manfred’s uncomfortable appearance on ESPN the other night lacked the confidence and intelligence of his peers.
Manfred has one fan and his name is Colin Cowherd.
The Yankees might be in a little hot water.
The Royals were dominant in recruiting undrafted free agents this week.
Despite a lack of baseball, Hot Stove Cool Music marches on, even in a virtual environment.
Our annual Hot Stove Cool Music Chicago concert fundraiser streaming live June 25 8pm ET! Buy a ticket – help support the kids + families we serve who need us more than ever! INSANE special guests TBA@ftbnl @willdailey @pgammo @TheMikeOMalley @_TheBASE https://t.co/EK3JdatE7T
— Kay Hanley (@kayhanley) June 16, 2020
Sliding Into Home
Sandberg was never my favorite Cubs player, but it’s not the blasphemy you may think it is. I was a teenager when Dallas Green acquired the second baseman (a third baseman at the time) from the Phillies, and was originally against the trade for Larry Bowa because I really liked Iván De Jesus and hated Bowa. I mean, Philadelphia used to regularly beat the crap out of the North Siders, so I didn’t want any of their players coming to Chicago.
Even after Sandberg proved to be an annual All-Star, my guy was always Rick Sutcliffe. I was also a big fan of Jody Davis, so #23 was always just a little off my radar. Great player, no doubt, but it seemed while he was with the Cubs I always liked a different player more. Later it was Mark Grace and, of course, Sosa.
They Said It
- ‘‘My confidence was at an all-time high in 1990. I think, in all, I just did not miss my pitch all year. When I got the pitch I wanted and was ahead in the count, I just didn’t miss.’’ – Ryne Sandberg
Wednesday Walk Up Song
Centerfield by John Fogerty – As one of the greatest baseball songs of all time, this hit by the Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman is always worth a repeat entry in this section. Put me in, coach.