The Cubs enter the 61st game of the season with a record of 33-27, just a game off their NL Central-leading 34-26 mark in the shortened 2020 campaign. Those of you keeping tabs on it might have known they were actually “better” last year, but, very recent results aside, you have to admit this group feels like it’s got more verve than the previous iteration.
Their 19-win May alone was enough to establish superiority over a squad that seemed to be more or less sleepwalking through the season. I’ll let you cast your own aspersions when it comes to the desire of the players involved, as I don’t believe they were actually lacking in that department. I do, however, believe the organization as a whole was derelict in its duties to cultivate and foster a culture of accountability and what I guess we’ll call “edge” for lack of a better term.
That all started years before under Joe Maddon and it’s why I had called for the legendary manager to be removed prior to the end of his contract. He appeared to have begun mailing it in well before that fifth season, the post office just took a long time to deliver the package. Enter David Ross, whose goal to get the Cubs back to the type of mentality he experience as a player was derailed by the pandemic.
After a painfully slow start, the Cubs are playing a different brand of baseball than what we have seen over the past few seasons, or even the first few weeks of this season. Of course, that comes at either the worst or best possible time depending on what you want them to do in the future.
You can probably tell by now that Michael Canter isn’t penning (or pecking) this piece, which is the unfortunate result of an injury suffered while attending a game at Miller Park. I could make a joke that it serves him right for making his first ballgame a Brewers affair that didn’t involve the Cubs, but I’d never stoop so low. Besides, I’ve already gone to three non-Wrigley games, two of which didn’t feature the Cubs.
In any case, let’s hope Mike is back soon and that he’s no less hip despite having a stress fracture in his. As I’m wont to do in this coverage instances, I’m eschewing his typical style because I just can’t mimic it properly.
Kris Bryant keeps on keeping on
Cinderella tried to tell us over two decades ago that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone, but that didn’t stop far too many Cubs fans from rooting for the team to turn Bryant into two teenagers and a starting spot for David Bote. It’s weird enough to actively hope ownership can save money, but it’s something else entirely to offer to drive one of the best players in franchise history to the airport upon the announcement of his trade.
I’ll never be able to wrap my head around the idea that some of the same people who wanted to give Addison Russell more chances despite his despicable behavior and well-below-average performance weren’t willing to extend grace to one of the nicest people ever. Maybe the problem is that Bryant is just such a genuinely good dude that many think it’s all a joke. Or maybe some people are idiots.
Yeah, I think that’s it.
All Bryant has done this year is put up career-best offensive numbers while starting at five positions. He hasn’t been at third base in nearly two months, over which time both Matt Duffy and Patrick Wisdom have become cult heroes at the hot corner. That doesn’t happen if Bryant prioritizes his own best interests over those of the team.
But what if the team feels offering Bryant an adequate contract extension isn’t in line with those best interests?
“I don’t put any much thought into it,” Bryant told the media in San Diego. “It’s wasted energy. Whatever happens is going to happen. But it’s cool to hear, when I’m running out to the outfield in Wrigley, all the fans saying they want me.”
Adbert Alzolay has a blister on his middle finger
The young righty was noticeably off his game right out of the gate Monday night and it was revealed afterward that he’d developed a blister on his middle finger. Not only will that keep him from moving these refrigerators and installing microwave ovens, it could very well keep him from his next start.
Alzolay said the issue actually developed during his previous start and that he thought he could pitch through it, but that wasn’t really the case. The Cubs are considering him day-to-day for now, so we’ll see how the next few days play out.
City Connect jerseys unveiled
After much anticipation and a leak that went over like a lead balloon, the Cubs have unveiled the special City Connect uniforms they’ll wear on June 12 against the Cardinals. The full look is quite a bit better than just seeing the jersey itself on a plastic hanger, so that’s a relief. And even though the hats are pretty much a direct riff on a pre-existing Blue Jays alternate, they’re very clean.
I know a lot of folks still object to the Nike Swoosh on the jerseys, but I honestly am not bothered by that in the least. What I hate, however, is that an authentic jersey costs nearly $500. And we’re not talking about game-worn or autographed and framed.
Get better soon, Canter!