September musings

Maples are my favorite kind of tree. They are at their best this time of the year. I grew up in the shade of a huge one and one of our two pooches is even named Maple. But someday a maple baseball bat is going to be the cause of death. What a way to go.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that one of the games in the season-ending series between Iowa and Memphis included five shattered bats. I don’t know how many of those were maple, but there is a growing body of evidence that maple bats crack differently than ones made of ash. A game which has always featured balls as hard as stones being hurled around at high speeds and being swatted with wooden clubs is becoming even more dangerous with metallic mallets at amateur levels and maple ones in the major leagues...


What’s to be made of Mike Quade’s 17-7 record as the Cubs’ skipper? What a shame that the best series the team’s had in St. Louis in over 20 years and the best road trip it’s ever enjoyed benefit no one in the Cub legions with the possible exception of Mr. Clean. Will Jim Hendry attach any significance to this run? The games are barely facsimiles of meaningful ones when pennants and playoff berths are still at stake. Here’s a thought: maybe hiring Quade would so underwhelm the masses that attendance would stay down next year and keep the pressure relatively low on the youngsters. They’ve been thriving under more or less those conditions this month.

Phil Rogers mentioned Seattle as perhaps another logical spot for Ryne Sandberg in yesterday’s Tribune. It makes some sense. Sandberg hails from Washington. There are going to be a lot of jobs open this winter and Sandberg will get one of them, I’m betting. I hope it’s the one he’s best-suited for in the organization he’s most familiar with in all ways, especially organizational history and personnel.

Recent remarks by Mr. Ricketts can easily be interpreted as Sandberg stage-setters. The best combination of the new ownership’s business instincts and fondness for the Cubs would seem to be #23. The combination of a philosophical downshift to homegrown young talent and a no-name manager will cost the royal family a lot of money in the short-term. More, I hope they decide, than they can afford.

Pay no attention to the man behind the meaningless lineup cards!

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