Reading a Good Book Lately
I’m not quite finished with Ron Rapoport’s new Ernie Banks bio (Let’s Play Two: The Legend of Mr. Cub; The Life of Ernie Banks), but since today’s an off-day I’ll offer a thumbnail review based on the first 300+ pages.
I was surprised to learn when he died that Banks was married four times, the golden sombrero of matrimony. The dissolution of #1 included allegations by his first wife of domestic abuse. The fact that he shook them off to become the sunshiny ambassador for baseball that most people conjure at the mention of his name is one of the starkest contrasts the book draws between then and now. I dare say that even if Addison Russell goes on to an illustrious statistical career, he has no shot at an alias anything like Mr. Cub.
The star-crossed season of 1969 yields many other measures of how drastically time gradually changes everything.
A strong case is presented that Durocher caused the Cub collapse that year by wearing his players out in more ways than one.
Hundley caught more than 150 games, including both ends of nine of the team’s 15(!) doubleheaders.
Jenkins started 42 games, but was called a quitter by his manager.
Holtzman was labeled a “gutless Jew” in front of the team.
Banks set a record for RBIs by a 38-year-old despite the campaign waged by Durocher since coming to the Cubs to retire him so he wouldn’t have to share the spotlight.
Leo himself was AWOL six times that season, including once to attend a bachelor party in his own honor.
Not exactly the stuff of Joe Maddon.
I was about to start high school in the summer of ’69 when we landed on the moon and the Cubs too seemed on the verge of historic achievement, only to crash land in September. Half a century later, I chip off a chapter or two a night of a book about the bygone days before lights out, about the time the games start when the Cubs are on a west coast swing. Sometimes I wake up to find a game-winning 9th inning homer by Rizzo under my pillow. Most times not…
JustSayin' 10 hours 8 min ago (view)
I think what your saying applies to all franchises in all big-time team sports. The virus is asymptomatic in many carriers. The national positive test % rate is mid/high single digits. If your pro sports franchise does 3-4 x better than that, it still means some players and coaches will test positive and things will grind to a partial or complete halt. At least baseball didn't try to "bubble" in AZ and FL, which are looking like two of the worst (and worst-led) states in which to be located at the currrent stage of the pandemic.
crunch 11 hours 9 min ago (view)
rizzo took BP and did some field work today. also, almora is good to go...he ran into a wall on friday and got a little banged up.
Cubster 18 hours 27 min ago (view)
Aroldis Chapman is now Covid positive with mild symptoms
crunch 1 day 7 hours ago (view)
the COVID-Division should be fun.
teams from TX, AZ, CA, WA, and CO exclusively playing each other... CO is all "wtf, really?"
Cubster 1 day 7 hours ago (view)
...and so it goes (per Roto): Astros general manager James Click wrote in a statement that a member of the staff "was potentially exposed to a COVID-positive individual outside the organization.” The team is working with MLB and team doctors on testing protocol and cleaning before resuming workouts.
Does the visiting team bring a Covid positive bio-weapon to the player's parking lot?
Charlie 1 day 14 hours ago (view)
I've been wondering how this would proceed. Since teams will have to figure out how existing contracts will be paid, I thought there was a *chance* they would proceed with free agency as usual and plan for payment under potential shortened seasons would just be figured out in negotiations with the MLBPA. But that was probably an overly optimistic thought.
Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 17 hours ago (view)
Meanwhile Theo shoots down any potential of extension talks. I get that it's a crazy time financially in baseball, but it's really gonna suck when all these players leave after 21 and 22.
Cubster 2 days 4 hours ago (view)
WSox Michael Kopech has opted out of 2020. I didn't see a disclosed reason yet but he is recovering from TJ S
crunch 2 days 15 hours ago (view)
buster posey (SF) opting out of 2020...recently adopted twin daughters who were born premature.
Cubster 3 days 19 hours ago (view)
per Tribune: Kimbrel's OK, just working on his changeup (formerly his fastball).
Arizona Phil 4 days 7 hours ago (view)
The Cubs have released RHRP (and their erstwhile closer) Brandon Morrow. There is no indication that they plan to re-sign him to another (different) 2020 minor league contract without the Article XX-B $100K retention bonus provision (as happened with Jason Kipnis last week).
crunch 4 days 10 hours ago (view)
rizzo takes another day off (lower back). ross says the club is "exercising caution."
klye ryan is expected to join the team tomorrow after some mysterious holdup.
Ryno 4 days 11 hours ago (view)
Has anyone seen Darvish's pitch "The Supreme"? Isn't it just a sinker?
Ryno 4 days 11 hours ago (view)
In other words: This lineup sucks.
Arizona Phil 4 days 11 hours ago (view)
Jason Kipnis was released on June 29th and then he was re-signed to a new (different) 2020 minor league contract that does not require a $100K retention bonus if he is not added to the Cubs MLB Reserve List by 2020 MLB Opening Day (7/23).
Brandon Morrow remains on his original 2020 minor league contract which pays him a $100K retention bonus if he is not released by 7/18 or added to the Cubs MLB Reserve List by 7/23.
Eric S 4 days 11 hours ago (view)
There is that re Kimbrel - at worst, just another year on the books.
July 1st is Bobby Bonilla Day - the day that check is cut and paid annually.