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…
Eric S 2 hours 47 min ago (view)
Credit to Mills bouncing back strong - fifth straight quality start by the rotation certainly helps things. Yu for the series win tomorrow
crunch 2 hours 51 min ago (view)
schwarber in the bottom 10th! walkoff homer.
Jackstraw 3 hours 2 min ago (view)
Throws strikes like Chatwood. Holds runners like Darvish.
Eric S 3 hours 10 min ago (view)
This smells like a Chatwood game.
Eric S 3 hours 12 min ago (view)
Almora - what a tool non-play there.
crunch 3 hours 26 min ago (view)
phew...kimbrel is fresh off taking a half season away from the game, but im ready for a bit less drama out of his appearances.
crunch 3 hours 30 min ago (view)
lorenzen is low-key one of the most exciting players in the game, seriously. he's fun on the mound, at the plate, and baserunning.
Eric S 3 hours 34 min ago (view)
Well that settles it: Lorenzen is a better base runner than Brach. Brach haint got nuttin’
crunch 3 hours 34 min ago (view)
rizzo's power outage has been a little alarming. it seems to be bad luck more than anything obvious, though.
Eric S 3 hours 42 min ago (view)
Near warning track power Rizzo not nearly as fun as home run derby Rizzo
Eric S 3 hours 54 min ago (view)
More rare sighting in last few weeks: a Descalso plate appearance or a Rizzo home run? Descalso PA wins by an eyelash
Descalso actually had one his better at bats (even though he should have been rung up on a missed strike three) — a line drive one hopper to the shortstop
crunch 4 hours 18 min ago (view)
they're celebrating the 69 cubs at the park tonight.
they had a bunch of vets (led by billy williams) do the 7th along with a video edited together of ernie banks + ron santo singing the 7th so they could all sing along. great touch.
crunch 4 hours 42 min ago (view)
montgomery is going to be used as a SP for KC. good for him.
also, a.mills has calmed down into a hell of a nice welcome back start. he's back on my xmas card list.
crunch 5 hours 58 min ago (view)
31 pitches, 3 HBP by mills...and only 3 runs given up in 1.2ip so far!
crunch 6 hours 15 min ago (view)
okay, im done with alec mills.
crunch 6 hours 22 min ago (view)
almora picks up a career highlight reel catch in CF.
even heyward was pumped.