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wrigley marquee featureHappy Fourth of July to all! I hope you’re able to enjoy this day, be it outside at a parade, inside watching baseball, or on the porch watching fireworks. No, the world of baseball news and rumors won’t slow down much today, but you’ve certainly got my permission to go have some good old-fashioned American fun, which is whatever you deem appropriate.

For the Taylor Family, that’ll mean a mid-day parade (so I’ll miss a chunk of the very early Cubs game today – it starts at 10am CT, for those who forgot), a late-afternoon trip to some kind of festival thing (they have a dog frisbee-catching competition!), and then a night watching fireworks. You should still see normal Friday content around here today, though – not because I didn’t want to take a holiday, but because there’s a bunch of stuff to discuss.

  • When you pair Joe Posnanski with Theo Epstein, you produce a swoon so powerful that the structural integrity of my desk is tested. So it is with Posnanski’s latest, a feature on the Chicago Cubs and the transitional phase that awaits them (totally and completely apropos of what I wrote yesterday about the Red Sox and the Cubs). His piece features numerous smile-worthy quotes from Posnanski – inducing smiles in the man who was offering them, according to Posnanski. You, of course, must read the article. I will have some specific thoughts on the piece at a later time, but, for now, just read it, know it, like it, love it.
  • The one part upon which I’ll comment now, because it’ll stick out to the Negative Nancys among you (or the inner Negative Nancy lurking within us all): you are correct that the tone in there doesn’t make it sound like the Cubs will spend big on pitching this offseason, something that turning a corner in 2015 will absolutely require. To that I say … eh. In other places at other times, the front office has implied otherwise. The money will be there. The need will be there. The players will be there. Confirming such things now wouldn’t do the front office any good, for so many reasons (not the least of which is, maybe they wind up getting the pitching another way. Why box themselves into a corner now?).
  • Positivity moment: the Cubs remain peskily good over the past month and a half – since May 17, the team is 24-19, which is the third-best record in the NL over that stretch. (Don’t-think-about-what-could-have-been-don’t-think-about-what-could-have-been …. ) Speaking to the parity in baseball (or small sample), however, that record is a .558 winning percentage, which translates to just 90 wins over a full season. That would be the lowest win total for the third-best team in the NL since 2008.
  • A profile on Jeff Samardzija from the Tribune – perhaps one of the last profiles we’ll see of him.
  • An external credit agency just reaffirmed MLB’s “A” rating, which means fancy math dudes with no interest in the game of baseball say the sport is quite healthy, financially-speaking, and projects to be that way for a while. I still think MLB needs to take a long, hard look at how they (do a terrible job at) attract(ing) young fans, though, if we’re talking about the sport’s health over the next 50 years, rather than the next 10.
  • If I’d known this Tim Howard meme was going to be appropriated and shared with 175,000+ people on Instagram and another 370,000+ on Facebook, I probably would have taken the time to do a better photoshopping job:

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