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jake arrietaI love when my daughter eagerly and joyfully wakes me up in the morning. I love it slightly less when it comes just five hours after I finished writing about the Cubs booting one away against the Dodgers.

  • There are two must-reads for you today, if you’ve got the time. The first is a deep dive on Jake Arrieta’s breakout season – and that’s truly what it is – from Jeff Sullivan at FanGraphs. Pitch mix changes, mechanical changes, etc. Arrieta always had the talent, but the breakout required a bunch of things clicking just right. And they have.
  • The second must-read is a very long profile of the Ricketts Family and the Ricketts Era of Cubs ownership in the New York Times (which eventually morphs into a piece on the rooftop saga, and the Cubs’ baseball rebuilding – the thing is really comprehensive). There’s so much in there to unpack that I’ll probably have to come back to it in a more detailed look. For today, just set aside 15 minutes and read it. For those who wonder why I remain thoroughly on board with the Ricketts Family as the right owners for the Cubs during this era, this article paints a pretty comprehensive picture of what I see.
  • Patrick Mooney writes about Javier Baez’s struggles, complete with interesting quotes from Theo Epstein. The Cubs’ President of Baseball Operations remains undeterred by Baez’s difficult adjustment period because this is what Baez needs (and it mirrors struggles he’s had adjusting to new levels before). The money quote: “He has a very strong will, strong mental makeup, where he will continue to fight and scrap until he does figure it out. And when he does, he makes up for it, because someone’s got to pay.” Javy Baez: Making People Pay Since 2015.
  • Rick Renteria confirmed (Tribune), without saying as much, that Ryan Kalish’s bunt in the first inning last night when the Cubs seemed to have Zack Greinke on the ropes was not called for, and was Kalish’s own decision. That’s what I suspected at the time, so for the dozens of you who sent me “DON’T BUNT” tweets at that time – that’s why I laid silent.
  • Anthony Rizzo wins the Branch Rickey Award.
  • Minor league baseball is awesome: maybe the Daytona Cubs had a booster club like this, too, but the Pelicans have boosters in Myrtle Beach who “adopt” players on the team in a given season to send them care packages and things like that. I just think that’s swell. That kind of thing happens all over minor league baseball.
  • Speaking of affiliation swaps, if you didn’t stay up late last night for the game, you may have missed the news: the Cubs are reportedly leaving Boise in favor of Eugene in the Northwest League.
  • And speaking of affiliation swaps again, some in Peoria are surprised to see the Cubs leaving Kane County so soon after ditching Peoria because of the geographic proximity of Kane County.
  • Kris Bryant talks about his experience with Manny Ramirez at AAA Iowa, and, like everyone else has done, Bryant had nothing but positive things to say.
  • BN’er Aaron is a good dude, and wants to offer his season ticket opportunity to a fellow BN’er (he can’t swing it this year). If you want to try and become a season ticket holder this year, shoot Aaron an email (cubsticketopportunity at gmail dot com). He’s not looking for anything in return – other than maybe the chance to go to a game or two – he just wanted to share. I sensed his heart was pure, so here’s me sharing his share.
  • The A’s rapid descent (they now have a worse record than the Royals) has less to do with bad Billy Beane trades and more to do with simultaneous, precipitous declines in offensive performance from many of their regulars. Here’s a FanGraphs piece on just that.

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