harry caray cheersAllow me this intro space to remind you that Amazon is awesome (whether or not they can deliver by drone), and you should be shopping there regularly for the convenience and swell prices. We receive, on average, three Amazon deliveries per week, and I feel no shame in that. We have small children.

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  • It’s been 17 years since Harry Caray passed away. Losing Ernie Banks this year is an acute reminder of Harry’s passing and Ronnie’s passing, and it makes you look back on that era of the Cubs fondly and, in some ways, strangely. The organization was so different back in the 1980s and 1990s, and the feel of what it was to be a Cubs fan was equally different. Since Harry died in 1998, the Cubs made the playoffs later that season (then crashed), came painfully close in 2003 (then crashed), and looked like a legitimately great team in 2007/08 (then crashed). While that might be the story for many franchises, there’s something about the way the roller coaster played out at the advent of the high-speed Internet age, against the backdrop of the Cubs’ unique history, that changed the entire feel of being a part of the Cubs fan community. It wasn’t just the creation and shattering of expectations – it was that suddenly we could experience those things together, with an even larger community, and realize that, “Yeah, you know, sometimes this really sucks. And it seems to suck worse for us than other fans.” Of course, just as easily as fans can now rally together in frustration, they can gather (here, for example) to enjoy even more closely the things that are there to enjoy (just think about how much closer we are to the Cubs’ farm system now than we were 17 years ago – it’s crazy). I think about these things a lot as the Cubs look to emerge from a rebuild that is fundamentally changing the organization on every side. That process started a few years ago, but the change in the fandom, I think, started about 17 years ago.
  • If you want to keep strolling down memory lane – and hear some Harry Caray – Dayn Perry unearthed a crazy video from the 1984 Cubs season. How crazy? There was no actual baseball played for 33 minutes in the middle of the game due to multiple arguments with the umps, and multiple fights between the Cubs and Reds.
  • Jason Hammel is feeling pretty good about the Cubs’ rotation – pretty freaking good, actually (CSN).
  • Jim Bowden ranked and graded each team’s offseason at ESPN Insider, and the Cubs land at number three (behind the Padres and White Sox) with an A. I’m not sure I agree with a lot of the rationale there as it looks like “active” was generally a substitute for “good,” but I do genuinely believe the Cubs had a “good” offseason. The White Sox did, too. The Padres? Well, they did a lot of things, and dramatically improved their chances of winning in 2015. But if they don’t actually make the playoffs, it’s not going to get any easier for them in 2016 and beyond … so there’s a ton riding on this season for them.
  • This is just cool, man, and it also gives you an excuse to try and remember if Roosevelt Brown was any good (not especially, and tough luck for him: he played on the four Cubs teams between playoff appearances in 1998 and 2003, and only those four non-playoff teams):

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