Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

joe maddon beardNine years ago today, I knocked a 3-2 slider into the bleachers at Wrigley Field for a two-out, walk-off grand slam. It clinched things, and it brings me deep joy even to this day.

And The Wife hasn’t thrown me back yet.

  • There’s a fantastic read in the Tampa Bay Times on Joe Maddon, on leaving Tampa Bay, and on transitioning to Chicago and the Cubs. Within, there’s a funny anecdote about why Joe Maddon is growing his beard – which he doesn’t think he’s able to do all that well, but I think it looks fine – and it’s so Maddon. The explanation? Someone told him that all the recent coaches who win in Chicago have facial hair (think Ditka, Jackson, Quenneville). So Maddon figured he’d do what he could. I love it.
  • Starlin Castro debuted in his new utility-ish role last night, and his agent had come into town earlier in the day to offer support for a still-young guy going through a very significant, very public transition (ESPN). Addison Russell is now the Cubs’ shortstop, and Castro could get starts at second base against lefties, while coming in – as we saw last night – as a defensive sub later in the game (CSN).

  • Dan Haren says he sees a different team now than the one he faced back in June, then with the Marlins (Tribune).
  • The Cubs were hit three times yesterday – two of them very scary up-and-in shots off the wrist of Jorge Soler and Addison Russell – and I immediately thought of Michael’s discussion with John Baker about the why, how, and when of retaliation. I don’t want to see Cubs pitchers doing it, but, then again, after reading Baker’s thoughts, you start to wonder if the Brewers are taking some liberties that need to be addressed.
  • Only the Cardinals (38) have received more intentional walks than the Cubs (37) this year. The Diamondbacks are next with just 32. That’s interesting.

  • A stray remark on the Chase Utley clearing waivers stuff because I keep hearing and seeing silly things: we don’t know if the Cubs are still interested, but, if they are, don’t be the person who is all “why? That’s dumb. The Cubs have plenty of offense. That guy is washed up.” and on and on and on. First of all, Utley would be a cheap, veteran flyer – I don’t think he’s washed up just yet, but, even if he is … who cares? There’s almost no risk. Second of all, it was just a little over a month ago when I was trying to convince folks that the Cubs needed to pick up another starting pitcher and another reliever, and all I heard in response is that the pitching was fine, it had been the best in baseball for a month. Things change quickly. You have to be proactive and consider all of your options in case things sputter or guys get hurt. I’m loving the offense right now, but in no shape or form does that mean I completely foreclose the idea of exploring cheap just-in-case upgrades.
  • Brewers GM Doug Melvin is transition to an advisory role with the team, so they’re now in the market for a new GM. Given the recent build-up of prospects, it’s going to be an interesting job.
  • If you missed it, early this morning I did some Scoreboard Watching.

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