As near as I can recall, I have cried only twice at the conclusion of a Chicago Cubs game. Well, happy tears, I mean.

Naturally, I lost it when the Cubs finally did the thing in November. If you didn’t cry then, you are a stone monster.

The other time was actually the year before, when the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the NLDS. I was watching the game at Sheffield’s, a bar a few blocks south of Wrigley Field with some friends. When Hector Rondon got that final strikeout, I saw how impacted everyone was around me, and I was overcome with emotion.

One of those people was Aliette Nuñez, or better known to me at the time as Luis’s mom. She was sweet, funny, passionate and joyful, and I’m glad she was there to watch that game with our group of friends. It was a richer experience for her presence, as I have no doubt so many other things were.

As Luis shared yesterday, his mom has passed away. Our thoughts, prayers, and love are with Luis and his family.

***

And now for some Bullets …

  • We saw the Theo Epstein crushed shot off of Ryan Dempster, and we heard Cubs players evaluate the swing, but now you can read thoughts from Epstein and Dempster, themselves, over at ESPN. Dempster described the opposite field shot as a mere “flare”, but Epstein – somewhat jokingly – called it a “crushed opposite field double.” It turns out Epstein took a few at bats against Dempster, grounding to shortstop in one of the other ones, and then getting abused by offspeed pitches in the third and final one.
  • Old friend Jason Hammel talks about the lessons learned in a harsh free agency for him this offseason (Tribune). He says he got the feeling that teams are increasingly going younger on guys they can control for longer and cheaper, and he also apparently had his market damaged by teams’ concerns about his elbow – concerns he didn’t even know about until well into the winter. That’s when he changed agents, got an independent examination performed, and eventually signed his two-year, $16 million deal with the Royals.
  • At CSN, you can read more of Hammel’s comments, including his position that the “choice” to have the Cubs pick up his option or not didn’t really feel like a choice to him, because if he stayed, his understanding was that he’d be pitching out of the bullpen. The Cubs, as we know, are looking to find longer-term rotation arms for their imminent needs in 2018 and beyond, and those starts to figure out who can do what were going to have to come from somewhere. Moving to the bullpen was not something Hammel was ready to do at this point in his career.
  • The Cubs’ High-A affiliate Myrtle Beach Pelicans have announced their promotional schedule, and it includes this: “[T]he Jason Heyward Talking Bobblehead Giveaway. On July 15, the team will pay tribute to the former Pelican and reigning ‘King of Rain Delays’, a title Heyward earned after reports surfaced regarding the pep talk he delivered to his teammates during the rain delay in Game 7 of the World Series.”
  • Jake Arrieta has struck an exclusive memorabilia deal with Fanatics (Tribune), which will sell his game-used and autographed collectibles. Fanatics has exclusive agreements with 15 big leaguers, and 6 of them are Cubs: Arrieta, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javy Baez, Kyle Hendricks, and Wade Davis. I am obliged to point out that we also have an agreement with Fanatics, so check out their selection of collectibles, and when you buy via our links, it helps support BN in the process.
  • The Cubs’ lineups for today’s games are already out, if you haven’t seen them yet.
  • MLB is teaming up with ‘Game of Thrones’ for various promotions throughout the season and holy-crap-holy-crap-holy-crap. The only downside is that – as of right now – the Cubs aren’t one of the teams listed as participating. Get on that, Cubs, or I’ll get my dragons.

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