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Remember All that Drama With the Rays? Heyward’s Swing, Bryant’s Off-Day, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs News

Although The Littlest Girl has presented us with her own unique set of challenges, one thing we haven’t had to deal with much in her life: sleepless nights. She’s always been a fantastic sleeper. So no complaints on that side of things.


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Unfortunately she’s got a cold, and man oh man, I’d forgotten what it’s like to be up every 30 minutes throughout the night. I am so very wrecked this morning. I wonder what words my head could form if I just laid down on my keyboard for a bit. (I tried, and all it did was this: df )

  • With the Cubs headed to Tampa Bay tonight to face the Rays, I’m reminded of the chaos of two years ago. The Cubs season was ending on a positive note under first year manager Rick Renteria, the second hand-picked manager of the new front office, and the young players were developing well. The future looked bright. And then word broke that Joe Maddon had an opt-out in his contract once Andrew Friedman bolted for Los Angeles. Rumors exploded and ran rampant, the Cubs pounced, and then accusations flew from the Rays, believing the Cubs had tampered in order to get Maddon to come over (on a much more lucrative deal than the Rays were offering, you’ll note). A months long investigation followed, which resulted in a whole lot of nothing. It was pretty chippy for a while, and I remember being pretty hacked off a the Rays organization. That’s pretty much all faded for Cubs fans – a World Series title will do that – but I’m not sure how Rays fans feel.
  • The Tampa Bay Times offers at least some insight, asking a variety of Rays fans how they feel, and some trends emerge: most celebrate Maddon’s accomplishments with the Rays, and feel like he had an opportunity to make more money and he took it. Some blame Rays management/ownership for letting that happen. Some blame Joe. None really said anything about the Cubs doing anything improper, so I guess that part of the storyline has faded from memory (as it should). For the most part, it seems like fans appreciate Maddon’s time with the Rays, which was incredibly successful given their market disadvantages.

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  • Mark Gonzales writes about Jason Heyward’s second consecutive disappointing season at the plate for the Cubs. For his part, Heyward wonders where he’d be in his adjustment process if he hadn’t missed two large chunks of time earlier this year after a finger strain and a hand cut. It is not sunshine-and-roses to point out that, yes, until those injuries, it seemed like the offseason changes to his swing were producing a whole lot more hard contact than he saw in 2016. Since those injuries, the hard contact has fallen off (though he’s put up good numbers in September). I’m not saying his struggles are *because* of those injuries, just like I’m not saying his 2016 struggles were *because* of the wrist injury he suffered early that year. But I am saying that, when you’re talking about a guy with complicated swing mechanics, who’s been trying to work through relatively significant changes, it certainly stinks to see him miss large stretches of time during that process. Who knows how that impacts things in the adjustment process, and as issues snowball.
  • Addison Russell says he’s ready to play full games again, but the Cubs are still being cautious to make sure he doesn’t push his foot too hard too fast (Tribune).
  • Anthony Rizzo is a finalist for the Marvin Miller Man of the Year award:

  • Kris Bryant took his off-day at Disney World, and I say good for him:

Nice off day at @waltdisneyworld #disneyparks

A post shared by Kris Bryant (@kris_bryant17) on

  • Over at TYL, John Fox spreads the blame, among other Bullets.
  • Did you know that Bill James isn’t just a sabermetrics forerunner … he’s a true crime author? He’s newest is up at Amazon, and I am fascinated because I just listened to a podcast about one of the murders he examines in the book. Apparently, he uses – among other things – statistical analysis to determine who committed a series of grizzly murders in the midwest at the turn of the 20th century.

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Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation.