I’d heard several very loud “pops” the last couple nights, seemingly right outside our house. It was jarring, to say the least, because it’s not like anyone is setting off fireworks outside this time of year. They were too loud to be just minor, incidental, ambient noise, though.
Well, I discovered the culprit last night – we’d put out snacks and sodas for delivery people to grab throughout the holiday season as they were making their deliveries. And like a dope, I’d forgotten to bring the sodas back inside before the huge freeze came this week. Very frozen soda cans explode. Thankfully, they explode with frozen chunks of soda, so the mess is quite limited.
- One of my favorite annual pieces from Jayson Stark found a home on his Facebook page (since he, himself, is still a free agent). It’s the Strange But True feats from the year, and even when I find that I know a few that he’s discussing, I’m still awed by how many there are, and how truly bizarre they are. Example: “Will Middlebrooks hit two pinch triples in one day Sept. 6, (thanks to the only interleague doubleheader of the year). Want to guess how many triples he hit in three YEARS with the Red Sox? Right you are. That would be zero.”
- There are a ton of others, but can you guess the two times the Cubs show up? They both involved players the Cubs acquired later on in the year: no GM has ever traded his own son before Al Avila sent Alex Avila to the Cubs in July, and outfielder Leonys Martin made his Cubs debut … as a pitcher.
- Given how many crazy things Stark gets into, I’ll forgive him for missing the big one for the Cubs – that 5th inning in Game 5 of the NLDS, where the Cubs scored four runs off of Max Scherzer in a string of crazy happenings:
Strikeout, reaches on passed ball.
Hit by pitch with the bases loaded.
- Not only has there never been a four-batter sequence that went intentional walk, passed ball strikeout, catcher interference, and hit by pitch, those four things have never happened in ANY order in ANY inning in history until that decisive playoff game. That’s strange but true!
- The Cubs’ lack of drafted pitchers coming up to contribute in the big leagues is well known, and ugly:
The Cubs have struggled to draft MLB-quality pitching under Theo Epstein. While there are some reasons for those problems, the front office is still looking to remedy the issue. https://t.co/SFFfKpCobO pic.twitter.com/XsYoMAP534
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) December 28, 2017
- The article is an excellent read on how this has happened (you know that it’s not *entirely* the Cubs’ fault, as they’ve focused on hitting at the top of the draft (but they’ve also had misses), and they’ve been so competitive that their big league innings have mostly been reserved for quality big leaguers that they’ve gone out and picked up), and how the Cubs have changed their thinking to address it.
- The incredible story of a deaf, mute ballplayer from the late 1800s, and how he managed to get on in the game with his disabilities. Can you imagine? In the outfield, when calling for a ball, he had to make a sound if he was going to get the ball, and everyone else just had to listen for him – otherwise, take it. It was a different time then, so he went by “Dummy” Hoy (insisted on it, apparently), and his statistics are kinda wonky (an example given in the article is that, back then, taking an extra base on a single gave you a stolen base). He managed about 2,000 hits in his 14-year career, together with a 12.0% BB rate and a 3.9% K rate (heh, again, it was different back then).
- Among the deals of the day at Amazon today, cold weather NHL gear, memory foam pillows, and books, so they’re basically telling you to bundle up, lay down, and read a book.