Len and JD Speak, Opening Day at Home, Rucker's Journey, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Len and JD Speak, Opening Day at Home, Rucker’s Journey, and Other Cubs Bullets

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The Wife found a small coffee shop in an adjacent city that was taking orders and then putting them out on a table on the sidewalk for pick-up (virtually all small places around here – and also Starbucks – have closed entirely). We’re under a stay-at-home order in Ohio, but if you can get food without human contact, you’re good to go. So it was nice to have a little morning drive with The Wife, and then pick up some coffee I didn’t make myself, while also supporting a small business. Find those moments when you can. Thank you, Dear.

The drive also helped me mentally form what I was going to write this morning about Opening Day. If you missed it, here you go.

  • This is a really enjoyable read from Sahadev Sharma, Len Kasper, and Jim Deshaies this morning:

  • Some perspective from Len Kasper: “Yeah, I agree, trying to find a little comedy and humor in very heavy moments is really important. It’s a laugh-or-cry mode. You try to have a sense of humor about stuff even in the darkest times and I think that helps everyone get through it with a sane mind. I’ve used the phrase “mental lethargy” that I have felt at times. I wake up in the morning and not only do I not know what day it is, but I have to remind myself that while it’s March whatever, I don’t have anything scheduled for the day. That’s a really strange feeling. You don’t want to spend your whole day just staring at a computer screen. But I do think that’s our only way to reach out to the world right now, right? Because we’re isolated, to connect with other people is via text, the phone or online. So you end up spending more time there than you would love to, but if you’re going to do it, might as well find something that will make you laugh.”
  • In that spirit, I’ll pause for a little laugh:

  • Oh, and while I’ve got Len and JD on the mind, even though it’s not an Opening Day highlight, and it’s not even from the Len and JD Era, I just have to share my favorite Len Kasper call:

  • MLB on the togetherness we can still experience:

  • As for watching today, MLB is doing Opening Day at Home:

  • Fun uniform look-back:

  • Cubs minor league coaches, showing each other the love:

  • Dan Haren, doing some good:

  • The uniquely odd (yes, even in these times) journey that brought pitching prospect Michael Rucker back to the Cubs:

  • Not only did I enjoy reading Rucker’s story – prayers up for his family through a crazy time – I appreciated getting more insight into the Orioles’ decision not to retain him as a Rule 5 pick. It sounds like one of those genuine times when they felt he was a big-league-caliber pitcher, but they had too many other 40-man guys they wanted to retain to give the same level of look (sometimes you see that with aggressively rebuilding teams in year 3/4, like the Orioles). When he became a reliever in the Cubs system, he started pumping upper-90s gas and opened Bryan’s eyes. So I still would really like to see what he can do this year at Iowa, when the time comes.
  • A letter on what was to be Opening Day, from the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, Rob Manfred:

“Dear Baseball Fans,

Opening Day holds an important place in our hearts. It signifies the arrival of spring, the promise of new beginnings, the return of following your favorite team on a long journey filled with twists and turns, and the hope that your team will put together a magical season you will remember forever.

Today is unlike any Opening Day in Major League Baseball’s long history. We need to call on the optimism that is synonymous with Opening Day and the unflinching determination required to navigate an entire baseball season to help us through the challenging situation currently facing us all.

We can do this together by following the direction of our public health experts and government officials to collectively address this global pandemic. Baseball will return, just as soon as it’s safe to do so. You can find helpful information at MLB.com/covid19resources.

I’m proud of how the baseball community has rallied to respond to this unprecedented challenge. In a short period of time under difficult and rapidly changing circumstances, we have met the needs of Minor League players by creating a level of uniform compensation for them, made a $1 million joint donation with the MLBPA to Feeding America and Meals on Wheels America, and our Clubs have committed $30 million to ballpark employees. In addition, we will be shining a light on worthy charities that are involved with the COVID-19 response. If you are able to help, you can make contributions to these organizations at MLB.com/give.

While we aren’t on the field today, there still will be plenty of baseball for you to watch. In addition to programming on MLB Network, ESPN2, and FS1, we have made thousands of games available for free to you through MLB.TV, MLB.com, and MLB’s YouTube accounts. We also are hosting Opening Day at Home, a selection of 30 memorable games, one for each Club, that you can enjoy today across MLB’s digital platforms. While we wait for players to take the field, I hope this brings us together as fans and engages us in conversation through social media.

Throughout our history, baseball has helped us get through difficult times. Baseball will continue to be here for you as we face these challenges together as a community and we look forward to when we can safely get back on the field and hear the words, “Play Ball.”

Stay Safe and Healthy,


Author: Brett Taylor

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