I hope your Fourth of July is safe and appropriate this year, and I also hope you can make it enjoyable in some ways that maybe you wouldn’t have before. We’re really missing the parade this morning – first time we haven’t been to our city’s parade in a decade – and we’re going to miss the BBQ/beer/friends/ice cream/fireworks combo this evening. It’s a day you can’t get back, and we won’t get to do “normally” for another 365 days. That unquestionably sucks. But I’m figuring out how we might still have a unique blast today, just our crew. Hopefully I come up with something good.
• With the first day of Summer Camp in the books, and with David Ross saying he wasn’t aware of any absences, we can conclude that, at least in the initial round of testing, the Cubs had no positive COVID-19 results. That doesn’t mean there couldn’t still be positives in the near future – there was travel involved in getting to camp, after all – but it’s at least a good baseline for the team, and most of the others around baseball. Surprisingly, there were only 31 positive player tests in this initial round. From here, now it’s a matter of keeping players and personnel safe as they gather into groups and go on road trips.
• Speaking of which, the team was clearly impacted by the experience of pitching coach Tommy Hottovy, who not only contracted COVID-19 earlier this year, but suffered through a terrible bout:
The Cubs began workouts Friday by listening to pitching coach Tommy Hottovy detail his recent battle with COVID-19.
"You start thinking about not hugging your kids, and it’s real," manager David Ross said. "It’s a scary moment."https://t.co/FKxgEn2jkC
— Chicago Tribune Sports (@ChicagoSports) July 4, 2020
• I truly don’t think of or mention this because of any competitive advantage-type thing, and instead say it out of genuine concern for player and staff and family health: I hope that Hottovy’s experience being so bad and so close to the team will serve as an added bit of urgency for everyone involved to adhere to the safety protocols to a tee this year. I don’t want any MLB organization to suffer an outbreak, but obviously I especially feel that way about the Cubs.
• Ian Happ, still pro-DH (Cubs.com): “For player safety this year, it’s big. I think that baseball’s at a point where having nine hitters in the lineup in the NL is a good thing. I think it’s a good thing for our baseball team, specifically. It gives us a lot of flexibility in a few different spots and I’m excited to see how it plays out this year.” Obviously having a permanent DH is going to mean, one way or another, a lot more ABs for Happ, specifically, so I am also quite happy about it.
• Anthony Rizzo rightly crapped on the public nature of the MLB-player labor fighting (particularly the leaks that appeared to come from MLB), but that wasn’t his main focus yesterday:
“It just feels good to be back here. To be able to practice here and get back to a sense of normality.” Anthony Rizzo rekindled the tension between MLB and the PA, but mostly focused on just being happy to get back to work at Wrigley https://t.co/u3F7rByV0M
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) July 4, 2020
Dude sure looks fit, man:
• More whiffs like this, please:
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 4, 2020
• Uncle Schwarber: