Sometimes I don’t have a good sense for differentiating between when some trend/meme/zeitgeist is taking over everywhere, and when it is solely limited to the weird people of Twitter (regrettably I count myself among them). So I don’t know if this thing where “everything is a cake” is just a current explosion on Twitter, or if you’re seeing it everywhere. But it’s getting into my head to the point where ever video I scroll past, I think there’s going to be a surprise knife sliding through a Cubs highlight clip only to reveal that Kyle Hendricks is actually a cake.
• Cubs Pitching Coach Tommy Hottovy continues to improve after his bad bout of COVID-19, and he keeps using the story to help the organization understand what is at stake:
Hottovy said his experience with the coronavirus has opened conversations with position players as well as pitchers. "It's been great to be a resource to these guys." … "I do feel like I'm getting stronger." Getting good medical readings.
— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) July 13, 2020
• Hottovy was standing in for David Ross yesterday, who was out while awaiting test results. In his briefing, Hottovy raised the concern that a day like yesterday – with five players suddenly being held out pending a test result – presents (The Athletic): “It’s completely different, though, if we’re playing a game. You’re very rarely going to have an instance where five guys are hurt on the same day. When we get these pending tests, the unique part about this is: When are we going to get them back? If we had five pending tests, and today, let’s say, one was a starting pitcher, one was your starting second baseman, one was your starting catcher. That’s a huge chunk of your team that day.” It’s one thing if you wind up missing players because they’ve tested positive – that’s its own kind of bad – but it’s another thing if you have to hold guys out of a game simply because a batch of test results is delayed. Or even if it’s not that you have to hold them out, but you are worried about it all day because you don’t know if the results are gonna be back before your 6pm start or whatever.
• The upshot here is this: the league is doing the best it can, and I do get that. But you simply cannot have teams in the position, constantly, of deciding whether to take a chance and let a guy play who hasn’t had results for three days, versus deciding to sit down a player you want to start because he has a slim chance of being a positive test. You know what a lot of teams would do in that situation, and then you’re suddenly risking a team-level outbreak. The league must know it cannot let this situation occur.
• Also, because of the geographic implications, isn’t it possible that these kinds of delays could impact some teams more often than others? If all the tests are going to the Utah lab, it’s not inconceivable that an hour here or there in the transit to, say, New York or Florida could cause problems for teams in their daily prep before a game.
• The Cubs have the best pitchers in baseball, and I’ll hear no other explanations:
Willson Contreras, on Chicago's pitchers: "Yesterday, we had a game where we struck out more than anybody in baseball, so they're looking in great shape."
There were 26 total strikeouts (out of 48 batters faced) in Sunday's intrasquad game.
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) July 13, 2020
• Speaking of Willson Contreras, he feels good about the protocols in place at Wrigley Field, but not necessarily everywhere else:
Contreras says he feels safe when at ballpark because Cubs handling COVID-19 precautions well and trusts teammates. “Where I don’t feel safe is on the street. When I’m walking on the street that’s the one place I don’t feel safe.”#WearAMask
— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) July 13, 2020
• Your daily reminder: if you’re not going to do it to help other people, then at least do it make sports returning more possible. Wear a mask. The more cases spike all over the country, the tougher sell it’s going to be to continue with sports on into the fall. (Again, I personally think the health and safety reasons should be plenty, but clearly, that position isn’t working for everyone.)
• With unique travel concerns tied to going in and out of another country throughout the season, the Toronto Blue Jays are reportedly considering a contingency plan that would have them playing their home games at their AAA affiliate in Buffalo. With cases spiking all over the United States, by some metrics the worst-faring country in the world, other countries aren’t super keen to allow people in and out of their country from the US – we’re either banned outright, or subject to extensive and severe quarantining protocols. It’s embarrassing, but can you blame those countries like Canada? They’re just trying to protect their citizens. You know, from us.
• Marquee offers up a profile on righty pitching prospect Manuel Rodriguez, whom you may have forgotten about since Spring Training. He was the 23-year-old with the upper-90s fastball and the hilarious curveball, who was so impressive last year that the Cubs added him to the 40-man roster straight out of High-A to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. He was looking good in Spring Training when he went down with a biceps injury, and he was thereafter not included in the Cubs’ 60-man player pool. Hopefully he’s good to go next year.
• Gaming gear, toys, rice cookers, dog treats, and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon. #ad
• These maps are wild:
What is the most popular team in each state? pic.twitter.com/7klnoa4qPc
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) July 13, 2020
• And the Cubs open their season in 10 days. How’s that for timing? So let’s all click our heels for luck:
Ron Santo's heel clicking: it started #OTD 1969. After a tough #Cubs victory at Wrigley Field, the future Hall of Famer clicked his heels for 1st time and continued the tradition after @Cubs wins for the rest of his career. His @sabr bio https://t.co/TaZP7CmncK pic.twitter.com/Ki6O0pd20B
— SABR BioProject (@SABRbioproject) July 14, 2020