The Rundown: Sometimes Life Throws You an Uncle Charlie, Rose Asks for Reinstatement, Betts Trade May Need Refining

“One day, you’ll find that I have gone
For tomorrow may rain, so I’ll follow the sun.” – Paul McCartney

I genuinely can’t write about the Cubs until I put this out there, so please bear with me and allow me to take care of something first. If you’ve been reading this column somewhat regularly, then you know that I have had some health issues since October. On Tuesday evening at 5:30 I got word from my doctor that my liver is enlarged and failing. The liver enzymes in my blood are extremely elevated and not receding, and I have just two options:

  1. Go on the liver transplant list, for which I still remain eligible until I turn 60, as long as I am otherwise healthy when a matching organ becomes available; or
  2. Manage my illness to the best of my ability to maintain my quality of life for as long as possible.

I’ve done my research and option one above just won’t work for me. There are younger individuals already on the list who can still make a difference in the world. I can’t make peace with myself knowing that I could possibly deprive another of a healthy transplant organ. So my mind is made up. In actuality, my chances of being put on the list are slim anyway because of my overall health, so no sense in getting anybody’s hopes up, especially my stepdaughters, family members, and close friends.

Sometimes, life just throws you a curve when you’ve been feasting on a steady diet of fastballs. That said, I am going to advocate hard for my readers to become organ donors.

So…where do we go from here? Well, right now I am as status quo as your 2020 Cubs. I’ll find out my exact prognosis on February 26, when I meet with specialists at St. Luke’s Hospital in Milwaukee. At that point I’ll get my roadmap and I’ll start putting together some sort of game plan.

As far as what happens here at Cubs Insider, I do intend to continue writing The Rundown until I am physically incapable of doing so. I am going to continue to be myself as a writer and embrace the fact that I’m doing what I genuinely love in a way that many of you seem to enjoy just as much. When I say I will only give up my job here over my dead body, I truly mean that. I hope you are listening, Jon and Evan (Strong and Altman, CI’s co-owners).

Who will eventually replace me? I know who it would be if it were my choice, and I’ll run that by Jon and Evan when the appropriate time comes.

I am going to try to attend as many Cubs games as possible, and, just so you are aware, things should progress slowly enough that I expect to be around when the Cubs win their next World Series. Unless, of course, the team decides to wait another 108 years. I would like a shot to throw out the first pitch this summer, but even if I get to the bleachers 10-12 times I’ll be a happy man.

I’ll probably start a Go Fund Me this week because I have about $12,000 in medical deductibles, incidentals, and whatnot to take care of and I missed a lot of work. Expect me to hit you up once or twice to contribute, maybe three or four times. Heck, if I only raise enough to pay my utilities bill that’s just one less thing I have to worry about.

In the meantime, let’s just enjoy each other as fans of the greatest organization in baseball, shall we? The doctor said I have to give up drinking beer, but you guys know me better than that. It can’t make things any worse, and I already know my endgame, so why strip me of the things in life that I truly enjoy? I’ve promised to exercise, eat better, and get more sleep. I’ll earn the few beers that I do drink, trust me.

As far as where I am mentally, just know that I’m in a great place. I don’t feel sick and I’m not worried about it — not right now, anyway — and I am excited about the start of baseball and what I am hoping will be one of the greatest summers of my life. I’ve had my time to reflect, all day yesterday in fact, and in no way do I feel I have been shortchanged or dealt a bad hand. I get to choose to go out on my terms. To me, that’s a helluva parting gift.

Cubs News & Notes

Thursday Stove

Uh oh. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that the Betts trade may have to be revised after the Red Sox reviewed medicals on minor league pitcher Brusdar Graterol.

Red Sox fans are decidedly against the Betts trade, and have been very vocal in communicating their displeasure.

The decision to trade Betts may have been more about getting the salary of David Price off of Boston’s books.

Pete Rose has reportedly asked baseball to recuse his lifetime ban and reinstate him.

Yankees starter James Paxton had back surgery and will miss at least the first 3-4 months of the season.

The Phillies will retire the jersey of late star pitcher Roy Halladay.

A’s players want to wear their Kelly Green uniforms more often, describing the jerseys as “perfect.”

Apropos of Nothing

I’ve made song playlists as remembrances of the biggest events of my life and, believe it or not, the next one I curate is going to be my best ever. I owe my dad for that. He often told me that the first present a parent gives his newborn child is a name, and then he’d launch into I Got a Name by Jim Croce. I was named after Mickey Mantle, and you will probably never know how much of a point of pride that is for me.

Extra Innings


They Said It

  • “We looked at things and decided that the game is moving incredibly fast when it comes to player development, when it comes to research and development. I know those aren’t the transactions you guys want when you pick up the paper every day. But I think that you’re going to see really exceptional dividends on those hires over the course of the next few years.” – Jed Hoyer

Thursday Walk Up Song

I’ll Follow the Sun by The Beatles. Getting antsy for baseball.

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