The Rundown: Getting Back to Baseball, Rizzo Misses Little Things, Cubs Deep at Shortstop, Sandberg Deserves Own Tribute

I’m tired of commenting on the business side of baseball, talking about the novel coronavirus, and trying to navigate the politics of what has been a much needed rise in awareness of social injustice. I just want baseball to return, so today I am going to try to keep the focus on the game itself.

It disgusts me that at least eight owners may be in favor of canceling the season outright and I think I’d rather save my comments on that until I feel a little less angst toward the game. I’m just a little spent emotionally after yesterday’s rant, so I’d prefer to get back to the things that make the game so wonderful, like dingers, particularly those that come with the bases loaded.

  • “Back, back, back…hey hey!” – Jack Brickhouse
  • “It might be…it could be…it is!” – Harry Caray
  • “Swung on, belted!” – Chip Caray
  • “There’s a deep drive!” – Len Kasper

Cubs News & Notes

Find Your Inner Hero

Simple, but spot on, wouldn’t you say?

Apropos of Nothing

Ryno was as old-school as they come. He and Mickey Mantle are two guys who circled the bases heads down without exception, no matter the moment. I’d add Hank Aaron and Ernie Banks to that list, and most sluggers before the current generation of players. That said, I do enjoy the theatrical displays of the modern game.

“Hit a home run – put your head down, drop the bat, run around the bases, because the name on the front is more – a lot more –  important than the name on the back.”  – Sandberg

Odds & Sods

Sandberg got his first hit at Wrigley Field, a can of corn that was lost in the sun by right fielder Leon Durham, but it was when he was still with the Phillies after the infielder earned a September ’81 call-up. Bob Dernier followed Sandberg in the Phillies order that game.

MLB News & Notes

Before the debate on what a shortened season means to the legitimacy of statistics and championships, I would like to opine that asterisks do not belong in baseball’s record books. Simply put, every season is different and if you dig deeply enough, you will ultimately find something worthy of exception. Too often we try to erase or marginalize history, which is befuddling to me.

I am, however, not opposed to a 16-team playoff format and I hope the league does it every season.

Let’s not forget that taxpayers have financed most MLB stadiums and fans are therefore entitled to baseball, this year and every season after.

Failure to salvage the 2020 season could come at a high cost to both players and owners.

If you read just one tweet this summer…

Rob Manfred’s uncomfortable appearance on ESPN the other night lacked the confidence and intelligence of his peers.

Manfred has one fan and his name is Colin Cowherd.

Mike Trout and Bryce Harper have joined the chorus of baseball players imploring the league to state when and where they can start playing.

Remember Allen Craig of the Cardinals? His career hit rock bottom faster than any MLB player since the turn of the century, though a case could be made for former Cubs reliever Carl Edwards, Jr.

The Yankees might be in a little hot water.

Could Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge join the San Francisco 49ers as a tight end? New York’s front office may have an objection or two.

The Royals were dominant in recruiting undrafted free agents this week.

Extra Innings

Despite a lack of baseball, Hot Stove Cool Music marches on, even in a virtual environment.

Sliding Into Home

Sandberg was never my favorite Cubs player, but it’s not the blasphemy you may think it is. I was a teenager when Dallas Green acquired the second baseman (a third baseman at the time) from the Phillies, and was originally against the trade for Larry Bowa because I really liked Iván De Jesus and hated Bowa. I mean, Philadelphia used to regularly beat the crap out of the North Siders, so I didn’t want any of their players coming to Chicago.

Even after Sandberg proved to be an annual All-Star, my guy was always Rick Sutcliffe. I was also a big fan of Jody Davis, so #23 was always just a little off my radar. Great player, no doubt, but it seemed while he was with the Cubs I always liked a different player more. Later it was Mark Grace and, of course, Sosa.

They Said It

  • ‘‘My confidence was at an all-time high in 1990. I think, in all, I just did not miss my pitch all year. When I got the pitch I wanted and was ahead in the count, I just didn’t miss.’’ – Ryne Sandberg

Wednesday Walk Up Song

Centerfield by John Fogerty – As one of the greatest baseball songs of all time, this hit by the Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman is always worth a repeat entry in this section. Put me in, coach.

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