The Rundown: The Letdown of All-Star Week, Steele Promises Second-Half Surge, Oakland Mayor Fights to Keep A’s

“Somebody once told me the world was gonna roll me. I ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed.” – Smash Mouth, All-Star

Baseball would be infinitely better without the All-Star Game and all its pomp, and I’ll pass on the Hall of Fame, too, though I may feel differently about the latter once Pat Hughes gives his induction speech. Tito, pass me a tissue. Jermaine, stop teasing.

Before you ask, I wouldn’t be upset if the ESPY Awards would also disappear. Yes, this is my least favorite week of the year.

“Madness? This is Sparta!” 

Cubs News & Notes

Odds & Sods

I still miss Big Stick Energy, Nick Castellanos. Scooby Doo is also one of my heroes, but let’s be real, Shaggy is the star and nobody liked Fred. Still, nothing tops Bugs Bunny when you’re talking about animals that can talk.

Central Intelligence

Climbing the Ladder

“They talk of days for which they sit and wait, all will be revealed.” – Led Zeppelin, Kashmir

I’m drooling over Alfonsin Rosario, who reminds me a little of Manny Ramírez. Rosario’s a bit on the older side, and he’s galaxies away from providing Ramírez-like stats, but it’s okay to dream big. Then again, every selection is a crapshoot, whether players are selected in the top five or at the bottom of the draft.

How About That!

The National League won the All-Star Game, and the very next day several tornadoes touched down in the Chicago area. You do the math. The senior circuit won for the first time since 2012 when Matt Cain bested Justin Verlander 8-0.

Damar Hamlin and Liam Hendriks made the ESPYs tolerable, but I’ll catch some shrapnel for saying it felt incredibly staged and scripted.

The Athletics are promoting two of their top three prospects to The Show: Tyler Soderstrom and Zack Gelof.

Oakland mayor Sheng Thao plans to pull out all the stops to keep the A’s from moving to Las Vegas.

Manfred said the expansion to 32 teams “should happen pretty quickly” once the A’s and Rays settle their stadium issues.

Trade rumors are about to get hot and heavy, and Shohei Ohtani will be baseball’s all-everything intrigue magnet for the next 18 days.

The Dodgers and Padres will face off in South Korea on Opening Day in 2024. Why not make the All-Star Game an international event instead as long as baseball continues to give players a whole week off?

Extra Innings

Justin Steele is taking no prisoners. Cue “The Great Escape.”

Thursday Morning Six-Pack

  1. This morning, 160,000 actors, announcers, game show hosts, and even stunt doubles will announce they are going on strike. Their union, SAG-AFTRA, did not reach a deal with the studios by last night’s deadline, meaning they will join the already striking Writers Guild of America (WGA) on the picket line.
  2. Ocean temperatures off the coast of Florida have climbed to unprecedented highs of nearly 97 degrees Fahrenheit when readings in the 80s would be more typical. We’re all going to be a bunch of Rock Lobsters.
  3. Anchor Brewing, the oldest craft brewery in the country, is closing down after 127 years in business.
  4. Is it real or artificial intelligence? Here’s how you can tell the difference. I wonder what would happen if you asked ChatGPT to “write a baseball column in the style of The Rundown at Cubs Insider?”
  5. Thousands of horned toads swarmed an Austin Starbucks after feasting on discarded coffee grounds and becoming addicted to caffeine.
  6. Kid Rock hates Bud Light but apparently not enough to stop selling it at his Honky Tonk nightclub in Nashville.

They Said It

  • “I mean, our run differential isn’t too bad. We’re in ballgames. If you ask anybody in the clubhouse, we say we like the guys in here and we feel like we can win with the group we have right now. It’s just a matter of time, catching fire, getting on a roll, and getting going.” – Steele

Thursday Walk-Up Song

I’m micro-chipped and battery-operated now.

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