The Rundown: Schwarber Pops Question, Russell Roasted on Social Media, Royals Prospect Wins Christmas

I hope you all had a great Christmas and are back to normal winter operations, even if the Cubs front office is still on their extended winter break. There’s not much news to report and we certainly can’t expect baseball executives to work on Christmas Day. The only places open yesterday were Walgreens, movie theaters, and liquor stores. Wisconsin residents also had access to most bowling alleys.

Cubs News & Notes

  • Kyle Schwarber and his girlfriend, Paige Hartman, are celebrating their engagement. Each announced their upcoming nuptials on social media Christmas Eve.
  • By now we’ve all read that the Cubs are trying to clear payroll to sign Bryce Harper. I think it’s funny that NESN can’t post an article that has nothing to do with the Yankees without at least mentioning the Red Sox biggest rivals at least once.
  • If the Cubs are worried about cash flow in regard to their new dedicated RSN, perhaps they should reconsider the name Marquee. Nobody outside of die-hard Cubs fans will understand the station’s call sign, and honestly, it sounds like another movie channel. In fact, it sounds more like a movie channel than EPIX does.
  • Addison Russell’s PR media team isn’t endearing the shortstop to Cubs’ fans on social media.

Wednesday Stove

There were more strikeouts than hits in 2018. Craig Calcaterra of NBC Sports continues his Top 25 moments of MLB ’18 series.

St. Louis fans and podcasters believe the Cardinals are not just Central Division favorites, but the best team in the National League. Of course they do.

Harper continues to troll teams. This week it’s the Dodgers, after he “liked” an Instagram post about him heading there. Maybe it’s not so much as a troll job as it is Dodgers fans and L.A. media overreacting. Cubs fans would never do that. Right?

The Athletics and SP Mike Fiers agreed to a two-year contract on Monday.

The Padres and Yankees match up well on a trade for AL Rookie of the Year runner-up Miguel Andujar.

Happy 60th birthday to baseball’s Man of Steal, Rickey Henderson.

Royals prospect Brady Singer won Christmas this year.

Extra Innings

A tribute to those individuals that baseball lost in 2018, including former Cubs infielder Luis Valbuena.

Wednesday Walk Up Song

Thriller by Michael Jackson. Released in 1983, this is considered the most famous music video of all time, at least by the Library of Congress, which made it the first music video added to its National Film Registry in 2009. This lands at number four on my list, and number three, which I will reveal tomorrow, is a borrowed concept similar to this one. I’d just rather explain my reasoning using this video, so a bit of a curveball here.

Thriller was a cultural milestone, introducing elaborate choreography, zombie costumes, and film-like dialogue into the format. The long version of the video runs nearly 14 minutes but had remarkable longevity, racking up over 100 million views when first launched on YouTube in 2009. MTV usually ran the short version, which ran a little under five minutes but still contained about a minute of non-song content in a storyline that omits most of the movie the couple is watching at the beginning.

With its famous graveyard dance, the video popularized group dance scenes in pop videos. Why is it not my number one? In my heart it should be, because it checks all the boxes. But it’s just a labor of excess to me. John Landis directed it and he basically stole the concept from his own cult classic, An American Werewolf in London, so it lacks ingenuity. If the movie never existed, Thriller would be my hands-down number one video.

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