The Rundown: Altman Family Health Update, Angels Are Maddon’s No. 1 Choice, Notes on Cole & Cole

Your friendly neighborhood Rundown writer is no longer in the neighborhood, or even the country, but I can’t, er, let this column go unwritten. Mike Canter is off trying to earn himself a spot in a James Joyce knockoff, so I’m over here doublin’ up on my typical duties. That’s good because it’ll help me in my quest to reach 1,000 posts on the year (this is No. 913, if you were wondering), though that’s actually a really low goal at this point.

Not only am I on pace to go way over, but recent developments in my daughter’s medical situation mean I’m going to have a whole lot of time on my hands. I had mentioned in my previous fill-in for Canter that Addison was likely to be scheduled for a series of spinal procedures, and that is indeed the case.

We will be heading to St. Louis in a couple weeks and Addison will be admitted to Shriners Hospital for Children on October 21, at which point she will have a halo gravity traction device implanted. Rather than immobilizing her neck, this metal ring is fitted with cables that run through a series of pulleys and have weights attached to counter gravity and “unwind” her spine. She’ll be in that for six weeks, a process that could alleviate as much as 35% of her nearly 90-degree spinal curvatures.

That leads up to a spinal fusion surgery on December 2 that is aimed at further correcting the curvature while also addressing multiple hemi-vertebrae (basically wedge-shaped instead of blocks) and a bone bridge between her spine and scapula. If the work is too extensive, the surgeon will limit the initial procedure to eight hours and will conduct a second one on December 9. Either way, she’ll be walking within two days and will be discharged within three.

This process should also address the GI issues she’s faced for the last few years and will increase her lung capacity while reducing the constant pain with which she lives. It’s going to suck for a few weeks, but the end result should be a greatly improved quality of life in many areas. My wife will be staying in the hospital and I’ll be staying home with our son, hence all the extra time I talked about.

Shortly after we’d scheduled everything, I set up a GoFundMe with the idea of raising $1,000 or so to keep Addison flush with books. Her goal is to read 50 during her stay, so my hope was that we could donate them to the hospital afterwards. Thanks to the generosity of friends, family, and total strangers, we’ve already raised more than 10 times that amount and are working with Shriners to determine how best to spend the excess.

At this point, we’re thinking about a donation to the physical therapy department, since that will impact so many children during and after the time Addison is there. I would also like to upgrade the kitchenette for families enduring lengthy stays. Maybe we can get some Cubs books for the library as well. We’ll be updating the fundraising site with progress pictures and brief blog posts, so please feel free to check that out even if you’re not able to donate.

Just knowing how many people are lifting Addison up in their thoughts and prayers has been worth so much, we really can’t thank everyone enough. Whew, sorry to bring the room down, but I wanted to make sure I got that all out there. Now let’s talk a little baseball.

News from Around the League

  • Joe Maddon will have no shortage of opportunities from which to choose when it comes to securing a new gig, but he may only have eyes for one. According to Ken Rosenthal, the Angels are Maddon’s No. 1 choice and he has an interview scheduled for early this week. Not a big surprise given his extended tenure in Anaheim, not to mention how they fired Brad Ausmus after just one season shortly after Maddon’s status with the Cubs was finalized.

  • I made a Twitter bet that I’d get an Angels logo tattooed on my body once Maddon signed there, which isn’t as bold a statement as it might have seemed on the surface. Once you’ve already got 12 or 13, it’s a little less risque to add more. But if you think about the story I told at the outset of this piece, you may understand why such a claim isn’t really about Maddon at all.
  • Carlos Beltran would really like to manage and there’s an opening with his former team in Queens that wouldn’t require him to relocate from his current position as special advisor with the Yankees. Joe Girardi has also been mentioned as a candidate to return to New York, with Mike Matheny’s name being thrown into the mix as well. If that last name seems an odd fit, consider that both Matheny and Mets owner Fred Wilpon are Michigan Men.
  • Remember how Cardinals closer Carlos Martinez got upset when he felt Ronald Acuña Jr. didn’t pay him the respect due a veteran? That was cute. Also cute was the way Martinez blew a kiss to Billy Hamilton, who was on second after pinch running for Josh Donaldson Sunday night. Hamilton would go on to steal third before scoring on Dansby Swanson’s game-tying double.
  • The league championship matchups could be set by tonight, with four games going and four teams already at two wins. Houston and New York seemed destined to close theirs out, but the Dodgers have to face Max Scherzer again. Here’s to hoping the Braves have a big game in them and can finish the Cards.
  • Gerrit Cole was already going to make a lot of money after this season, but he’s adding to his asking price each time he steps on the mound. It’s like 2015 Jake Arrieta, except he doesn’t have to wait two more years for free agency. I don’t care how much it costs, I’d replace one starting pitcher named Cole with another in a heartbeat.

Cubs News & Notes

  • Mark Loretta’s call for the Cubs to practice more diligently and be more accountable had me cocking an eyebrow. After all, he’s coming off of a season as the team’s bench coach and would have been directly responsible for some of those things. Not that Loretta’s job was to run practice and oversee all the individual player groups, but the bench coach is supposed to be the enforcer. As such, calling for more enforcement struck me as either an indictment of Loretta himself or of Maddon and the culture of complacency in the clubhouse.
  • Change isn’t just coming to the big club for 2020, there’ll be shifts throughout the organization. With new pitching and hitting coordinators, not to mention a new director of development, there are several areas worth watching in the minors.
  • There’s this really weird thing where a lot of Cubs fans — mostly on Facebook, so take that for what it’s worth — are asking why Ryne Sandberg is not being considered for the managerial vacancy. Don’t do that.
  • Speaking of interesting choices for Maddon’s old job, hot-take machine Phil Rogers suggested on Twitter that AJ Pierzynski would be a good candidate. The former Tribune and scribe who now spends next to no time around the Cubs based his opinion on Pierzynski’s interaction with Girardi in the broadcast booth. I’m not even going to link to the tweet because I don’t want to signal-boost it any more than I already have.
  • If you’re into podcasts, I host one with Julie DiCaro from 670 The Score and Brad Robinson from WBBM called Into the Basket. We just dropped a new episode a few days ago, during which we announced an opportunity to attend a live recording in the 670 The Score studios. Anyone who donates $100 or more to the fundraiser linked above will receive an invite to the show, which will probably be on a Friday in November. Stay tuned.

They said it

  • “This team is different. We’re a complete team. We’ve got pitching at the top. We’ve got defense. We’ve got speed. We’ve got power. We have a bullpen. We have guys that love to play the game of baseball. We’re looking to make some noise.” — Brian McCann, Braves
  • “I do understand what they have to go through, construct, identify. But I would love to be a Cub. And I know if it’s not the case, at least I left it out here. I wish I would have been able to do it a little bit better. I wish I was healthier in this situation. I do feel like I let them down. I let my teammates down, just because if I was at my best, I think the situation would be a lot different, so I do take that to heart.” — Cole Hamels
  • “I’m not going to make a mistake. I’m not going to make a mistake in this situation.” — Gerrit Cole to AJ Hinch

Monday Walk Up Song

London Calling by The Clash. Seeing the Bears play in London Sunday had me looking forward to the Cubs being their next June, and not just because of their sleepy play. It was actually more the lead-up to the event, seeing pictures and videos of Bears fans taking over the city and flooding pubs. Should be a fun couple days, but I hope the Cubs get adjusted to the time shift more quickly than the Bears did.

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