“When you’re dealing with an emerging infectious diseases outbreak, you are always behind where you think you are if you think that today reflects where you really are.” – Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases
It’s still difficult to fathom that I am seeing a world that gets more and more infected every day when I look out my window. I found a little hope in the unlikeliest of sites, a baseball chat by Mark Polishuk on MLBTR:
- Medical science is working overtime to figure out a cure/treatment/vaccine for this virus.
- Look at how society has already re-adjusted itself in less than two weeks in response to this new reality.
- For all of the scary news out there, there is even more news about people coming together to help and take care of others, and people are taking responsible measures to help limit the spread of the [infection].
I hope you will continue to voluntarily sequester yourselves until things get better. There is a blanket of freshly fallen snow this morning, so it’s not a bad day to be stuck inside. I’m thankful that the warmth of spring has been somewhat delayed, as I fear warmer weather might cause a number of us to give in to wanderlust. It’s time to practice safety first. I don’t need to post a coronavirus heat map to tell you all how serious this pandemic is.
There are a few bright sides, however. For one, the planet is getting a break from an overload of toxins caused by everyday life. There are reports that some Asian cities are practically smog-free. Also, as the number of COVID-19 tests increase, the death rate is coming down a little. A better way to look at it is that those with the worst symptoms were the ones initially being tested, and about 96% of those individuals survived. Odds are getting a little better that those infected will survive, so let’s give a big hand to those in the medical profession who are risking their lives to save ours.
Finally, how about a shout out to the folks earning lower wages who are keeping grocery stores, take-out restaurants, and gas stations open. Next time you debate whether they should be paid an honest salary, remember they’re keeping you fed.
On to baseball…
Cubs News & Notes
- I love old-time baseball, so it was kinda cool to see Anthony Rizzo and some of his teammates captured in the glory of 8mm film.
- Speaking of old-time baseball, who are the most iconic Cubs in the history of the organization? Certainly Ernie Banks and Ryne Sandberg make the list, but I’m surprised Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, or anybody from the 2016 team — including Jake Arrieta — did not.
- Baseball’s current hiatus will impact the career trajectory of second baseman Nico Hoerner.
- Jason Kipnis bought a new home in the Old Town section of Chicago, which means I may run into him at my favorite sushi restaurant once the quarantine has ended.
- Here are the five worst trades in the history of the Cubs organization. Surprisingly, the deal with the Cardinals that sent Lou Brock to St. Louis for Ernie Broglio is no longer considered the bellwether for this category.
- What’s your favorite ballpark food? My go-to is and always will be the grilled hot dogs smothered in mustard and caramelized onions near the right field bleachers.
- If you’re looking for a good baseball read, our own Ryan Thomure has you covered.
- I’d add Dollar Sign on the Muscle by Kevin Kerrane, which is one of my favorites, and I could go 50 deep with a list of books to keep you company while you isolate yourselves. Nothing like a good baseball book and a comfy sofa.
- You can watch Game 7 of the 2016 World Series (and many other classic games) in its entirety on YouTube thanks to MLB.
Odds & Sods
Don’t forget, minor league baseball will need your support once their season starts, too. That said, don’t forget Rob Manfred still wants to eliminate at least 42 MiLB franchises. He shouldn’t be able to hide behind COVID-19 on that front. In the meantime, support those affiliates by buying your favorite merchandise if you have the means.
"The reality is it's bad. We're a small business. There are going to be some really hard decisions made in the next 30-60-90 days that are very uncomfortable."
A deep dive on the dire financial situation facing MiLB teams:https://t.co/7FVFTaPEVC
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) March 23, 2020
Ed. note: The Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the Cubs’ advanced-A affiliate, are offering some excellent perks to those who #BackTheBirds early. Just for purchasing as little as $50 in Splash Cash that never expires, you can throw out the first pitch at a game. As the amounts go up, you can get your name on the outfield wall and even on a brick paver in the ballpark’s plaza.
MLB News & Notes
MLB may need four weeks of a “second spring training” before baseball can begin once given the all clear to continue.
I still think that Jim Edmonds is a good comp for Cubs outfielder Steven Souza Jr. Here’s a look at the trade that sent Edmonds from the Angels to the Cardinals for starting pitcher Kent Bottenfield and second baseman Adam Kennedy.
A look at each team’s active WAR leader. Can you guess who leads the Cubs?
I love that we use a baseball-sounding reference like flatten the curve to implore folks to practice safety.
I wrote about flattening the curve, why you should take social distancing seriously, and how long this may last and what that all means for baseball in 2020. It's free at @baseballpro for everyone to read. https://t.co/kL25wXIzy1
— Allison McCague, PhD ?⚾️ (@PetitePhD) March 23, 2020
They Said It
- “This is when you really have to utilize your imagination. There are so many lessons to be learned right now, so many positives that can be derived from this awful moment. But while you’re doing that, you still can carry on a pretty normal life within those parameters.” – Joe Maddon
- “Obviously, we know the science behind this as the infection is spreading and we’re practicing appropriate social distancing and hygiene and taking all the steps we can to try to flatten the curve of the outbreak, and do our part.” – Theo Epstein
Monday Walk Up Song
Walk on the Wild Side by Lou Reed
What went wrong? A song full of racy anecdotes tells the true story of transgender actress Holly Woodlawn, who was bullied as a teenager, ran away from home, and later starred in a couple of Andy Warhol films. Sadly, the song comes across as more than a little tone-deaf.
How does it play today? It’s still popular on many classic rock broadcasts, though the racial and misogynist lyrics are somewhat difficult to listen to.