Baseball really needs a good Christmas movie. And I’m not talking about one of those Lifetime movies that are televised sometime in late October and watched by a handful of people across middle America. I’m talking about a holiday blockbuster with A-list actors and a plot line that, though familiar, offers all kinds of twists and turns that keep theatergoers glued to their seats while putting their bladders on temporary pause for a good two hours.
I’ve got an idea, and I’ve come up with a cast too. Did you know that the first film version of the Charles Dickens 1843 novella A Christmas Carol was a silent movie released in 1908 that starred film industry pioneer Tom Ricketts as Ebenezer Scrooge? Do you see where I am going here? It’s kind of obvious, and there’s some irony that the film was released in a year in which we are all too familiar.
Here’s how I would cast my movie:
- Tom Ricketts (the one you know) as Scrooge
- Theo Epstein as Bob Cratchit
- Kris Bryant as Tiny Tim
- Philip K. Wrigley as the Ghost of Christmas Past
- Dallas Green as the Ghost of Jacob Marley
- Crane Kenney as the Ghost of Christmas Present
- Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos as the Ghost of Christmas Future
- The 2020 Chicago Cubs roster as themselves
- David Ross as The Undertaker
- Guest appearance by Joe Maddon as Old Joe
Of course we all know how the story ends: Scrooge wakes up after being visited by three ghosts while sleeping on Christmas Eve to become a changed man, no longer the penny-pinching miser that is abhorred by his employees and residents of his town.
By the way, nobody did Scrooge (aka Frank Cross) like Bill Murray.
— Mark Rees (@reviewwales) December 22, 2019
Perhaps Nicholas Castellanos will show up for a day-after-Christmas presser carrying the biggest goose in all the land. Probably not.
Fun aside, I’ll be taking a writing break until December 26th, so I wanted to wish you all happy holidays and thank each of you for reading, taking the time to comment, and for helping grow this community in the few years I have been blessed enough to write my daily.
My baseball Christmas wish this year is for another Cubs World Series championship in 2020. Chicago isn’t the best team in baseball, but as the Nationals proved this year, you just need to get into the playoffs and anything can happen. Of course it would be wonderful if Jon Lester turns into Max Scherzer, Kyle Hendricks turns into Patrick Corbin, and Yu Darvish just keeps pitching like he did in the second half of last season.
Cubs News & Notes
There is actually no Cubs news to report this morning, so how about some 2019 highlights? Everybody loves dingers, especially ones that come with the bases full.
As bad as I feel about the Cubs’ offseason, the Dodgers’ hasn’t been much better. They’ve failed to sign any of the big free agents they were allegedly pursuing, and just lost pitcher and reigning MLB ERA champion Hyun-Jin Ryu to the Blue Jays. Ryu got a four-year, $80 million deal yesterday and will head into the upcoming season as Toronto’s ace.
Most amazing stat of all this winter is this. It’s not quite Christmas and only 3 big stars in their prime remain on the free-agent market: Josh Donaldson, Nick Castellanos and Marcell Ozuna.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 23, 2019
Castellanos, Marcell Ozuna, and Josh Donaldson remain the biggest free agents still available. I heard a rumor on Milwaukee sports radio last night that Donaldson will sign somewhere today, with the Nationals being the likeliest to sign the third baseman. The Phillies were mentioned as a legitimate threat because they might be the only team willing to give Donaldson $100 million or more.
The market for Castellanos doesn’t seem as dire for Cubs fans hoping the team signs the right fielder as it did earlier this offseason. The Giants are still in the mix and Nicky Two Bags is a prime candidate to be connected to a mystery team or two before he signs somewhere.
Keep an eye on the Reds as a potential landing spot for Castellanos, though Ozuna is probably a better fit for Cincinnati.
The White Sox have turned their attention to signing power hitting DH Edward Encarnación. Considering they were said to be willing to go all in on Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg, the team may still have enough money to sign Castellanos, too.
The Brewers and Yankees might match up well in a trade that involves reliever Josh Hader. New York could dangle Miguel Andújar as part of a package to land the closer. Milwaukee doesn’t have a starting third baseman at the moment.
Cold, calculated, bombastic, and seemingly self-serving at times. Call him what you want, but Scott Boras always gets his players paid.
Scott Boras has broke the $1 billion mark this winter, now that Hyun-Jin Ryu has signed for $80 million.
7 free agents = $1.016B, including Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon. pic.twitter.com/D9MC0pKwGo
— Yahoo Sports MLB (@MLByahoosports) December 23, 2019
My annual PSA for the week of Christmas remains unchanged. Be a giver this Christmas. There are far too many needy Chicago families right now, and most are desperate. Please help them out. Here are some useful links:
- Greater Chicago Area Food Depository
- Food & Water for the Hungry
- South Suburban Emergency Shelters
- Greater Chicagoland Button & Zipper Coat Drive
- ChiTown Blankets
- Toys for Tots
They Said It
- “It’s Christmas Eve. It’s the one night of the year when we all act a little nicer, we smile a little easier, we cheer a little more. For a couple of hours out of the whole year we are the people that we always hoped we would be.” – Bill Murray as Frank Cross
Monday Walk Up Song
Put a Little Love In Your Heart by Annie Lennox and Al Green. Happy holidays everyone.