“A thankful heart is a happy heart.” – Anonymous
As I go to sleep each night, ever mindful and somewhat intimidated that I have a voice in this space each morning, I lie in bed with a humbling thankfulness that even one person will take the time to read whatever words I put to paper (so to speak). I spend each day perusing the comments section pleasantly grateful to find each of you in my daily life. I feel great admiration for the contributions each of you provide to this column, for it is your voice, and the strength of your opinions, that truly makes what I do for Cubs Insider so special.
I’ve learned in this most trying year for many of us that “forever” is no longer as important to me as every “right now” moment. That is more than just a tribute to our readers because I realize that without each of you, my voice is far less meaningful. Each day is confirmed when we wake in the morning, and no tomorrow is promised to us. Mike Ditka probably said that a million times when he coached the Chicago Bears, and it’s true.
In the grand scheme of things, baseball is nothing more than a trivial sport that entertains us for a few hours each day, and believe it or not, there are fewer fans of baseball than those who do not care at all for the sport. Our niche lies in being solely dedicated to one team, the Chicago Cubs. The ups and downs of the Ricketts-led organization provide the fodder for our daily conversations. Good or bad, baseball news and opinions provide a slight respite from the pursuits of our daily lives.
"Maybe when you get to be a famous baseball player, Charlie Brown, they'll name a candy bar after you…" ~ Lucy van Pelt — "Yeah! Wouldn't that be great?" ~ Charlie Brown" (Classic Peanuts – November 24, 1978) pic.twitter.com/HsBnmO7KZq
— Baseball by BSmile (@BSmile) November 24, 2020
When we speak in terms of being grateful, there is so much we often take for granted. If I had to guess, I’d say that at least half the world doesn’t have the advantages that each of us has, and I may be overshooting that estimate. Often we do not realize the privileges we are afforded, baseball included, and though they may sound hackneyed at times, the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness are chief among them.
That notion has lost a lot of its luster in recent years, but the fact remains that those ideals represent the dividing line that separates a good life from a troubled one. Those aren’t inalienable rights that are guaranteed to each of us, as we have learned in this election cycle. Different privileges provide different paths or rather, the lengths of those paths. We will all eventually meet our dead end, for lack of a better phrase, but some journeys are less burdensome than others. Many are more painful, and some, sadly, are as empty as a politician’s promise.
In saying so, I apologize if you came here expecting an opinion piece on the latest Cubs news. I have so much to be thankful for this year, so I thought I’d take a break from the garrulous assessment I provide on the daily in exchange for a requital of sorts. So far, we’ve survived everything that life has thrown at us in 2020, and for me personally, I wouldn’t be here today were it not for each of you.
I’ll close with a quote from my favorite author, Jack Kerouac: “One man practicing kindness in the wilderness is worth all the temples this world pulls.”
PS – I’m eating confetti frosting out of the can for breakfast. For that, I’m thankful.
Cubs News & Notes
- Though Wrigley Field has been given landmark status, Tom Ricketts indicated that those tax credits, potentially worth over $125 million or more, will not be invested in the baseball operations budget.
- Turnabout is fair play, apparently, and Jed Hoyer indicated that his future GM will sit silently next to him during scheduled press conferences, just as he played second fiddle to Theo Epstein.
- Hoyer’s offseason to-do list is long, but Ricketts believes the Cubs will remain in a competitive window no matter how the offseason plays out.
- Given the team’s annual hitting deficiencies, it may be time to reexamine the dismissal of Chili Davis two years ago.
- The Cubs could be facing franchise-altering decisions in the coming weeks.
- The Giants are reportedly interested in signing Jon Lester.
- A trade this winter between the Cubs and Red Sox featuring Kris Bryant is highly unlikely.
- A Bryant trade to the Nationals would be the ultimate slap in the face to Bryce Harper (video).
- Ian Happ has an idea or two to help make the MLB offseason “less boring.”
- Jackie Bradley Jr. might be someone worth considering if the Cubs need to pick up an outfielder this winter.
Odds & Sods
You may need to slightly pump the brakes on plans to attend Wrigley Field in 2021.
Boston Red Sox 2021 ticket sales put on hold in midst of COVID-19; team has begun to contact season-ticket holders https://t.co/SCd7XoNNBH
— Christopher Smith (@SmittyOnMLB) November 25, 2020
Major League Baseball is considering giving big-league status to six long-defunct Negro Leagues, where 35 Hall of Famers played during the sport’s segregated era. That could change the record books significantly.
This Dominican League trick play is a must-see.
Sliding Into Home
I wish that you all have a safe Thanksgiving, whether you gather in groups or in virtual circles. “I love you” carries just as much meaning if you say it digitally instead of face-to-face. Also, please continue to keep friend and reader Scott Crandall in your prayers. On that note, I truly love each of you.
I am going to be resuming my column, First & Long, over at Bears Insider this weekend.
We love baseball for delightfully innocent moments like this one.
Let me help start your week off right. ⚾️ mannn pic.twitter.com/daHN3SeP9U
— BaseballHistoryNut (@nut_history) November 23, 2020
They Said It
- “I don’t think anybody is tearing anything down. The fact is we have a good club. I think people are excited to see us back on the field next year.” – Tom Ricketts
- “Whoever my GM is, I’m going to make them sit at that podium and not get any questions asked of them, because I think that’s an important part of their humility. I can’t tell you how many times Theo would make fun of me after those press conferences for my potted plant impression. I’m going to do that. Whoever my GM is, I’m going to make them go through that as well. It’s almost like a rite of passage, like a hazing process.” – Jed Hoyer
- “It’s not until the first or second week of January that things really kick off with arbitration, which I don’t think makes sense for the timing and the process of the offseason. So we’re waiting until January to get cost certainty, and you wonder why teams aren’t pulling the trigger on free agents until the middle or the end of January or February. A team like the Cubs that has six, seven guys in the arbitration process and four or five of those guys with big numbers, what could be a few million this way or a few million that way, that really changes the ledger when you go down to the total salaries [that teams] are willing to give out.” – Ian Happ
Wednesday Walk Up Song
Thing of Beauty by Hothouse Flowers – “Look out your window on a winter’s morning, your breath is steam and there’s frost falling, and the sun casts a spell upon the road. A thing of beauty is not a thing to ignore.”