The Cubs' ineptness causes a rainout

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Before the game starts it’s the home team — not the umpires — who decide if a game should be delayed due to rain. According to Dejan Kovacevic — one of the best beat writers in the business, by the way — the Cubs screwed up yesterday’s rainout against the Pirates royally:

First, there was a delay because of the threat
of a storm. Then, after about 20 minutes of solid rain, there was
barely a drop for nearly two hours while the Cubs — the home team is
singularly responsible for calling the beginning of any game — waited
for another storm to arrive.

It never did.

By the time the game was called at 4:35 p.m. Central time, skies
were almost fully clear, and many in the capacity crowd shouted and
booed loudly. No more rain would fall the rest of the day.

My old man was a weatherman for the National Weather Service. He always liked to say that he had the greatest job in the world because, hey, where else could you be wrong all the damn time and not get fired?  The only possible answer I can give is being the people that run the Cubs.

Must-Click Link: “Skunk in the Outfield”

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Sam Miller of ESPN has an amazingly fantastic story today. It’s about a high school tournament baseball game in Rhode Island in 2006. It’s not your typical game story or oral history or look-to-the-past-to-see-the-future kind of thing. The only nod to such conventionality is mention of the fact that former Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland played in the game. That’s mostly a footnote.

No, the article is about a trick play — “skunk in the outfield” — concocted by one of the coaches. About how it played out and what went into it before, during and after it happened. Along the way Miller talks about the nature of trick plays and offers a good three dozen amazing insights into the psychology of young baseball players and the strategy of baseball as it unfolds in real time.

Each of these observations could anchor its own story but here they form a grand mosaic. And that’s only mild hyperbole, if in fact it’s hyperbole at all. Indeed, most treatments of such a play would be some video clip with a “wow, look what happened here!” sort of couching. Miller gives a more than ten-year-old trick play an epic treatment that is every bit as enlightening as it is entertaining.

Set some time aside to read this today.

Rubby De La Rosa to undergo a second Tommy John Surgery

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This is unfortunate: Diamondbacks reliever Rubby De La Rosa will undergo Tommy John surgery. This will be the second Tommy John procedure of his career, the first coming back in 2011.

De La Rosa has had elbow  issues for his entire career. Last year his UCL was barking again and he underwent stem cell therapy to try to avoid a second surgery, but it obviously hasn’t worked out. He’s pitched in only nine games this year, allowing four earned runs in seven and two-thirds innings, striking out 12.

I first saw De La Rosa in spring training in 2011. I thought his stuff was pretty phenomenal and figured he’d be a good one. Great stuff is often a function of heavy strain on an elbow, however, and pitchers breaking is, unfortunately, the rule in baseball far more than the exception.

He’ll miss a year at least. We likely won’t see him until spring of 2019, most likely on a minor league deal.