Annie and Nuke break up

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It’s Christmas Eve, so there isn’t a lot of real baseball news happening, so forgive me for delving into quasi-quasi-quasi baseball news.  The news: Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins, who met on the set of my most favoritist baseball movie of all time, have broken up after 22 years together as a couple. Such a shame. Among the reasons for their breakup:

1. She got wooly and he wouldn’t try a little tenderness;

2. Lollygagging;

3. Robbins had been living a lie; he never liked Walt Whitman;

4. If you’re young and in love and you let fungus grow on your shower shoes, your girlfriend thinks you’re colorful. After you’ve been together for 20 years, she’ll just think you’re a slob;

5. Sarandon got mad at Robbins “respecting the streak,” if you know what I mean;

6. Sarandon’s rejection of most Judeo-Christian ethics and her failure, within the framework of the realtionship, to be monogamous;

7. No real reason, actually: it was just a question of quantum physics, molecular attraction, and timing.

8. A relationship may be like a religion full of magic, cosmic truth, and the
fundamental ontological riddles of our time, but it’s also a job.

9. Robbins never learned that you shouldn’t listen to what a woman says when she’s in the throes of passion. They say the darndest things.

10. While they shared some values, Robbins, unlike Sarandon, believed in the top of a woman’s back, the cut fastball, cheese, cheap bourbon and really enjoyed the novels of Susan Sontag. He believed that the mob and the CIA killed Kennedy. While not a fan of Astroturf and the designated hitter, he’s really a staunch federalist and believed that those are matters best left to the states. He believed in hitting it off the end of the bat, hard-core pornography, opening his presents on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas morning and he believed
in short, pecky little kisses that were over with quickly and allowed you to get on with your next three days.

Oh well. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes it rains.

Theo Epstein named The World’s Greatest Leader

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Fortune Magazine has put out a list of The World’s Greatest Leaders. Not the greatest business leaders, not the greatest leaders in a given industry, but the Greatest Leaders, full stop. The greatest according to Fortune: The Cubs’ Theo Epstein.

For some context, Pope Francis was third. Angela Merkel was 10th. Lebron James was the next greatest sports leader, ranked 11th. Take Fortune’s methodology with a grain of salt, however, given that it has John McCain above Merkel — what, exactly, does he lead now? — and Samantha Bee in the top 20.

So what makes Theo the world’s best leader according to Fortune?

The Cubs owe their success to a five-year rebuilding program that featured a concatenation of different leadership styles. The team thrived under the affable patience of owner Tom Ricketts, and, later, under the innovative eccentricity of manager Joe Maddon. But most important of all was the evolution of the club’s president for baseball operations, Theo Epstein, the wunderkind executive who realized he would need to grow as a leader in order to replicate in Chicago the success he’d had with the Boston Red Sox.

I don’t want to take anything away from what Theo has done — he’s a Hall of Fame executive already in my view — but I feel like maybe one needs to adjust for the fact that this is a baseball team we’re talking about. They’re the whole world to us and their brands are nationally and even world famous, but as an organization, sports teams are rather small. There are guys who run reasonably-sized HVAC companies with more employees than a baseball team and they don’t get the benefit of an antitrust exemption and a rule which allows them to get their pick of the best new employees if they had a bad year the year before.

Really, not trying to throw shade here, just thinking that being the spiritual father for 1.2 billion Catholics or running a foundation that serves 55 million needy children — like the woman who comes in at number 14 — is a bit of a tougher trick.

But this will make a great framed magazine article on Theo’s wall in Wrigley Field.

 

 

Marcus Stroman named World Baseball Classic MVP

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United States starter Marcus Stroman was named Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Classic after helping lead the U.S. to its first ever WBC title on Wednesday night in an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico. Stroman flirted with a no-hitter through six innings, but gave up a double to lead off the seventh before being relieved by Sam Dyson.

Stroman also pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dominican Republic in Pool C play on March 11. He struggled in Pool F play against Puerto Rico last Friday, surrendering four runs in 4 2/3 innings.

The WBC MVP award understandably goes to a player of the winning team. However, Wladimir Balentien of the Netherlands deserves special mention. In 26 at-bats during the WBC, he hit a double and had a WBC-high four home runs, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored while putting up a .615/.677/.1.115 batting line. That’s MVP-esque as far as this tournament is concerned.