Ernie Banks

The Best and Worst Uniforms of All Time: The Chicago Cubs

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The Best: The Cubs have stayed pretty close to a classic look, at least in living memory. Like a lot of teams, they did the minimalism thing pretty well 100 years ago. They experimented some here and there, but they’ve never strayed too far from the big C on the home uniforms. Choosing among relatively minor variations, I’ll take the 1960s set over the current model if for no other reason than I like the cuddly little bear better than the cub walking out of the “C” on the sleeve on the road uniforms. Which is dumb, I know, because the cartoony things are, well, cartoony. But I’ve always had a soft spot for it. You’ll see this again when we get to the birdie teams in the AL.

Worst: They were doing some funky stuff in the early 40s. Some of it may have even involved satin. The 1918 road uniforms were . . . interesting. They may be the most forgotten practitioner of the powder blue look. Really, if you ask your friends to list all the teams who sported powder blues, I bet the Cubs get named last, even though they were doing it before just about anyone else. I wish they wouldn’t wear the solid blue road alternates, but I’ll grant that they’ve been doing that lot longer than most other teams have, so if anyone gets a pass for it, the Cubs do.
Assessment: All in all, Chicago has stuck with the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” model more than any of the teams who haven’t slavishly adhered to their classic look like the Yankees and Dodgers.  They’ve experimented, sure, but they always seem to come back to sanity soon enough.

Video: Undercover David Ortiz drives a Lyft in Boston

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David Ortiz did one of those “Undercover Lyft” spots for, well, Lyft, in which famous people disguise themselves while driving passengers around. Yes, they’re ads, but they’re still pretty funny. At least this one was.

Best parts: (1) the woman who says she has two David Ortiz shirts to which Undercover Ortiz responds, “actually, all my shirts are his shirts”; and (2) when Ortiz agrees with someone that baseball games are “so loooong.” Oh, and at one point he tells a woman who said she was going to the Red Sox game that night that he was too. After he unmasked himself, she explains his own joke to him. Which, ooohhkay.

In other news, people who take Lyfts in Boston either don’t watch much baseball, because Ortiz’s costume is NOT very concealing, or else they simply don’t look at their Lyft driver while in the car, at all.

Scouting in Venezuela: “Someone is going to get killed. It’s just a matter of time”

MIAMI - MARCH 14:  Venezuela fans cheer with a country flag while taking on the Netherlands during round 2 of the World Baseball Classic at Dolphin Stadium on March 14, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
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Ben Badler of Baseball America has a story about how major league scouts who cover Venezuela are unhappy with the rules imposed upon them by the league. Rules, they say, which unreasonably prohibit them from scouting Venezuelan players in centralized, team-controlled locations or, alternatively, flying them to team facilities in the Dominican Republic or elsewhere.

The result: international scouts are forced to travel all over Venezuela to evaluate prospect. And, given how destabilized and dangerous Venezuela has become, they believe their safety is at risk:

“MLB’s rules that limit our ability to travel a Venezuelan guy to the Dominican Republic, that limit our ability to get them in a complex at different ages, all these rules are solely contributing to the risks that all of us are taking traveling from complex to complex, facility to facility in the streets,” said one international director. “Someone is going to get killed. It’s just a matter of time, and it’s on MLB when it happens, because they’re the ones who created these rules.”

As Badler notes, Major League Baseball itself has moved its annual national showcase out of the country due to safety concerns. It will not, however, relax scouting rules — which seem arbitrary on their surface in the first place — in order to make the job of international scouts safer.

It seems that Rob Manfred and the league owe their employees better than this. Or at the very least owe them an explanation why they don’t think they do.