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.

Bobby Valentine on short list to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Former MLB player Bobby Valentine attends Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI at BGC Partners, INC on September 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
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There is literally nothing you could tell me that the incoming administration is considering which would shock me anymore. As such, I saw this story when I woke up this morning, blinked once, took a sip of coffee, closed the browser window and just went on with my morning, as desensitized as a wisdom tooth about to be yanked.

Rob Bradford of WEEI reports that Former Red Sox, Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine is on a short-list of candidates for the job of United States Ambassador to Japan:

The 66-year-old, who currently serves as Sacred Heart University’s athletics director, has engaged in preliminary discussions with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team regarding the position.

When contacted Thursday night, Valentine refused comment.

Huh. Given his history, I’d have assumed Valentine would be a better choice for the CIA, but what do I know?

Valentine managed the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons, leading the team to a championship in 2005. He also knows the current prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, as both went to USC. Assuming championship teams meet the country’s leader in Japan like they do in the United States, Valentine has at least twice the amount of experience with top political leaders than does, say, Ned Yost, so that’s something.

The former manager, more importantly, is friends with Donald Trump’s brother, with the two of them going way back. Which, given how this transition is going, seems like a far more important set of qualifications than anything else on this list.

Report: Dexter Fowler will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Dexter Fowler #24 of the Chicago Cubs reacts after lining out during the third inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
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Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.

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Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.

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Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.

Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.

Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.