The 1908 Cubs were “a team of beneficent extraterrestrials”

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Slagging on the Cubs for not winning a World Series in a long time is pretty stale by now. We get it. It’s been forever. Blah blah blah.

But once in a while you get a fresh take on it. Like this one from Steve Rushin in Sports Illustrated, who manages to reference Harriet Tubman, Napoleon, sliced bread, the Tunguska Event, the Comet Morehead, Merkle’s Boner and a bunch of other stuff to give us a take on the 1908 Cubs that is very different from one we’ve heard before.

I’m still partial to Cait Murphy’s “Crazy ’08” as far as this story goes, but this one is worth exploring. If for no other reason than the thought process that gets Rushin through his theory is kind of like those little episodes of connected thoughts we all get when we space out and wonder how we ended up thinking about Z when we began thinking about A, and then try to retrace the thread.

Jonny Venters is still pitching

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Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.

When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.