Anthony Rizzo

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Four of the top five best-selling jerseys belong to Cubs players

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Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association just released their list of the most popular jerseys. Since the end of the 2016 season, more Kris Bryant jerseys have been sold than that of any other player. He has the most since the end of 2015 as well.

Second on the list is his teammate, Anthony Rizzo. Then Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers, at number three. Another Cub, Javier Baez, is fourth. Fifth is yet another Cub, Kyle Schwarber. That’s right: four of the five best-selling jerseys belong to Cubs players.

Here’s the entire top 20:

Major League Baseball’s press release makes a big deal of the fact that the average age of players on this list is 26-and-a-half, which is more than 1.5 years younger than any previous list’s average age. I suppose David Ortiz retiring drops that average age quite a bit.

Baez and Schwarber are two of six new faces cracking the top 20. Also new to the list: Corey Seager, Gary Sánchez, Mookie Betts and Francisco Lindor.

Bartolo Colon was robbed.

Theo Epstein named in TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People

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Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein was named in TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. Actor John Cusack, a noted Cubs fan, wrote Epstein’s blurb. Cusack said:

After that epic World Series Game 7, I found myself in the dugout watching first baseman Anthony Rizzo waving to the heavens. Theo was quite still—I watched him watch Rizzo. He must have felt it and turned to me, almost apologetic. “I haven’t given you a proper hug!” he said.

“Greatest sporting moment of the century,” I told him. “Thank you. And thank you from my father.” He took it but undercut his achievement with a wry smile. “No,” he said, “it’s all about these guys.” Then he walked back into the fray.

Others named in TIME’s 100 Most Influential People included Pope Francis, LeBron James, John Lewis, Colin Kaepernick, Tom Brady, and Jordan Peele.

Epstein was also named The World’s Greatest Leader by Forbes last month. He has ended two historic championship droughts for the Red Sox and Cubs and the accolades keep on piling up.

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Sorry the recaps are a bit later than usual. A multi-day sleep deficit finally came due last night and I slept in to the shockingly late hour of 7am. I feel like a layabout. Half the day is gone. Oh well.

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Twins 11, Tigers 5: Gonna go out on a limb here and say that the Tigers have some problems with the back end of the rotation and long relief. Minnesota beat up on Jordan Zimmermann for five runs and long man Anibal Sanchez for six. In better news, Miguel Cabrera hit a homer, so reports of his demise were exaggerated. Miguel Sano hit a homer too. It was a rocket that cleared the greenery in straightaway center field of Comerica Park. That’s 420 to the wall and Sano’s bomb was estimated at 446 feet. Mercy.

Red Sox 4, Pirates 3: Hanley Ramirez is over the flu. He doubled in two in a the Sox’ three-run eighth inning rally and then scored on a Xander Bogaerts single. The Pirates have dropped four in a row. In good news, Andrew McCutchen hit a homer which tied him on the all-time Pirates home run list with Barry Bonds at 176. Now all McCutchen has to do is leave via free agency, immediately, for San Francisco and hit another 587 homers and he can be the all-time home run champ. He’ll be 45 at the time if he does it as quickly as Bonds.

Cubs 4, Dodgers 0: The Cubs take two of three from L.A., holding them to four runs in three games. Brett Anderson, making his Cubs debut against his old mates, held them scoreless for five. Anthony Rizzo homered and drove in two.

Rangers 8, Angels 3: All of this has happened before. And will happen again: The second 8-3 win for the Rangers over the Angels in two nights. Robinson Chirinos doubled in one and singled in two. Yu Darvish struck out ten in seven shutout innings. So say we all.

White Sox 10, Indians 4: The Chisox jumped on Josh Tomlin for five in the first and two in the second. They were sad to see him go but piled on three more runs. Three apiece were knocked in by Avisail Garcia and Matt Davidson. Davidson’s came via a three-run homer in the first that broke the game wide open. After starting the season with a sweep of the Rangers, the Tribe has lost five of six.

Yankees 3, Rays 2: Aaron Hicks homered twice, including a go-ahead, two-run drive in the seventh. Luis Severino allowed two runs over seven innings, striking out 11. But of course, Yankees fans know that they can always count on heroics and top-notch performance from Hicks and Severino.

Orioles 2, Blue Jays 1: The Blue Jays fall to 1-8 and, to add injury to insult, lose Josh Donaldson due to that nagging calf he’s had. Four of Toronto’s eight losses have been one-run decisions, and only one of them has been by more than two runs. Horseshoes, hand grenades.

Brewers 5, Reds 1: Jimmy Nelson cooled off the Reds, holding them to one run in seven innings and snapping their five-game winning streak. Ryan Braun and Eric Thames homered off of Bronson Arroyo, who has now given up 11 runs on 13 hits in ten innings in two starts. His comeback was a nice spring story, but I do not expect that it will extend too much beyond spring.

Mets 9, Marlins 8: Yoenis Cespedes hit three homers on Tuesday night and added two more last night. The most noteworthy blast in this one, however, came from Travis d'Arnaud, who put the Mets up in the top of the 16th inning with a solo shot. That’d hold up for the Mets win. Way back in the second inning d’Arnaud tripled in three runs. He had four hits on this long night.

Royals 3, Athletics 1: Kansas City snaps its eight-game losing streak to the A’s. The win came mostly due to Jason Vargas being awesome. Being unbelievably good. Just ask Ned Yost:

“He was awesome,” the skipper said.

Care to elaborate?

“He was unbelievably good,” Yost said.

Told ya.

Varagas shut the A’s out for seven and two-thirds.

Rockies 3, Giants 1: Colorado starter Jon Gray had to leave early with a toe injury, but the bullpen sucked it up with five pitchers combining to toss six innings of one-run ball. Trevor Story‘s two-run homer off of Madison Bumgarner in the fourth was enough to win this one, but Mark Reynolds singled in one later for some insurance.