Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Original Tim Tebow

Rookies App Custom

Unless you've been in a coma for the last few weeks (in which case, welcome back!), you've surely heard the news that former NFL quarterback, polarizing media figure and Christian figurehead Tim Tebow is giving up the gridiron in order to pursue a career on the diamond.  After failing to secure a job in the NFL and growing tired with his broadcast work, Tebow began working out with former big leaguer Chad Moeller at the latter's baseball academy in Arizona.  In fact, just yesterday, Tebow starred in a showcase in front of a reported 27 (no Cubs rep, though) MLB clubs in hopes of luring an offer.

Of course, this has been an absolute media circus and it's easy to brush it off as a publicity stunt, on par with Garth Brooks and Will Ferrell going to spring training.  However, if you can take off your cynical specs for a sec, you might be able to see that this will be a fun story to watch. 

Either he'll go down in flames and you'll get to see the man the world loves to hate (by all accounts, he appears to be a good dude) feel shame or he'll actually prove his worth as a professional, two-sport athlete; those are some pretty rare birds.  Right, Michael Jordan?

Whether or not an MLB organization even takes the Tebow bait, all this hype still reminded me of another failing quarterback who thought he'd jump ship and give baseball a go for publicity's sake; this one, with a Chicago connection:

Bobby Douglass is one in a long list of uninspiring signal callers to put on a Bears uniform since  the days of Sid Luckman.  The former Jayhawk All-American with a strong arm was taken in the second round of the NFL draft by the Monsters of the Midway in 1969.  Douglass was, on again/off again, the starting quarterback in the Windy City through the 1975 campaign.  During that time, the Bears had only a 13–31–1 record with Douglass calling the shots.

After finding himself replaced by Gary Huff and Bob Avellini, made a few brief stops in San Diego, New Orleans and Green Bay, but he never did gain any sort of consistent success.  All told, when his NFL career came to a close in 1978, despite his arm strength, Douglass possessed a quarterback passer rating of only 48.5.  Eek. 

So, what do you do when your football career ends because your accuracy stinks?  Why, you transform yourself into a pitcher on the baseball diamond, of course!  What could go wrong there...

Wrigley Roster Jenga Custom

In 1979, the Bobby Douglass returned to the Chicago sports scene.  However, this time, he wasn't donning orange and blue - rather, this time, he was putting white sox on, one leg at a time.

Bill Veeck, ever the showman, was no stranger to publicity stunts to attract attention to his ball club. After all, he was the man who sent the tiny Eddie Gaedel to the plate for the St. Louis Browns, way back when .  Now as the owner of Chicago's Southside franchise, Veeck decided to make Bobby Douglass the original Tim Tebow and inked him to a minor league contract.  No doubt this raised some eyebrows, but also raised some interest and revenue for his AAA affiliate.

With that, off to the Iowa Oaks (now the Iowa Cubs, btw) Bobby went.  As for the results of this little cross-sport experiment, you likely guess how they went.  In the course of 4 relief appearances, Douglass lasted 7 innings and gave up 7 earned runs, walking an eye-popping 13 men along the way.  After all, hitting his target was never his strong suit in the NFL.

The plug was quickly pulled and Bobby was officially done with professional sports.  Later that year, Veeck and Co.'s PR antics lead to the infamous Disco Demolition disaster; so, at least Douglass wasn't the least successful stunt that season.

Image courtesy of

Here's hoping that whichever team decides to "Tebow" and sign the mercurial college football star (someone will to try and put butts in the seats) doesn't try to follow up their acquisition by blowing up a stack of IPods filled with dubstep.  

I'm looking at you Marlins!  They have a certain track record for such stunts, after all. (see Adam Greenberg, Survivor, Barry Bonds, the A-Rod rumors, etc.).

In the meantime, by all accounts, Tebow looked pretty average, at best, at his little showcase.  While he showed raw power, his defense was lacking, his arm was surprisingly weak and he struggled with live pitching.  If he were 18, he'd be an interesting sleeper prospect... at 29, he doesn't have much time to make up such a large amount of ground.  At any rate, I find this whole hubbub to be quite an interesting story to follow.

Maybe Bobby Douglass does too.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A Trade Package Most Fowl

He's relatively new to the scene, but Andy Stetson of the cheekily named Ain't Nobody Got Time For Cardboard blog has quickly become one of the most prolific traders on the blogosphere.  This generous dude seems to be constantly gifting me new cardboard for my various collections, hitting several different binders along the way.  What I'm saying is, it sure seems like he has time for cardboard!

The other day, Andy announced that mailers were heading out to collector's across the country and I saw my zip code listed among the lucky bloggers.  So, at least I had time to mentally prepare myself for the impending assault on my want-lists.

Said package ended up on my doorstep yesterday afternoon and it was just as varied and helpful as his previous mailings.  We'll start of with the Cubs portion of this haul, since this is a Cubs-themed blog and all:

This is, by far, the nicest Dexter Fowler card in my collection - these blue-framed parallels from Gypsy Queen are absolutely wonderful when paired with the Cubs portion of the checklist.  Thus, it easily works it's way into my CATRC binder as the Cubs catalyst's representation.

You go, we go!

These horizontal heroes are my very first taste of this year's edition of Stadium Club... I'm so far behind.  While the images chosen for these particular singles are not quite sensational like others found in the  photography-centered set, they do feature angles not often seen on baseball cards.  Furthermore, obligatory mention that this set is quite reminiscent of 1997 Fleer.

Oh - and I must admit that Topps chose a picture of Jon lobbing a ball to first base, what with his well-documented case of the yipps and all.

Another new Bunt card for my team set, "Jake the Snake" puts me at three (along with Zobrist and Heyward) after my initial dabble with a blaster from yesterday.  Meanwhile, that's also a new 100 Years of Wrigley insert for me, this one featuring another animalistic nickname in Andre "The Hawk" Dawson.  Bricks and Ivy never look bad on a baseball card - that's an indisputable fact.

That about covers the baseball portion of Andy's generous offering.  However, like I mentioned, Mr. Stetson wasn't content to boost just one aspect of my collection.  Also included in the bubble mailer were a few new Bulls cards for my burgeoning Bulls binder (say that three times fast).

Both Benjamin and Harper are entirely new names to be added into my Bulls All-Time Roster Collection.  Additionally, while I already had a Jamal Crawford card, it depicted him in an Atlanta Hawks uniform... obviously, the Bulls card takes precedence.

 Now, here is where the real damage to my want-lists was done.  After flipping through the Cubs and the Bulls portions of the package, I found that the true meat and potatoes of this delivery was the Bears content.  Football season is dawning and it seems as though Andy has been ripping packs of gridiron product in anticipation:

Okay - so the sight of 1990 Donruss baseball cards will make many a card collector gag involuntarily, myself included.  However, I must admit that seeing that same design (more or less) transferred over to another sport with team color-coded backgrounds and design elements is rather cool.  Maybe it's just the novelty factor, but I think I love this idea.

Not to mention the fact that this is my first card of the recently-drafted DT Jonathan Bullard and my first Bears card of WR Kevin White.  Thus, these will look great in my Bears All-Time Roster Binder.

Here we have another first ever card of a recent draft pick in Jordan Howard and another first card in a Bears uniform with Antrel Rolle.  It's like some kind of pattern or something.  

With the departure of Matt Forte for the greener pastures (?) of New York, Howard is going to get some chances; however, Jeremy Langford figures to get most of the playing time.  Meanwhile, Antrel Rolle signed a three-year deal going into last season, yet his Bears career lasted all of 7 games - he was injured and subsequently released in May.

I could have sworn I had a card of Pernell McPhee already, but it turns out that Andy knows my needs better than I do.  Pernell is an effective weapon when healthy and a steady veteran presence on a young team.  Unfortunately, it looks like his knee is going to necessitate him starting the season on the PUP list.  

C'est la vie.

Too close things out, Mr. Stetson also included this pair of 2002 Topps singles (RIP Topps football) which feature another pair of Bears my collection previously did not contain.  I don't remember too much about these guys, but the Bears of this time period were quite forgettable.  That said, Matthews was the starting QB for a time, but Chicago is pretty much a field general graveyard.

With that, I've finally reached the end of Andy's exceptionally helpful envelope.  I'll make sure to generate some appropriate return fire ASAP.

Cubs, Bears, Bulls... oh my!  This trade certainly had a little bit of everything.  Ain't nobody got time for lackluster trade packages, especially Andy, apparently. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Let's Get Physical

After much gnashing of the teeth, I finally got my hands on some of the latest Topps product to hit the shelves - the physical version of the popular online, virtual card trading app Bunt.  My local big-box retailers weren't putting the stock out, my LCS proprietor had never heard of it and yet another wedding and it's preparation were keeping me from laying my grubby hands on it's shiny-newness.

Eventually, a Target closer to the wedding site provided the goods to me - thankfully, I could steal a minute to peruse the card aisle while my own future wife and I stocked up on snacks and supplies for the trip home from the big event.  Morale of the story - my Target/Walmart suck.

Anyway, as many have stated, I am in love with the price point on this product, if nothing else.   I did something I rarely do with retail purchasing and brought home a blaster of the stuff - at ten bucks for a blaster, how could I not?  With that and it's own, unique design, Bunt is everything the stale as week old popcorn Opening Day strives to be.

Without any further adieu, after all of this build up and anticipation, how'd I do?

Well, out of the 11 packs I ripped and the 77 cards that I flipped through, I only came away with two Cubs... so, that was pretty disappointing.  That's just the way the cookie crumbles sometimes, I suppose.  At least they were two of the newer guys heavily underrepresented in my collection - that's only my second Zobrist and my third Heyward in Cubs colors.

Not in Cubs colors, but there was one more new, current Chicago Cub confined within the blaster.  Of course, it's the guy I'm not exactly a fan of... but, I do kind of dig the posed, spring training publicity photo shot - it's different.

As for the design of the set itself, I kind of love it.  The big, floating team logo on the back is a pretty unique touch and any card that makes use of the proper team markings gets bonus points, in my eyes.

We still have the smoke and pixelization thing going on in the corners (like Flagship), however, these characteristics don't feel quite as obtrusive in Bunt, especially since this set is modeled after a digital app.  In fact, it's actually appropriate.  My only complaint is that the name bar is a little too tall and begins to intrude on the picture, but that's small potatoes.

One last base card - Billy Hamilton isn't and never has been a Wrigley resident, is an NL Central division rival and absolutely kills the Cubs whenever they match up, but I had to show this one off.  Why?  

Obviously, because he is laying down a bunt on a Bunt card!  It's like cardboard inception or something.

Meanwhile, this set is a throwback in that while there are numbered parallels and autographs, the odds of pulling them are astronomical; thus, the star of the show is defintiely the already seen base cards and the cheap, but visually appealing inserts.  Speaking of which:

No Cubs amongst the inserts; that said, at least Luis fits in with my former Cub (Cubs of a Different Color) collection.  Honestly, I've forgotten the concept behind these "Lightforce" cards (I think the back said something about RBI's?); nevertheless, the prism-y, star design reminds me of entering lightspeed in the Millennium Falcon and that's okay with me.

The "Future of the Franchise" set is a little more obvious and a lot more bare-bones in terms of visuals.  Miguel has been a bit of a disappointment in Minnesota thus far, after signing with much fanfare back in 2009 out of the Dominican Republic, but at age 23, he still has some time to straighten things out and stay part of the Twins' future.

It's a scientific fact, baseball fans ADORE throwback uniforms, the sport is pretty much built around respect for history and nostalgia.  So, it's only natural that a set should be built around such unique threads.  While this 70's-themed Choo single is specifically a throwback, the best part of this inserts checklist is that it is not limited to calls to the past.  In fact, the list includes many batting practice, rarely-used alternates and other off-kilter uniform choices.

And now, for my favorite insert set in Bunt (and maybe even in any product to hit the shelves this year):

The "Program" set.

Who doesn't love picking up a program, along with their scorecard, at the old ballpark?  These cards really do look like mini programs, thanks to their faux-weathering, the bar code found in the bottom right corner and the backs...

Which even detail the different "sections" to be found within the publications.  The only way these could possibly be cooler is if they went the full "Collect-a-Book" route; however, I highly doubt that's within the budget of a product with such a low price point.

If anyone has any Cubs from the "Program" set, I am more than willing to trade anything (except the Cubs) that you see above.

While the focus on base cards, obtainable inserts and easy-on-the-wallet price are all exceptionally awesome features in Bunt, the real purpose of this set are the draw interest back to their app and it's digital card trader.  As such, several loot cards are distributed throughout the packs (1:3, I think it was?):

Now, I'm not one for digital cards... I mean, they're nothing more than .jpg images on my tablet screen and as much of a "card" as a Microsoft Paint scribble, in my mind.  Nevertheless, I'll probably cash in a free "pack" of anything, in fact, I'll probably take up any free offer.  Free is my favorite price, after all.

I do have a Bunt account, it's something to kill time with on the porcelain throne or what have you.  That said, I refuse to spend a single dime on a trading card that I cannot hold.  So, these sorts of things are the best way to build my digital "collection."

What free .jpgs did I get?

Only one Cub this time - my unlucky streak continues.  Hey, at least it's the Rizz, he's a pretty decent player, right?

Also of note, the cards earned from the redemptions in Bunt mirror the design used on the physical product.  Before this product hit actual store shelves, digital Bunt cards mirrored the design of Flagship.  It makes much more sense to keep the design consistent when promoting a product or service.

As for the rest:

A couple more program inserts, which aren't nearly as exciting when you can't hold them in your hands...

A couple of inserts of young, future stars.  The one benefit to digital cards is that Topps can create instantaneous "cards" of call-ups like Tyler Austin, capitalizing on the initial hype that's generated.  Thanks to Topps NOW, they can also do that with actual physical cards too; unfortunately, the price point on that product isn't nearly as friendly as Bunt.

Before I wrap this up, I found one more interesting quirk:

It appears as though errors are not limited to actual printed out products.

This base "card" of Matt Carpenter is over-cropped or "miscut" on both the top and bottom of the image.  Too bad this isn't a true card, or I could send this over to JediJeff or anyone else who has a miscut mini-collection.  Oh well.

Overall, I adore this new physical version of Bunt and I think I'm echoing the sentiments of many a card blogger when I say that I wouldn't mind if this replaced and/or merged with Opening Day to create a rejuvenated, bank account friendly product at the beginning of the season.  My only disappointment comes from the relatively scant checklist, which contains just 200 cards.  At any rate, there's definitely a lot of potential here.

As for the digital aspect, I don't know how much interest this cross-promotion will generate, but it sure makes sense to try it.  As I stated last time I dabbled with the app, I do believe the future of this hobby will be a hybrid situation such as this, where digital and physical cards co-exist in peace and harmony.  

Is Bunt a sign of the future?  Only time will tell.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Who's Been at Third Since Santo?

From my adolescence through today, the Cubs have been quite stable at the third base position.  This stability came courtesy of Aramis Ramirez for many years until his defection for Milwaukee and, lately, Kris Bryant.  By all accounts, it looks as though the hot corner is spoken for for the foreseeable future, seeing as Kris can pretty much do it all on the baseball field (he went deep again last night, tying him with Colorado's Nolan Arenado for the most in MLB).

However, that simply wasn't the case before A-Ram blew into the Windy City in a Trade Deadline deal that was really more like highway robbery from the Pirates in the summer of 2003, right in the thick of the playoff race.

A couple of stabilizing presences on the corner infield.

Before Aramis brought his 30+ homer power to the Northside of Chicago, the Cubs used over 100 different unfortunate souls to try and plug the hole vacated by Ron Santo.  The position was said to be "cursed" (we sure do love to blame our failings on voodoo magic 'round these parts) after the bitter trade which forced good, ol' number 10 to finish his career on the other side of town in 1974.

From that point on, countless has-beens. never-wases and busted prospects were rotated throughout the years in a futile effort to bring stability to the infield... Buechele, Fanzone, and *shudder* Gary Scott, for example.

Exhibit A in prospect over-evaluation

That said, they weren't all bad.  Bill Madlock was easily the cream of the crop and won a couple of batting titles at the beginning of his career while calling Wrigley home.  Unfortunately, the ownership family for which the field was named were notoriously cheap and a touch bigoted.   So, they refused to give the outspoken Madlock the raise he quite obviously deserved and instead went out and spent even more money on a decrepit Bobby Murcer.

Other former stars like Ron Cey, Gary Gaetti and Vance Law righted the ship for brief periods of time each; nevertheless, it felt like the Cubs were throwing a new third-sacker on the diamond each and every Opening Day for decades.

In 2006, when A-Ram had only been in town for a couple full seasons, WGN produced a music video to "honor" this futility.  Set to the tune of Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire," the great majority of also-rans were rattled of, rapid fire, as the Superstation's entertainment reporter, Dean Richards, did his best Billy Joel impersonation.  It was all in good fun and I remember it airing on Cubs rain delay coverage a few times during that lackluster season.

I guess there's a passing resemblance between the two.

Now, as an avid music nut with a special spot in his heart for cheesy parodies, this tune stuck with me throughout the years.  The only thing about the original piece that bothered me was the inconsistencies among the images of the players they used as their names were blared; some were baseball cards (poorly cropped, at that), others were publicity head-shots, still others were obviously the first hit to be found via a Google search.   These flaws always bugged me.

Since that time, I've since gone to and graduated from college with a degree that required an awful lot of video and audio editing work.  Furthermore, I've also established this humble blog centered around baseball cards.  What I'm trying to say, is that I now have the ability, the motive and the medium to recreate the "Who's Been at Third Since Santo?" video, using my CATRC to clean up the image selection.

The only downside is that I don't have the proper equipment for a job like this one.  While I'd much rather be using programs like Final Cut Pro and Adobe Audition for a project like this, I no longer have access to the computer lab of a private university.  Thus, I had to settle for bare-bones:  Windows Movie Maker and Audacity.  Even so, I'm still pretty happy with how it turned out (otherwise, I wouldn't be showing it).

Without further ado, I present to you my version of "Who's Been At Third Since Santo?"

Please let me know what you think, be it in the comment section below or on the video itself on YouTube.

Also, after watching that roll call of insignificance, if you're a Cubs fan, please join me in giving thanks for blue-eyed basher that we have firmly entrenched at that position today (and for the foreseeable future).  Woof.

Furthermore, while we're on the topic of "curses" and positional black-holes, now that third is filled, I think a new crater has opened up in right.  Like third, this one began with the bitter trade of a fan favorite (Sammy Sosa) and since 2005, only Kosuke Fukudome has stuck around longer than two seasons (and we all know how that ultimately turned out).  Names like Jeromy Burnitz, Nate Schierholtz, David DeJesus, Milton Bradley, Cliff Floyd, Jacque Jones, etc. have been chewed up and spit out in that time.

Here'es hoping Jason Heyward gets his act together - we don't need another 30-year pit of quicksand!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Cubs Representing Our Country

The Olympics officially concluded yesterday and I am a little late to the party with this tie-in.  Oh well - inspiration is a fickle mistress.

Anyway, I'm not a huge fan of the Olympics and, outside of the a few track and field events (I am a former trackster myself), I don't really pay much attention (Usain Bolt isn't human).  After all, let's face it, it was exceptionally difficult to get truly amped up about them this time around as a result of the scandals and corruption associated with Rio's hosting selection and the Ryan Lochte kerfuffle.  

Furthermore, I'm still just a tiny bit perturbed that baseball was taken off of the schedule after the 2008 Olympiad.  How is baseball, a game with nationalistic roots throughout the western hemisphere, less of a sport than synchronized swimming and horse dancing?  Please tell me because I can't figure it out.

No matter, it's already been announced that this injustice has finally been righted and baseball will once again be on the calendar come 2020 (although, now what happens with the World Baseball Classic?).  Unfortunately, I can't remember who originally tweeted it, but the following picture from the last Olympic baseball tourney came across my Twitter feed in the wake of that announcement:

Along with Stephen Strasburg on the left, that's three current Cubs stars sporting the bronze medals that the USA took home that year:  Dexter Fowler, Trevor Cahill and Jake Arrieta.  Well, how about that?  Look at those baby faces!

A Cubs World Series ring would look quite nice to those Olympic medals on their mantles, just sayin'.

After my curiosity got the best of me and I spent a couple hours doing some research, I found out that there was quite a few Cubbie-connections taking the field in Beijing that year:

Making two starts that summer, Arrieta's best performance was a six inning, seven strike out gem in Team USA's 9–1 victory over China, a feat which this card I borrowed from COMC highlights.

Trevor Cahill was already a top prospect in the A's system when he was selected out of AA for the Team USA roster.  Cahill took the bump for two starts, giving up just two earned runs in eight innings along the way.  It appears as though Trevor never got any love from the Team USA set released by UD at the time.

Dexter Fowler sets the tone for the Cubs offense today (you go, we go); but, in 2008, he was setting the tone for our country.  Not quite the offensive threat he is today, the speedy outfielder batted .250 with two walks and nary a single stolen base attempt along the way.  

However, while these three big names were to eventually go on and reunite as key cogs in the machine that is the 2015-16 Cubs, they weren't the only guys who eventually blew into the Windy City on that bronze medal winning roster.  Also joining them on the podium were:

Former Cubs rebuild-era outfielder and current PED outcast Nate Schierholtz was a starter in the outfield...

Short-term bullpen acquisition Jeff Stevens served as an oft-used reliever in the course of the tournament.  Although, his team-leading four appearances were awfully rocky, leading to a 9.00 ERA.

Another busted PED user in Taylor Teagarden was the starting catcher on the squad, several years before becoming the emergency catcher for the 2015 Cubs.  For the record, he batted a horrid .185 in tournament play... maybe he should have gotten into those PED's a little bit earlier.

Additionally, if all that wasn't enough, the international nine was even managed by a former Cub:

The longtime MLB infielder with the Orioles finished up his 13-year career with a forgettable, 24 game stint on the Northside of Chicago in 1978.  Meanwhile, he would later go on to serve as a highly-successful manager with Team USA in various international competitions from 2005 through 2009.

All in all, that's quite the Cubs contingent for one team - 6 players and one manager.  Does this mean we'll eventually get Strasburg too??

At this point, already deep in the rabbit hole of internet researching, I decided to see just how strong the Cubs contingent was for every edition of the Olympics which featured baseball as a competition since it was re-introduced in 1988.  I mean, I had to find out if 2008 was aberration, right?

Here's what I uncovered:

1988 in Seoul - Gold Medal
(Four Future Cubs)

Bret Barberie was only a Cub for 15 games in 1996, which put a period on his MLB career; thus, he never received a true Cubs card.  However, this IP signed shot of him taking an at-bat at Wrigley Field will do just fine (even if it is a little smeared).

On the other hand, the rest of these guys were around long enough to get a Cubs card and, hey whaddayaknow, I even actually have a Team USA card of Tom Goodwin and didn't have to steal a scan from COMC!  Furthermore, all three of them appeared on Cubs playoff squads.

1992 in Barcelona - Fourth Place
(Four Future Cubs)

Nomar is obviously the big star here, but Phil Nevin in his prime was no slouch either.  However, neither one of those guys were in Chicago for very long.  Meanwhile, Murray and Tucker both stuck around the league for quite awhile as role players and, of course, each spent a brief amount of time in Wrigley Field.

Furthermore, this time I had two of the four in Team USA garb - look at me, batting .500!

1996 in Atlanta - Bronze Medal
(Two Future Cubs)

Jacque Jones was the starting center fielder of a Cubs playoff team (2007) and Augie "O" was a perennial fan favorite in the Second City (Chicago loves it's scrappy middle infielders).  As much as Chicago adored little Augie, apparently the makers of Team USA cards don't share that affection. Still, not a bad crop of future Cubbies here, though not nearly as strong as 2008 or 1988.  Plus, it's the smallest so far.

Even so, at this point, the Cubs representation falls off of a cliff.

2000 in Sydney - Gold Medal
(One Former Cub*)

Not a single player from this roster ever became a Chicago Cub - how very disappointing. However, a couple of guys, Mike Kinkade and Travis "Gookie" Dawkins did spend some time in the Cubs farm system.

Furthermore, the pitching coach for the first Team USA team to win the gold medal in their own National Pastime since 1988 was a bonfide, true blue former Cub - Phil Regan, aka "the Vulture." This was to be his only appearance on the USA coaching staff, serving under beloved Dodger icon Tommy Lasorda.

2004 in Athens - Did Not Qualify
(Nobody, future Cub or not)

The United States did not make it to Athens after losing a qualifying game to Mexico, 1-0 as part of the Americas Tournament.  Had they made it, we'd see another appearance by Taylor Teagarden, as well as his future Iowa Cubs teammate Chris Valaika, who made a cameo with Chicago as an injury replacement in 2014.

Sorry guys - tough break!

There you have it - a comprehensive look at everyone who has ever played for the Cubs and participated in the world's oldest sporting competition for Team USA.  Of course, many a future/former Cub has represented a different country throughout Olympic history, i.e. Erik Pappas for Greece, Tsuyoshi Wada and Kosuke Fukudome for Japan, Chang Yong-Lim for South Korea, et al.  However, that's enough content for a post in and of itself.  Maybe another time.

In the end, the roster of the 2008 edition of Team USA was the most dense in Cubs connections with 7, while 1988 and '92 were tied for second with 4 each.

Meanwhile, back in the present, the United States really kicked some major tail this particular Olympiad, winning 121 medals.  That's darn near double the amount of second place Great Britain. Maybe, just maybe, adding our National Pastime back into the competition will allow us to increase our dominance come 2020.

Also, if the past games are any indication, the Cubs are likely to be scouting those games hard, since it's quite apparent that we like to pick up international competitors here in Chicago.