The Rundown: In Memory of Lin Brehmer, Mervis Makes BP 101, Hendricks Wants to Stay, Twins and Marlins Swap Stars
WXRT-FM 93.1 morning deejay Lin Brehmer passed away this weekend, succumbing to cancer at 68 after a long and arduous battle. Brehmer was a big Cubs fan and regularly hosted his morning show from Murphy’s Bleachers each home Opening Day. He even moderated a panel at Cubs Convention in 2015, where he officially introduced Joe Maddon to Cubs fans.
“Joe, a lot of high-priced managers have come through the Cubs organization over the years,” Brehmer said. “Dusty Baker, Lou Piniella, and many others have come in, and most left Chicago in straitjackets…”
Maddon interrupted before Brehmer could pose his question.
“Forty-two regular,” he said, offering up his jacket size.
That was Brehmer’s favorite story, and though I grabbed it from an article by Paul Sullivan, I heard it countless times while listening to Lin’s shows. I grew up a fan of Jonathan Brandmeier but switched allegiances when I turned 26. Lin’s Bin, a segment where he answered listeners’ questions, was one of my favorite spots because he would add a song that matched the vibe of the question. I sort of do the same thing with my daily walk-up song. Imitation is, after all, the most sincere form of flattery.
Brehmer played a lot of Dire Straits, which helped me slide down the dial from The Loop FM 97.9. Brandmeier was all talk, and most of the music he played was his own composition. That kind of schtick gets tiresome pretty quickly.
Lately, Brehmer had to answer a lot of questions concerning his health. It may sound a little invasive, but his listeners were like family and he treated each as such. In my mind, he was a lot more like a cool older brother who knows as much about music as anybody rather than a local celebrity. Most probably wouldn’t have recognized the longtime record-spinner if they were sitting next to him on the CTA.
WXRT was a revelation as far as I was concerned, and Brehemer was a big reason why. Listening to Lin wax about music — and the Cubs, for that matter — was akin to having a personal music professor. Mornings haven’t been the same since he gave up his daily 6am gig, and they’ll never be the same going forward. The sad part of growing old is that we lose friends and family members at a quicker pace, even the ones we never really met or sat down to a holiday dinner with.
I’ll close with a quote from Sullivan’s piece and one music list.
“Lin’s essay on ‘Saturday Morning Flashback’ on the 1998 Cubs perfectly captured the essence of the wild season of Sammy Sosa, Kerry Wood, and the “Oh, no!” [Brant Brown] moment in Milwaukee. The joy, the pain, the resurrection, and the heartbreak — all encapsulated by the voice of sanity in his lyrical fashion. His memorable tribute to Ernie Banks for WGN-Ch. 9 was a classic ode to Mr. Cub.”
Brehmer was a fantastic ambassador of Cubs baseball and if you haven’t listened to his shows, I urge you to jump online and spend the day with Lin.
Dire Straits Studio Albums Ranked
- Love Over Gold – A masterpiece and true front-to-backer. Industrial Disease might be the worst song on the album and it’s still fantastic. Private Investigations, however, is a perfect example of musical noir.
- Making Movies – The songs Skateaway, Romeo & Juliet, and Expresso Love are timeless, but Les Boys is an under-the-radar gem.
- Brothers in Arms – I’d rank this one higher if it weren’t for the awful Walk of Life. That song makes my ears bleed.
- Debut Eponymous – Sultans of Swing. Enough said.
- Communiqué – The studio made the band rush this album, and it shows.
- On Every Street – I’m sure Mark Knopfler wishes he left the band on a better note. Heavy Fuel is at least decent.
Cubs News & Notes
- Nick Madrigal has been linked to the White Sox on a couple of occasions this winter, and the two teams could be a fit in a potential trade.
- Madrigal understands the implications of the Dansby Swanson signing, especially with Nico Hoerner sliding over to play second base. Madrigal has an option remaining, so the Cubs could stash him at Iowa to help build his trade value.
- The White Sox have been very quiet and didn’t hold their annual fan convention this year. I get it, it’s tough to scale the Andrew Benintendi signing across three days while keeping the fans excited. Brehmer’s passing would have buried any news from this year’s SoxFest anyway.
- Matt Mervis made the Baseball Prospectus Top 101 list and I assume he’ll be included in MLB Pipeline’s rankings, too. They drop their latest Top 100 this Thursday. Pipeline named Mervis the No. 4 first base prospect in the game.
- Mervis did not make the 2023 Baseball America Top 100 ($), but Pete Crow-Armstrong (No. 25), Brennen Davis (84), and Kevin Alcantara (91) did. Davis is ranked far too low.
- Ex-Cubs reliever David Phelps has officially announced his retirement.
- Patrick Mooney of The Athletic has a nice piece about Kyle Hendricks, who would like to sign an extension ($) and retire as a Cub.
- Eric Hosmer is hoping to hit the reset button on his career while playing for the Cubs.
- If you’re hoping the Cubs might sign Andrew Chafin or Matt Moore, you might be disappointed. It looks like Brad Boxberger will be the team’s lone significant bullpen addition.
- The Cubs are well-represented in this year’s World Baseball Classic. Marcus Stroman is playing for Puerto Rico, and Seiya Suzuki is on Japan’s roster. Ex-Cubs Javier Báez, Kyle Schwarber, Yu Darvish, and Joc Pederson are playing in this year’s tournament, too.
- We are officially three weeks from the start of Spring Training according to my countdown app.
- WXRT will pay tribute to Brehemer starting at 10am today.
Lin Brehmer, Our Best Friend in the Whole World, 1954-2023. https://t.co/f7ejAF6viy pic.twitter.com/X9FXdJRa51
— WXRT Chicago (@93XRT) January 22, 2023
The Twins and Marlins made a big trade over the weekend. Miami sent starting RHP Pablo López, INF José Salas, and OF Byron Chourio to the Twins for INF Luis Arráez.
Everybody is giving the Twins the win in the deal but the Marlins got a 25-year-old infielder who just won a batting title and is a .314/.374/.410 hitter over 1,569 big-league plate appearances. Plus, the trade opens a spot for Miami prospect Eury Pérez, who has been compared by at least one scout to a young Félix Hernández.
Obviously, the new shift rules help hitters, but pitchers Clayton Kershaw, Tony Gonsolin, José Berríos, and Sandy Alcantara could be looking at some regression this season.
Aroldis Chapman has agreed to a one-year, $3.75 million deal to pitch for the Royals.
MLB payrolls, as calculated under its luxury tax rules, hit a record $5.2 billion in 2022. The league earned a cumulative profit of $10.8 billion last season.
This is one reason why the Cubs’ blogger community loves Nisei Lounge so much.
ANNOUNCEMENT: Out of respect to the passing of everyone’s best friend in the world we will be open at 10am Monday and air the entirety of @93XRT ‘s tribute to @LinBrehmer. All (any) tips from 10-5pm will go to charity. #RIP https://t.co/YYTzccsnv2
— Nisei Lounge Chicago (@NiseiLounge) January 22, 2023
Monday Morning Six-Pack
- Avatar 2 was the big box office winner this weekend. I like this Ryan Gosling skit a lot better though.
- James Cameron is the movie theater equivalent of Shohei Ohtani—a superstar playing on a sorry team. Cinemas are not in a good place right now: Last week, Regal (whose parent company went bankrupt) said it was closing 39 locations in the US, and AMC has lost all of its meme-stock juice.
- The FDA is considering a shift in COVID vaccine strategy, adopting an approach that is similar to an annual flu shot.
- Technology isn’t always a good thing. A study shows that using old-fashioned paper maps instead of GPS could help to prevent dementia.
- Red Forman is back, he’s just as cranky as ever, and America still loves his family’s Point Place shenanigans. That ’90s Show made its debut and immediately shot to No. 1 on Netflix this weekend.
- This Friday is International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
They Said It
- “Guys get hurt, guys get days off. And I think [Madrigal] will probably play some third base as well. We want to have a really versatile infield. So, we would expect that he’s going to definitely work over there and take reps. I mean, it’s not the way you think of stereotypical third base — power, slugger — but he’s a really good hitter, a really good player, and he can definitely do it.” – Jed Hoyer
- “I’m just preparing for whatever they throw at me. I’m preparing to do my job — whatever that looks like at the moment. It’s a very exciting time for Cubs fans, everyone in the front office, and everyone that’s a part of the Cubs’ team. It’s going to be a great year.” – Madrigal
- “Obviously, the goal would be to stay here. I loved everything about it, and I would love to ride it out as long as I possibly can.” – Hendricks
- “We have to be able to develop our own relievers. Honestly, I’d love an offseason where we don’t have to sign any relievers. That means we have a ton of arms and we just go with what we have internally. That’s a place that you love to have kind of efficiency.” – Hoyer
Monday Walk-Up Song