Tagged: chicago

Happy Birthday, Ron Santo, And Thank You

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Today would have been the 77th birthday of Cubs Hall-of-Famer, Ron Santo, and, as possibly the biggest Cubs fan ever (present company excluded) it’s fitting that the first game of Spring Training falls today.

Ron Santo is probably my all-time favorite Cub. When I was a lot younger, it was Ryne Sandberg–and I still love him–but then something happened in my life that gave Santo the edge. Allow me to ramble for a moment and I promise, it’ll all come back to baseball in the end.

I was 11 years old in 1993 and a fairly normal kid–health-wise, anyway– until the fateful day in December when my parents took me to the doctor after I had been exhibiting flu-like symptoms. We left that appointment not with a new prescription, but with a new diagnosis. I was diabetic.

That is somewhat earth-shattering, particularly to a kid with an insanely wicked sweet tooth, but I remember my mom telling me that she remembered that a player for my beloved Cubs from years ago had been a diabetic too. I took quite a bit of comfort in this knowledge and tried to find out everything I could about this new kindred spirit. You see, kids? Representation DOES matter.

Fast forward a few years to 1997. I was a freshman in high school and I struck a deal with my mom that if I achieved a certain GPA we would go to this “Cubs Convention” that I’d been hearing about all summer on WGN. I buckled down, got the required marks and we were off to the frozen tundra of Chicago in the middle of January–one of the main reasons my mom had moved to California in the first place.

Many stories from that first convention still stick out in my memory, but none more so than the moment that cemented Ronnie in my heart forever.

I was standing in the hotel lobby where the convention was held, trolling for autographs when a large mob of people began making its way to the elevators. I looked more closely and saw that it was Ron Santo with autograph hounds in tow.

I managed to make my way to the great man and handed him my baseball. He signed it and started to move on. My mind working a mile a minute managed to allow me to blurt out “I’m diabetic too!”

It was as if the world stood still.

All of a sudden Ron forgot about everyone else surrounding him and focused all of his attention on the nerdy 14-year-old that was me.

“How is it working out for you? How are your blood sugar numbers?”

I answered that I was doing ok and he nodded and told me that it was really important to keep everything under control. He then went back to his many admirers.

Th whole encounter couldn’t have taken more than a minute but it still resonates in me to this day.

As I get older and the complications of the disease continue to ravage my body like they did to my idol, eventually taking both of his legs, one of my calming techniques is to think back to Ron and his optimism. I’m not stupid enough to think that every day was sunshine and butterflies for him, but overall he handled himself with grace and kindness, never giving up the fight for a cure one day, and hey, if the Cubs can finally win a World Series and Santo can finally get into the Baseball Hall of Fame, a cure for diabetes can’t be too far behind, right?

Happy Birthday, Ronnie. I miss you a lot.

 

If you are interested in more details about Ron Santo’s story, his son made an amazing documentary called “This Old Cub” and you can find it on iTunes and here!

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2017 Cubs Convention Recap

When I was a freshman in high school I somehow convinced my mother that if I achieved a certain GPA my reward should be a trip in the middle of January, away from the mild clime of southern California to attend the Cubs Convention that I’d been hearing about all summer on WGN. What a Cubs Convention was, I didn’t really know, but if it involved the Cubs I knew I wanted to be there.

Harry Caray and me at my first Cubs Convention. January 1997

That first convention was a whirlwind. I met Harry Caray, Ron Santo, Ernie Banks and many more great Cub legends and had them all sign my Cubs branded baseball as my mom snapped away with a disposable camera to preserve the memories. I loved every minute of it, not counting the sub-zero temperatures and every winter I long to go back.

I’ve attended three more times since my initial Con, and only this year have I gotten a companion willing to attend a second time. I try not to take it personally.

While each Convention has been different, this year provided some new bumps in the road. First, the obvious. The Cubs are the reigning World Series champions. Yay! Which leads to opportunists and bandwagon fans. Boo! It also leads to the Cubs selling more admissions than in years past according to many of the team employees I spoke with. The Convention-related areas of the Sheraton Hotel were a teeming mass of humanity the entire weekend, which leads into bump number two. Due to medical issues, I don’t move around very well these days, which necessitated my acquisition of a wheelchair for the weekend. While most people were very helpful, there was a select portion of the conventioneers who were completely oblivious to the fact that I was trying to travel through the common areas. That got very old very quickly. Overall, these were minor quibbles and I feel like the Convention was probably my most successful yet. Had you asked me about it on Friday night, my opinion might have been a bit more bleak.

2017 Cubs Convention

Opening Ceremonies weren’t scheduled to begin until six in the evening, with Con registration beginning at noon. Since Fridays are still workdays for most people, Lauren and I figured that we could relax, make our way from our hotel to the Sheraton (a ten to fifteen minute trip at the longest) by mid-afternoon and still beat most of the crowd. A glance at Twitter upon waking soon told me that was not going to happen. Supposedly by ten in the morning a line was forming for the Opening Ceremony and growing longer by the second. This blew my mind. While I had never been at the very front for the Ceremony in the past, I had always been able to walk in and find a viewing spot with minimal waiting around. While the prospects of getting a spot weren’t quite as dire as I had been led to believe, we still needed to register for the Convention before we could even think of doing anything else. After forty-five minutes or so, we had officially logged our attendance and gotten our SWAG bags and weekend schedules. We went to the Cubs Charities room and browsed some game-used merchandise, but nothing really caught my eye. We did, however, donate money and got a “mystery autograph” baseball. While I didn’t quite hit the lottery and get a Kris Bryant autographed ball, I did get one signed by several players from the AAGPBL, the women’s baseball league started in WW2 and featured in “A League of Their Own” that I’ve become pretty attached to.

AAGPBL signed ball.

AAGPBL signed ball.

I was still wary of waiting in line for the Opening Ceremony with several hours to go and no guarantee of admission, so Lauren and I wandered around deciding what to do next. We met Bill Buckner and didn’t even mention 1986 and purchased our Convention shirts, since the last time we had attended they sold out before we got them. We decided that we were willing to skip the Ceremony that night and instead get dinner and return for the “autograph hunt” immediately following. Once again, it seemed like we would be ahead of the crowd, since certainly most of them would be attending the ceremony. Once again we were wrong.

According to the misleading information on the schedule, the autograph hunt was to be in the same area that we had registered earlier. On returning from dinner we saw that we weren’t the only ones prioritizing the autograph hunt, so he stuck ourselves in what seemed to be a ragtag line well over an hour before the hunt was due to begin. In spite of the fact that our line mates asked the ushers in the area several times about how the line was formed, how the hunt would work and even the fact that we were in a line to begin with, no one seemed to have any answers as to what exactly was going on and kept repeating that no one had told them anything. This was the most egregious to me, having a very strong customer service background. You can’t just say that you are ill-informed and expect that to be the end of discussion. You need to find a way to get the information you require.

As the scheduled time for the hunt came and went, our line mates began leaving as well, and eventually, even my eternally optimistic self gave up too. There was one final show/panel going on as we left, but there was a very early autograph signing the next morning we wanted to attend, and honestly, I felt so defeated by the rest of the day that I didn’t want to try to do anything else that night. I was ready to swear off of the Convention, now that the Cubs had become the “it” team, it felt like they had forgotten the long-time fans who had always supported them.

We were up almost before dawn the following morning in the hope of getting to attend a meet and greet with the recently retired David Ross and were at the Sheraton well over an hour before the session was to begin. We were trying to navigate our way down to the area that the meet and greet was being held when a man associated with the Convention saw that we needed help and escorted us not only to the elevator, but to the meet and greet area as well. We chatted the whole way over and discussed our disappointment about everything that had, or had not, transpired the night before. As we began to approach our destination, the escort asked which of the meet and greets we were hoping to attend. We told him and he said he would see if he could help us. The curse of the bad Con employee struck again as the woman manning Ross’ line screeched to our new friend that David Ross’ line was full and there was no way that we were getting in that line. He didn’t seem bothered and told us to hold tight for a moment.

He disappeared but returned a few minutes later and told us to follow him and not draw attention to ourselves. We did and he snuck us through a “behind the scenes” area and put us in the very front of the David Ross line. We were astounded, as there were people waiting in the line who had been there since eleven pm the night before. Our new friend next handed me his card and said if I had any trouble getting into any of the panels that day to text him and he would help us. As it turns out, our friend was the hotel manager. We thanked him profusely then and every time we saw him for the rest of the weekend.

Grandpa Rossy!

Grandpa Rossy!

David Ross was wonderful, showing up early, thanking us for being there to see him and taking photos and signing autographs, including signing my baseball as “Grandpa Rossy!” All of the trials and tribulations of the previous night were forgotten and a new day dawned for the Cubs Convention.

Sasquatch sighting at the Eugene Emeralds booth

Ron Santo’s bat

Obviously this all took significantly less time than I had originally assumed, so we were able to see many of the booths and exhibitions while we waited for the first panel we were interested in, which included prolonged visits with all of the Cubs minor league teams and enjoying their amenities, as well as taking the opportunity to swing an actual game-used Ron Santo bat at the Louisville Slugger booth.

We had absolutely no problem getting into the panels we wanted to see, as there was a designated wheelchair section that provided a great view. We saw a panel hosted by Joe Maddon and the coaches, one with Kyle Hendricks, Carl Edwards Jr., Mike Montgomery and Wade Davis and the amazing “Cubs All Star Infield” with Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Ben Zobrist and Anthony Rizzo.

MVP--and newlywed-- Kris Bryant

MVP–and newlywed– Kris Bryant

The nice thing about the panels is the opportunity to see the players as human beings and see their personalities emerge. All of the guys in question are character-first guys and very personable, which makes it fun and easy to root for them. During the All Star Infield panel, I noticed on Twitter that Anthony Rizzo’s charity was selling opportunities for a meet and greet with him, so Lauren volunteered to go and look into it for me. Unfortunately, it was $300 and at the time I couldn’t make myself pull the trigger. Looking back and having spent less at the Convention than I had budgeted for, I do somewhat regret not doing it.

Broadcaster and moderator, Len Kasper

Broadcaster and moderator, Len Kasper

In my SWAG bag from the day before I had won a spot in an autograph signing with Edwards Jr. and we headed to that next. Edwards was pleasant enough, but very quiet and didn’t really provide a chance for a photo so that was a bit of a bummer. At this point, the Convention was beginning to die down, so we did one lap of the sales floor and then headed out for some Chicago deep-dish pizza for dinner.

Even in a wheelchair and not walking very much at all the Convention wore me out every day. We didn’t stay until closing any of the three days and I was still exhausted when we got back to our hotel every night. It may have been the exhaustion that helped make this such a personally successful Convention, however. I realized from the start that I wasn’t going to be able to see everything and do everything, so I had to make conscientious decisions about the things I really wanted to experience and didn’t need to stress myself–and Lauren– out by trying to do every single thing. It was different for me, but overwhelmingly easier.

World Champions

World Champions

The final half-day of the Convention arrived and we had only one thing we needed to accomplish. Seeing the World Series trophy. It had been on display all weekend for people to take photos, but the line was consistently an hour wait or longer. We hoped with Sunday being a slower, more low-key day, the line for the trophy would reflect that…and it sort of did. We ended up waiting just under an hour to see it in the bizarre makeshift tent that had been setup in the parking garage of the hotel. The tent was fine, but it was a bit chilly and the single heater I noticed wasn’t quite warming the tent enough. Nor was the combined body heat of dozens of Cubs fans.

Future Hall-of-Famer, Lee Smith

Future Hall-of-Famer, Lee Smith

After we thawed out a bit we went to the Charity room again and met one of the all-time great closers, Lee Smith. He is a big man but sounds like “Boomhauer” from “King of the Hill.” He is a genuinely nice man, and it is honestly a crime that he is not yet in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

While we finished up with Smith I saw on Twitter that Cubs organist, Gary Pressy, was in the hotel lobby giving away some of the bobbleheads of himself that the Cubs gave away at a game the previous summer. We found him and lucked out and got one. He even signed it for us. With that, the Convention was pretty much over. There was some area with apparently tons of wiffle ball sets because–I’m not joking–we saw families walking through the hotel lobby all carrying 5-6 sets apiece. I want to know why one family needs 25 wiffle ball bats.

Overall, I’d give this World Champions edition of the Cubs Convention a solid B+. The first night was really hard and I questioned if I’d ever come to another one, but Saturday’s meeting with David Ross helped redeem that and there were very few, if any, issues from then on out.

Big trophy

Big trophy

The Cubs created the idea of a winter fanfest and still host the largest and greatest of them all, though most–if not all–teams do something in the same vein. I’m proud to have been able to go this year after having one, if not two, planned convention trips have to be cancelled in recent memory. Remember, pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in less than a month!

Until next time, keep tripping baseballs!

Kicking Off 2017

 

I don’t even know what to say here. It seems like every few posts or so I am apologizing for my lack of content. Mentally, I’ve been overwhelmed with the World Series victory for the Cubs and physically…well, let’s just say that I’ve been better.

OK. That’s out of the way. Now to the good stuff.

 

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  • HOLY CRAP, THE CUBS WON THE WORLD SERIES!
  • The fun thing is that I feel like a Cubs hipster this season. Not just because I’ve been a true fan for virtually my whole life, but Lauren and I attended the last Cubs Spring Training game of the year, as well as the 2nd regular season game. We were amongst the few to see a healthy Kyle Schwarber on an MLB field prior to the World Series.
  • I’m astounded about the turnout for the Cubs victory parade. I don’t understand how this isn’t a bigger story. The largest gathering of people in the history of the United States? The 7th largest in recorded history? I realize that it is just a “guesstimate,” but it’s not like just getting a report from your drunk friend. ‘I mean it was real crowded! There were like…5 million people there!’

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  • Good riddance to Aroldis Chapman. Yes, I get it. He was a major contributor to the World Series win and for that I am grateful. Now, I never want to have to root for–or sweat over–him again.
  • One member of the team that I am truly sad to see go is Dexter Fowler. That’s not just because of his landing spot, but I thought he was one of the key parts to the team, not only on the field, but his attitude definitely helped to create the personality of the club. I honestly wish him well. Except when he plays the Cubs.
  • I like the addition of Wade Davis. I have always been a Jorge Soler apologist, but there is no denying the fact that he still has yet to come close to reaching his potential nor the pure logistics of a lack of place for him. Reliable bullpen arms, however, are always a good thing to stockpile.
  • Barring any sort of unexpected calamity (the type that I am most known for), I will be attending my 4th Cubs Convention next week. I haven’t decided if I want to live tweet anything, or if I just want to do write-ups afterward. I guess you can find out if you follow me on Twitter and all of a sudden I hijack your timeline.

Until next time, keep tripping baseballs!

World Series Game 5: Hot Takes

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  • This is it. I realize that even with a win tonight there are still 2 more to go, but a win tonight will remind these young Cubs of what they are capable of. These Cubs are capable of winning the whole World Series if they take it one game at a time. One inning at a time. One at-bat at a time.
  • These Cubs are different from any Cubs team I’ve seen. They are ignoring the history that has mostly happened before they were born and focusing on the “now.” They know they are a good team and when they play their style of baseball, nobody can heat them, Even down 3-1 they were confident in their ability.
  • “It’s one game at a time, don’t change anything, have fun, smile, just be ourselves.”–Kris Bryant
    “We’ve won 3 games in a row before.We’re not trying to do anything impossible.”
    –Jason Heyward
  • There has never, in the history of man, been such a desire to go willingly to Cleveland.
  • This World Series is getting me emotionally, not only because it’s the Cubs in the Series, but because of those I love who aren’t here to share it with me. Ernie, Harry, Ron and my Papa just to name a few.
  • The Ross-assisted pop out to Anthony Rizzo was a thing of truest beauty.
  • I realize that the World Series will create heroes out of anyone, but how has Jose Ramirez turned into Babe Ruth?
  • It breaks my heart that, in all practicality, this is the last time we will ever see the Lester-Ross battery that has been together for so long. davidrossjonlesterdwdishpcrkzm
  • Country Joe West is scheduled to work home plate in Game 6. I loathe Country Joe, especially at the plate, but I would give everything I own to see him work Game 6 in Cleveland.
  • There is an absolute reason that Jason Heyward is a Gold Glove nominee!ct-cubs-indians-world-series-game5-photos-002
  • David Ross is performing like a circus acrobat tonight on defense.
  • KRIS BRYANT!!!  img_2185
  • Small ball is putting a lot of pressure on Trevor “Drone” Bauer and the Indians…and they don’t seem able to handle it.
  • To paraphrase the film Major League, “F you, Jobu!”
  • The Cubs are starting to remember what it was that brought them to this place, and having some fun. Guess what? Keep that up and the wins will keep right on rolling!
  • John Smoltz seemed shocked by Anthony Rizzo’s deftness with the glove. This is not news. This is what Anthony does.img_2376
  • Jon Lester has earned every cent that the Cubs are paying him by coming up huge in these “must win” games. Every red cent.
  • I would like a lead of greater than 2 runs so that the inevitable Aroldis Chapman appearance doesn’t cause me to have a coronary.
  • I’m used to seeing celebratory patches on the sleeves of the Cubs jerseys. “100 Years of Wrigley Field,” “100 Years of the Cubs at Wrigley Field,” “20 Years Since Mark Grace Traded an Autograph for a Bag of Peanuts,” or whatever, but none of them have looked any better than the “World Series 2016” patch they’ve got now._35
  • I can’t believe it’s only the top of the 6th. I feel like I’ve lived 1,000 lifetimes since first pitch.
  • Lip reading is fun. Many of the players use the same word. It’s not a polite word.
  • Well…at least our mascot isn’t racist.img_2418
  • The ability of David Ross to throw out/ throw behind baserunners is astounding and he is criminally underrated in those categories.
  • I really don’t like Brian Shaw’s weird, loosey-goosey windup. It looks like he is trying to dislocate his shoulder and makes me physically uncomfortable.
  • It appears David Ross’ night is over. Thanks for catching one hell of a last game at Wrigley. Now go be a hero in Cleveland for the next few days, then ride off into the sunset. You will be truly missed.chi-cubindians-ct0044289411-20161030
  • Also, in light of David Ross, and his “Grandpa” nickname, it’s funny because he is obviously the senior member of the Cubs roster. It stopped being funny when I realized that Ross is only about 4 years older than me.
  • I don’t like Aroldis Chapman. I really don’t like him coming in mid-inning. I’m currently trying to breathe and wondering why my defibrillator surgery is tomorrow rather than before this. I think that ws a case of really poor timing on everyone’s part.
  • I don’t know how I survived that top of the 7th, but I’m glad I did, because Eddie Vedder leading into the stretch and dedicating the song to David Ross warmed the cockles of my cold little heart and I think I’m ready for these last 6 outs. I’m not, but I am good at lying to myself.ct-cubs-indians-world-series-game5-photos-042
  • A Dexter Fowler foot injury would rank up there pretty high on the “Things the Cubs Don’t Need to Happen” list.
  • Chapman not covering first base on the great stop by Rizzo is the kind of “small thing” that loses games. And championships. If you didn’t buy a ticket, you can’t just stand and watch the game happen around you.
  • 5 of 8 outs recorded by Chapman to seal the win. It’s the last 3 that are going to give me more ulcers than I already have. Can the Cubs just have a nice crooked bottom of 8? Please?
  • It’s interesting how as the evening wears on, so does the percentage of rum in my rum and Coke.
  • With Hector Rondon available, I would not let Chapman bat with 2 out in the 8th. I bring in a pinch hitter and let someone else close it out. Jason Heyward standing on second base is far too valuable a run in a series like this where a solo home run ties it.
  • The good Lord must be in Chicago, and at least for tonight, is a Cubs fan. Let’s get on that plane to CLEVELAND and come home with some jewelry!

World Series Game 4: Hot Takes

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  • OK, Cubs fans. This is it. This is the big one.Actually, they’ve all been the big one, but tonight is the BIG ONE (all caps, you see.) If Cleveland wins they can literally win the Series at Wrigley, a thought which makes me vomit, or at least head back to Cleveland with a dominating 3-2 advantage. If the Cubs can scrape out a victory, the series will be tied tonight and could possibly head to Cleveland with the 3-2 advantage, requiring only 1 win to take the Series. One win can be a fluke base hit after a few hits or errors, as we saw last night. That is certainly not insurmountable. While I will be watching until out 27 is recorded in the deciding game, it will be a lot more fun if it’s the Cubs recording that out. Let’s just win tonight.
  • Well Mr. Lackey, tonight you decide if you are here for jewelry or that haircut you keep talking about. Let’s focus on the jewelry.
  • Lackey looked like the Lackey of old in the first inning. Then the 30+ pitch second happened and he looked like the Lackey of recent memory.img_2338
  • I think Jason Heyward may have been playing a long con this entire season, holding off on regular season and playoff success to lull the Indians into a false sense of security in Game 4 of the World Series to get a base hit. It worked!
  • The Cubs are a good fielding team with 4 Gold Glove nominees and I don’t understand how they’re fielding (or not, rather) tonight. No one could catch the ball in the top of the second. It looked like a Benny Hill sketch, minus Yakkety Sax.
  • It looks like Corey Kluber may have lost a little mojo in the bottom of the third with a 2 out walk to Kris Bryant and hitting Anthony Rizzo. Here’s hoping.
  • UPDATE: It’s OK everyone. Looks like he found it.
  •  The Jason Heyward theory may be playing itself into reality.
  • For the Cubs to have any hope whatsoever, the bullpen needs to match zeros with Cleveland, NOT what Justin Grimm did.fullsizerender-2
  • After the Kipnis home run I was instructed that I need to breathe. That isn’t a problem. I need to breathe to be able to scream.
  • IF the Cubs don’t come back to win tonight, I cannot watch the Indians win tomorrow at Wrigley. Joe Maddon needs to manage like it’s Game 7 and move the remainder of the Series to Cleveland. The Indians CANNOT, I repeat, CANNOT win it in Chicago. The heart of the city will be broken wherever it happens, but there is hope for the future if it doesn’t happen on the sacred grounds of Wrigley Field.
  • I hesitate to say it for fear of sounding insane, but this is where heroes are made. This is Gibson in ’88, Maz in ’60 and–I once again hesitate to say, but Garvey in ’84. Can we say Schwarber in ’16 and add him to the pantheon?
  • There is an episode of The Twilight Zone that features a virtually unhittable pitcher and SPOILER ALERT: it turns out the pitcher is a robot masquerading as a human in a grand experiment. I wonder if Andrew Miller is actually that robot.twilight_zone_mighty_casey
  • I’m not going to pretend that this is easy. Easy to watch. Easy to accept. But as George Will says “Cubs fans are 90% scar tissue.” I will watch to the bitter end of this World Series and hope and pray that the end is sweet rather than bitter but I’ll be there for it.I just can’t give up on these guys until they are officially knocked out.f08082d647c7e3fe35d06aa79051c51c
  • Let’s get them tomorrow. Moral victory.

World Series Game 3: Hot Takes

  • People were lining up at 530 Am to get a precious seat at one of the Wrigleyville bars. At least one watering hole was reportedly charging a $100 cover, plus $250/hour bill with a mandatory 18% gratuity. Not a bad gig if you can get it!
  • The sound on this tv is godawful so I’m listening to Pat and Ron on the radio. I ain’t even mad.
  • This is a moment 71 years in the making. Cubs fans have been born, lived full lives and have died without seeing a moment like this. I may be 2,000 miles from Wrigley but I can see this at least. That’s a blessing. 
  • It’s only the top of the first but that overturned pickoff play could loom huge in this game.
  • Jorge Soler in the starting lineup does not fill me with confidence. Nor did that second inning strikeout.
  • Addison Russell earned his Gold Glove nomination just for the catch in the top of the third.
  • So Mike Napoli was “indisposed” in the bottom of the fifth inning and the Indians stalled the start of the inning. I wish Napoli had come out with toilet paper on his shoe.
  • I’m shocked that Hendricks is 0-7 when the Cubs score one run or less. Hard to win if the team gets shut out. 
  • Pulling Carlos Santana and his offense for Rajai Davis in the mid-innings of a 0-0 game astounds me. It’s not protecting a lead and the Indians lose a dangerous weapon in what appears to be a low scoring tight game.
  • Getting “a mouth full of World Series pressure”?
  • I’d like to see a cutaway interview with the parent of an MLB player where the parent acts like a little league parent. ” Well I told josh not to throw his curveball and what does he do the very second he’s on the mound?? I’m glad they hit 3 home runs. Maybe he will listen to that because God knows I’ve tried everything else.”
  • Well that was not how I expected the first run of this game to score.
  • The  Cubs were counted out versus the Giants and Dodgers and look how those turned out. Victory will have to come in enemy territory in Cleveland, but it is do-able. I still have faith until our 27 is recorded in the deciding game. That faith may kill me before that time, but I’m willing to risk it.
  • I love that when they cut to them Derek Lee was texting on his phone while Ryne Sandberg was chatting on his.
  • Jason Heyward continues his miserable season for the Cubs by giving me hope in the bottom of the 9th.
  • Anthony Rizzo looks like he is in physical pain when Javy Baez didn’t (did) check his swing.
  • Heading to Cleveland 3-2 isn’t ideal but the Cubs can do it. Still I believe.

Hot Takes: NLCS Game 1

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  • I’d hardly qualify Javy Baez as the every day second baseman.
  • Lots of solid contact early against Kenta Maeda. With the wind blowing out, this could be a very good thing
  • Dave Roberts has my vote for NL Manager of the Year.
  • Sending Adrian Gonzalez home with 2 outs and Howie Kendrick coming up was just a dumb move.Unless something catastrophic happened with the relays to the plate there is no way Gonzalez scores.
  • I think Javy Baez took the lesson to heart about hustling in every at bat. His hustle is currently bordering on dangerous…and I like it.
  • If Justin Turner makes a better throw to the plate (i.e. lower) Javy is nailed.img_2302
  • “Even the mistakes seem to go the Cubs way” is not a phrase–or sentiment–that I am accustomed to during my lifetime.
  • It takes a lot of guts for Joe Buck to mock other announcers.
  • Jason Heyward has erased at least a month of crummy regular season tonight alone.
  • It looks like Dexter Fowler has been eating his Rizz-Os for breakfast!
  • Justin Turner looks like the AMPM mascotimg_2300 img_2301
  • FS1 sure has a lot of gratuitous crotch shots.
  • During the in-game interview (which I hate) I love the fact that Jake Arrieta would stop the interview to react to what was actually going on around him and on the field.
  • I just noticed that the standings flags atop the scoreboard have been removed, leaving just the flags for the Dodgers and Cubs. Very cool little touch.
  • Anthony Rizzo’s glove is more than carrying his lack of offense, and that’s ok, if not ideal.
  • I think this Javy Baez kid may be good at baseball.
  • Watching Pedro Baez pitch is painful. He is the reason that a pitch clock is going to be instilled.
  • Jon Lester pitched a good game, but that “wind-aided” home run cancels out a few of the times the Cubs defense bailed him out. It is a hard call, and in years past I would criticize it pretty heartily, but with the current bullpen, I think things will be OK. Until they’re not.
  • (^See? Still a classic Cubs fan at heart)
  • Evidently Joe Maddon didn’t learn about using relievers for more than a batter in Game 3 of the NLDS. Things look OK…for now.
  • The 8th inning is where the dark thoughts come from.
  • The reference to Bartman on the foul ball to Anthony Rizzo was completely unnecessary. The fans literally played no park in whether it was caught or not.
  • Joe Blanton lost enough Angels games that I attended, I feel like he owed me one. Or five.
  • I questioned the move to bring in Miguel Montero rather than Willson Contreras. What the heck do I know?
  • The Cubs need to go 7-6 at this point to win the World Series. That is absolutely doable for this team!
  • Despite the score, this game was saved by the Cubs defense!
  • If tonight is any indicator, I may not survive the next few weeks. I think in the grand scheme, I’m ok with that.