Tagged: nlcs

NLCS Game 6: Hot Takes

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  • Tonight is not about Steve Garvey, Steve Bartman, Leon Durham or Ron Santo’s black cat. Tonight is about now and beating the best pitcher in the game. Tonight is Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javy Baez and Kyle Hendricks. Tonight is about NOW.
  • There is literally no outcome of tonight that won’t push me to the emotional brink. The agony and the ecstasy are co-mingling in my heart right now.
  • All other things aside, I want to win just to shut up Adrian Gonzalez.14725639_1501019903246706_6393321142420226201_n
  • My baseball boyfriend is better than your baseball boyfriend.img_1979
  • I love the fans behind first base waving at Clayton Kershaw to distract him. Too bad Wrigley is so quiet, right Adrian?
  • We had the champ on the ropes and we bloodied him and bloodied him good. He’s still in the fight, but I think he has lost a little something inside and I can’t help but be optimistic that the Cubs know it too and will take full advantage of it.
  • The term “cat-like” is often used to describe athletes, but Willson Contreras really looks like a cat when he is jumping around after a loose ball at the plate.
  • Even the outs against Clayton Kershaw are being hit really hard.
  • I’m pretty uncomfortable with Joe Buck talking as if the Cubs have already won. I’m an old time Cubs fan…I’m still uber cautious about good things.
  • I love seeing Anthony Rizzo and Javy Baez screwing around with each other. That’s one way to show how loose and relaxed these young Cubbies are.
  • Ive been fairly uncomfortable with the comparisons between Kyle Hendricks and Greg Maddux, but tonight, Kyle looks like Maddux.
  • Somehow I’m more nervous with a 5-0 lead than I would be with a 0-0 or 1-0 game. I’m completely irrational.
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  • Kenley Jansen is good. Really good, but I think this may be a case of closing the barn door after the Cubs got out. the Cubs offense could literally go 0-the rest of the game, but as long as the defense and pitching hold up, you could bring inSandy Koufax and Don Drysdale and it wouldn’t matter.
  • This is what I’ve been waiting for my entire life. When I was getting teased and mocked for wearing my Cubs cap, I saw this moment in my head. When people wouldn’t shut up about the Cubs losing 14 straight to start the 1997 season, I knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel. We are just about out of that tunnel and into the light and it feels so good.
  •  This can’t be happening. This is a dream, right? A cruel joke? Someone is going to wake me up and tell me what really happened during this season. I honestly can’t handle this.
  • The young Cubs are NOT trying to break any curse. The don’t care about a curse or a goat or anything like that. They just want to win!
  • The old joke used to be “An optimist says the glass is half full. A pessimist says it’s half empty. A Cubs fan wonders when the glass is going to tip over.” That’s not true any more. Cubs fans are justifiably optimistic and confident that what SHOULD happen WILL happen. No curses or jinxes for this Cubs team.

NLCS Game 5: Hot Takes

  • First of all, indulge me and allow me to address an issue from Game 4, the Adrian Gonzalez play where he was thrown out at the plate, had the play reviewed and the had the ruling on field stand. I can completely understand the frustration of an out like that., especially in such a high-stakes game. However, MLB upheld it upon review and the freeze frame shots show that his hand was above the plate as Willson Contreras tagged him. What I really don’t like is Mr. Gonzalez going on Twitter immediately following the game and continuing his whining there. I have always been a fan of Adrian, back to his Padres days as a hometown hero and to see him acting like a spoiled child is frustrating. (Yes, I also realize the Cubs had John Lackey on the mound and he is no stranger to wearing his emotions on his sleeves.)img_2325
  • I wish Willson Contreras was starting tonight, but Joe knows best and consistency has been the key for the Cubs. Having the flexibility to put Contreras in the game later might be a big factor in a close game.
  • Having Steve Garvey on the field to open the game was a gut punch, but having Vin Scully actually start the game was a nice touch. I don’t care who you root for, you can’t wish anything but great things for Vin.
  • Rizzo used Matt Szczur’s bat, evidently Addison Russell wore his underwear…who has dibs on his cup?
  • I do not like Justin Turner, Sam-I-Am.
  • Playing Beethoven for every out gets really old really quickly.
  • Jon Lester’s “inability to hold runners/field his position” is not a compelling storyline. It doesn’t bear repeating every time an opposing runner advances or hits the ball to him.26186875522_e3e9510ed7_z
  • I don’t know why, but the sight of Larry King in his suspenders sitting right behind home plate looking like he is about to fall asleep to an episode of Jeopardy! makes me smile.
  • God Bless you, Joe Blanton!
  • Now I’m afraid Adrian Gonzalez is going to have to get on Twitter to complain that he was safe at first on the overturned call. img_1165
  • Pedro Baez and the 30 seconds between pitches is utterly ridiculous. He may single-handedly be the reason MLB institutes a pitching clock.
  • 8 runs per win is something I can get used to.
  • I’m much happier with Pedro Strop getting his jitters or whatever it is in a situation with a seven run lead than a one run affair in Wrigley…or God willing, Cleveland.
  • Clayton Kershaw’s tank top is one of the best articles of clothing that I’ve seen in recent memory. kershawthrow_ff98tzdo_o9kvgmmv
  • I had little faith in Aroldis Chapman coming into this series and even that is beginning to wane. It feels like when Carlos Marmol used to come into games and it was a crapshoot as to what was going to happen.
  • Clayton Kershaw is good. There is not argument there. He might be “the” pitcher of my generation, assuming I’m slightly too late for Greg Maddux. However, Kershaw has never gone undefeated and despite what some would have the baseball world believe, he is HUMAN. That means beatable. It does not mean that it’s going to be easy. It just means that it is possible and the possibility is all that this Cubs team needs. I’m not guaranteeing it by any means, but the Cubs COULD beat Kershaw and take the pennant in Game 6. Believe!

NLCS Game 4: Hot Takes

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  • Unnecessary to say this, but if the Cubs lose this game I have very little confidence in a series win. A win tonight and I feel like this is a brand new series.
  • I like John Lackey but his antics on the mound make it hard to watch him sometimes. Especially when he is bristling about a pitch the was, in reality, called correctly.
  • The Cubs catchers are absolute beasts throwing out baserunners. I’ll never get tired of seeing that.
  • Once again, Adrian Gonzalez can’t run. Adrian Gonzalez has never been able to run. Is the Dodger third base coach unaware of this fact? That’s been two bad sends during this series.
  • Like it or not, there wasn’t a definitive enough angle to overturn the play with Adrian Gonzalez thrown out at the plate. If you have to slow a clip down 100x and zoom in 25x to try to find something, that play shouldn’t be overturned. It has to be clear and incontrovertible evidence to change a call. It was not there in that play. I feel like that is the case in most extremely close replays. That’s OK. That would be OK even if it went against the Cubs. I wouldn’t be thrilled with it, but that’s how replay works.la-dodgers-vs-cubs-live-updates-game-4-dodgers-don-t-score-in-second-after-1476925465
  • Oh thank God. The Cubs can indeed score.
  • This game is significantly more fun than the game I attended last night. ct-cubs-dodgers-nlcs-game4-score-20161019
  • I may or may not be more relieved by Anthony Rizzo’s home run than Rizzo himself. He needed that. The Cubs needed that.
  • Josh Reddick’s “Lambeau Leap” is my favorite thing I’ve seen the Dodgers do all season.
  • I can’t believe there’s still any thought that the Dodgers will have Clayton Kershaw pitch in Game 5. Kershaw is a great pitcher, but there is no way he is ready to start a game tomorrow.
  • I actually kind of like Andrew Tolles. I don’t know that he’d be in my starting lineup, but I like him as a bench/utility piece.
  • With two walks to start the fifth I think Mr Lackey is done for the night if I’m Joe Maddon. This game is too important to lose with a pitcher losing his edge.
  • Well, the bottom of the fifth was rough, but the Cubs defense bailed them out. I don’t necessarily need a shutout. I just need the Cubs to end this thing with at least one more run than the Dodgers. However that happens.
  • I think Anthony Rizzo should buy all of Matt Szczur’s bats.
  • There have been more than a few plays tonight that look like they were choreographed by the Keystone Kops..not the least of which was the sacrifice fly that led to two runs and almost looked to be setting up a little league home run. From where I sit, that was a lot of fun to watch.
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  • Addison Russell has found his swing again even if they don’t always drop for a hit.
  • Hoping that the injury to Carl Edwards, Jr. is just a leg cramp or something minor. He has been too important out of the bullpen to lose him for the rest of the postseason.
  • Hey Anthony, I’m loving your production tonight, but you don’t have to make up the entire postseason in a single game.
  • Dodger Stadium is emptying out like the rats escaping the Wrigley Field bleachers. I realize that 10-2 is a rough score to swallow, especially on a weeknight, but leaving a game early is a sin to me.
  • Tonight was a big momentum shift and with the series now even at 2-2, the path to the World Series goes through Wrigley and I like the Cubs chances in that situation. I think tomorrow is definitely winnable and even if Kershaw pitches like Kershaw in the first game back at Wrigley, the Cubs can take Game 7. I’m feeling very good about this series.

NLCS Game 3: I Was There. Wish I Wasn’t.

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I swore off of Dodger Stadium two years ago. The parking lots are miserable, there’s little to no charm and I have been harassed by fans (read: hooligans) more than I care to remember. I also don’t understand the appeal of Dodger Dogs. They are just extra large Farmer John hot dogs. Essentially the same thing anyone could get at any little league game across the country. Sorry, I just don’t get it. I broke that oath for Game 3 of the NLCS. What could go wrong? Jake Arrieta was pitching in California, where he has been utterly dominant over the previous two years, and at a ballpark where he threw a no-hitter. I took nothing for granted, but I also was hedging my bets on this one and broke my own rule.

The last time I was at Dodger Stadium a guy named Rich H. got lit up by a team wearing blue. I was hoping for history to repeat itself. It did, but not in the way I was expecting or hoping, but I’m guessing you know those gory details and I won’t waste time or emotional baggage on them. Instead, I want to address my Dodger Stadium experience, which, after talking to many other fans, seems fairly typical.

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My brothers and I arrived at the ballpark a few hours before the game and slowly made our way to our section in the top deck. I was actually quite pleasantly surprised by the section. There was a spacious concourse with high bar tables scattered around and a nice view. My brothers enjoyed a beer (in the process becoming beer holders/hand models for some unknown publication) as we whiled away the time until the game. We headed to our seats relatively early due to the fact that I have mobility issues and don’t like being a spectacle or recipient of pity as I make my way to my seat.

We ended up sitting in the front row, which meant that–unlike some other ballparks I have visited– I had to walk down many very steep steps, rather than entering at the lowest level with the rest of the section above and behind. While not terribly comfortable or convenient, the trek to the seats was not the end of the world. As we waited for first pitch the seats around us started to fill up–as expected–with Dodger fans. While there were other Cub fans in the general vicinity, we were all scattered apart. No little pockets of Cubdom in our section.

Immediately sitting behind me was a gentleman who was very knowledgeable about baseball and more or less a decent guy until he met his neighbor, who was a loud, ignorant aggressor throughout the entire game.

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My brothers and I sat fairly quiet during the entire game, only talking to each other in relatively quiet voice and not at all engaging with the people around us. This didn’t matter to the aggressor who spent the game screaming and making comments intending to infuriate us and get us to engage with him. We did not, but that didn’t stop him. In addition to his harassment of our group, he was adamant about getting a “wave” started. In the NLCS. The “wave” is never acceptable and certainly not in a game of this import, but I digress.

As the game ended my brothers and I stayed in our seats and let our section empty, again due to my slow speed and lack of mobility so I wouldn’t block or delay any other fans trying to exit. As our area cleared we recieved some empty platitudes of “good game” and “there’s still a lot of baseball to come,” which redeemed some of the fans around us, but, of course, nothing from the aggressor. I expected nothing less. As we were walking to our car there was a man in a Dodger jersey literally walking up and screaming in the faces of any Cubs fans he could find. Simple people and families who were just minding their own business. Seeing that left a terrible taste in my mouth. Fortunately we were able to avoid him and get to the car without further harassment.

What started as a promising redemption for Dodger Stadium ended as further damning of my least favorite ballpark that I have ever visited. The staff was friendly and helpful, but the all too common dealings with bad fans negated any goodwill that the staff earned. On the way home I went on Twitter to vent about my experiences and got many responses from fellow Cub fans who indicated that my experiences were not isolated incidents, which saddened me further.

Would my feelings be different if the Cubs had won 6-0? Maybe. Maybe that would have quieted the cocksure fan and their bullying…or maybe it would have made things worse. There is, after all, nothing more dangerous than someone with nothing to lose and this is the place where an opposing fan was beaten into a long term coma.

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I do not condemn all Dodger fans. I have many friends who are fans and are civilized human beings. I’m not even saying that the bad fans make up a majority of the fanbase. Every team has their “bad fans.” Witness the idiot throwing a bottle of beer on the field at the Orioles in Toronto of all places. All I’m saying is that a majority of my experiences with Dodger Stadium have been tainted by bad fan interactions and I know I’m not the only one.

Hey future self, please remember this game the next time you think about visiting Dodger Stadium and remember one of the most miserable sports experiences of your life. I went into this game expecting very little and left receiving even less.

 

Hot Takes: NLCS Game 2

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  • Sitting a half hour before game time I’m not going to lie. This is the matchup that most gives me pause. Kyle Hendricks has been ridiculously good at home this year and I expect the trend to continue. However, Clayton Kershaw is still Clayton Kershaw. I’m hoping that the short rest/relief appearance against Washington may have him off of his game. While I do realize that this is a best of 7 series and I can’t expect to go undefeated, coming to LA with a 2-0 series lead will be HUGE. It means that the road for the Dodgers to eliminate the Cubs, come what may in LaLa Land, HAS to be through Wrigley. I like the way that looks. That being said, I like the pitching matchups for the Cubs in the remainder of the series. Certainly Rich Hill is no slouch, but versus Jake Arrieta? Plus having Game 4, as of now, looking like a bullpen game looks mighty good to me.
  •  I like John Smoltz. He seems knowledgeable, but I’m just not sure he should be a commentator.
  • In the first inning Kyle looked like Greg Maddux light. Not so much in the second. I don’t know if the Adrian Gonzalez home run shook him up, but I hope he calms himself down.
  • That was an “old Javy” swing on that high pitch. I thought we were over that.
  • Well, that was a stressful third inning but ultimately Kyle wound up doing what he has been doing all year.
  • Maybe I haven’t seen enough of Kershaw, but I don’t like his double leg kick delivery. Seems to me that it is a balk just waiting to happen.
  • That long ball that Anthony Rizzo hit foul by a few feet would have meant so much more than the 1 run that it would have scored. If that ball stays fair, I think Rizzo would have officially shaken his slump.
  • Hendricks wound up pitching a lot better than I was afraid of in the early innings. He picked himself up and worked out of some self-inflicted trouble. That resilience is going to benefit the Cubs going forward.
  • Gotta admit. I love the Mike Borzello fact of the night.
  • Thank God this perfect game nonsense is over. And yes, of course it was Javy Baez that did it.
  • Oh…and Mr. Baez can play defense too. He is showing some serious baseball intelligence tonight. First with his base running to try and draw a bad throw and then on the double play to get out of the inning. I’ve always like him from his minor league days and even I am getting more and more impressed with him this postseason.
  • I don’t know what to say. Hendricks and the bullpen were good. Really good, but Kershaw was Kershaw and that’s that. I was hoping he’d be off his game and not as sharp as usual. I was wrong.
  • Evidently my FS1 feed has a slight delay. I really need to remember not to go on Twitter during the game.
  • Where is Joe Blanton when you need him?
  • I have a number of issues with Aroldis Chapman, and I wish there was some way the Cubs could have gotten Andrew Miller instead. I honestly don’t feel like I can trust Chapman in these high pressure situations.
  • I can’t argue over individual balls and strikes, but that first pitch in the 9th to Kris Bryant shaped that entire at bat. That was ball 1. No question.
  • Next up, let’s go ahead and sweep the 3 games at Dodger Stadium and get that World Series berth. The Cubs need to go 7-5 for the rest of the post season. The Cubs can do that.
  • I wish Pete Rose’s suspension extended to commentating on baseball games as well.

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.