Tagged: world series

Review: Teammate by David Ross

David Ross has had a busy 12 months. He was a finalist on “Dancing With the Stars”, got a job as a commentator with ESPN, traveled the country for personal appearances…oh, and he did that ‘win the World Series’ thing too. With so much going on, even hardcore fans of the former Cubs backup catcher could be excused for missing the fact that in his ‘spare time’ Ross managed to write a New York Times best-selling book, “Teammate” as well.

Framing his baseball story through the lens of World Series Game 7, Ross discusses how he emerged from the ashes of being released by the Cincinnati Reds in 2008 to the high of winning the 2016 World Series, and in the process becoming one of the most valuable teammates in the game and certainly the most beloved backup catcher that baseball has ever seen.

As Ross says in the book, “I realized character could be as valuable as a home run, and my behavior and that attitude helped extend my career.”

It started with a small comment from Theo Epstein, after the 2008 season. Ross had joined the Boston Red Sox after being let go by the Reds and as he and Epstein discussed his future in Boston, Epstein felt he needed to inform Ross that he had gotten a reputation around the league as a bad teammate. That was the turning point for Ross.

Part autobiography, part self-help tome and even part journal kept during the 2016 season, “Teammate” had me anxiously turning to the next page to continue Ross’s remarkable story. In fact, I read the 272 pages in a single sitting.

I may have been slightly predisposed to like the book as a diehard Cub fanatic and David Ross fan, but my affection was more than just a fan service courtesy.

Grandpa Rossy!

 

On the one hand, Ross provides insight and behind-the-scenes info on some of the Cubs biggest stories of the 2016 season, from the creation of the “Grandpa Rossy” persona to the emotionally charged meeting during the Game 7 rain delay. That in and of itself gives the book a great deal of value, but it was some of the other aspects that stuck with me.

After the meeting with Theo Epstein, Ross made a conscientious effort to be the best teammate that he could be and provide any team that he was a part of with more than just his baseball talent, but also the intangible benefit that provides. Throughout the book in between the insider stories of his career and personal life Ross shows practical examples of the key things that create a good, or even bad, teammate.

Though often based with a focus towards sports, the lessons Ross teaches in “Teammate” are equally appropriate being shared in a board meeting or classroom as they are on a ball field.

“Teammate” is a great book for anyone with an interest in some of the nitty-gritty of the 2016 World Champion Chicago Cubs or their beloved backup catcher. Beyond that, the morals and ‘teachable moments’ make the book valuable for anyone who want to be a better part of a team, be it athletic, business-oriented or even a family. Ross proves that even at the lowest low there can be lessons to learn and a chance to achieve more than ever seemed possible.

“Teammate: My Journey in Baseball and a World Series for the Ages” by David Ross and Don Yaeger is available in print and digital and earns 8/9 baseballs from Tripping Baseballs. Highly recommended.

Until next time,

Keep Tripping Baseballs.

 

 

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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 7: Hot Take

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  • It’s November 2. The Cubs are still playing baseball. The Cubs have a chance tonight to be World Champions. I don’t know how to handle this. Tonight everything changes. While it has been slowly disappearing over the past few years, tonight we shake the “lovable losers” moniker. Tonight, win or lose we prove to the world that the Cubs are a legitimate force to be reckoned with and no billy goats or curses or cute little jabs at us are going to be acceptable any more. We are no longer a national punchline. We are the fearsome, mighty Cubs and that is the narrative if we win 1-0 or lose 100-1. For the we true fans, our lives are about to change forever.
  • My prediction tonight is that Corey Kluber will go no more than 3 innings before handing it over to the elite 3 in the Indians bullpen. The Cubs will need to score early to have a chance. I think Kyle Hendricks will go a bit longer than Kluber, but that Joe Maddon will have a quick hook the instant Hendricks gets into trouble. Assuming things go well, I think he might go a maximum of 5 innings, with Montgomery, Chapman, and Lester coming out of the bullpen with possibly some split matchups for the righties in the ‘pen, like Carl Edwards, Jr.
  • Not that it’s a rarity amongst Cubs fans but I am extremely nervous and have been all day. Remind me why we don’t play Game 7 at 10 in the morning and just alleviate all of the anxiety? Also, Happy “Stress Awareness Day.” Yes, that’s a real thing, and yes, the fates have conspired to have it be today.
  • There was a period of time in my high school career where my mom wouldn’t let me watch Cubs games at home because I got too involved and–let’s say verbose– during them. It’s a good thing I have my own house now, because I don’t think I would have been able to watch any of this post-season.ct-cubs-indians-world-series-game7-photos-029
  • Who would have thought that Kyle Schwarber, he of the torn ligaments in his leg and ‘lost season,’ would have an infield hit and stolen base in Game 7 of the World Series of aforementioned season?
  • Hendricks getting around the Javy Baez error with a quick at-bat to Mike Napoli was huge. The defense will save him some embarrassment and he will in turn do the same for them.ct-cubs-indians-world-series-game7-photos-038
  • I cannot stand Jose Ramirez.
  • Jon Lester has some problems with the pickoff? Why, this is the first I’m hearing of this, Joe Buck. Please find a new narrative.
  • Games like this remind me of how young and inexperienced the Cubs really are. They are trying to do too much on the field sometimes at the expense of the simple out. They need to focus on the simple things and the big things will happen.
  • I want Jason Heyward to get a hit, not just for the Cubs offensive output, but just for him.
  • I’m so glad to see Baez get that home run. He was struggling during the Series, both at the plate and–especially tonight–in the field. That had to feel like redemption.
  • “Irregardless” isn’t a word.Anthony Rizzo, David Ross
  • The clip of David Ross talking to Anthony Rizzo about anxiety in this game was one of the most adorable things I’ve seen in quite awhile.
  • “Uh oh. Looks like Happy learned to putt!”
  • Just because the Cubs have a decent lead is no excuse to squeeze Hendricks…or pull him, for that matter.
  • I thought Jon Lester was only going to come into a clean inning. That plan went out the window pretty quickly.
  • Wow. That was really ugly for both Lester and Ross. The one critique I’ve had of Joe Maddon during this post-season has been his quick hook on starting pitchers to hand the game to a bullpen that Joe has stated publicly that he doesn’t trust. Hendricks was cruising along and got squeezed on some pitches that led to a walk. I don’t think anything he did that inning required him to get pulled so early. I understand the appeal of getting Jon Lester in the game, but he doesn’t have his good stuff tonight.
  • What are we going to without you, David Ross? I’m not only referring to the Cubs, I’m talking about the world in general.d747a5e7a9412b5ef1f81189793885f5
  • This is going to be a long 12 outs. I’m shocked this isn’t the 8th or even later.
  • I would give just about anything I own to be in that stinking, sweaty mass of humanity gathering outside of Wrigley Field tonight. I regret not being able to write my Papa’s name on the walls of the bleachers, as I’ve seen so many Cubs fans do for their own loved ones over the past two days.
  • I had friends request that I do a live stream of me watching the game, but i told them it wasn’t that interesting. Mostly I’ve been stress eating with the occasional burst of profanity-laden screaming.
  • This is happening, isn’t it? This is really happening? We aren’t in a bizarre An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge situation, are we? I mean, I can be OK with that…
  • Just 4 outs to go. That’s doable. That’s less than ’03. That’s OK. This is fine.
  • And then Rajai Davis happened. I had a feeling after his misplays in the field that he would come around and do something to help the team…and lo and behold he falls into the list of Chicago public enemies.
  • And with a walk, David Ross rides off into the sunset. Possibly the most beloved 3rd string catcher in the history of this grand game.
  • The review play on the Chris Coghlan slide was ridiculous and handled very poorly by the umpiring crew. Regardless, Coghlan did a great job breaking up the potential double play.
  • Moving into the 10th inning, I’m not even angry with Chapman or with Joe Maddon any more. I’ve become more or less numb at this point. No high and no low. I don’t like that.
  • Because of course the World Series between the Cubs and Indians falls into a rain delay. In extra innings. Of course it did. It is certainly not going to be an easy road to the championship.
  • My heart can literally not take this any more. And I love it.
  • No party at Napoli’s tonight!
  • Well, Rajai Davis, I hope you enjoyed your night tonight, because it clearly cost your soul.
  • I’ve waited my whole life to say this, but THE CHICAGO CUBS ARE THE WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS!
  • Thanks for taking this journey with me!

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  • I took this picture at the All Star game this summer. I thought it might come in handy this year.

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.