Today is the last day of the regular season. The Cubs will be in the postseason. I so relish writing that. After all of the dog days of the Sixties and Seventies and Eighties and Nineties and Oughts and Teens, the Cubs have another team that will cut the mustard and play in October.
This is special. We are moving beyond meat loaf into the land of higher steaks. Last time out, I wrote that there were 101 reasons to believe in this year’s model, that this particular combination plate of prime and aged beef might have the ingredients for postseason success, based on the opinions and data gathered by a collection of baseball writers and other meatballs.
Starting tomorrow, the Cubs will have to stew for a bit until they find out whether they play the Mets, Giants, or Cardinals in the NLDS, which is won by tri-tip. An entree of braised National or steamed Dodger would be suitable before serving the main course.
I’m not gonna wax philosophical about the meaning of it all. I’m not even gonna sweep the floor. One step more than last year would suit me. There are eleven in all. But only one thing will satisfy my hunger. And it isn’t a Snickers.
Here are some cans of peas for you to open in the meantime. As always * means autoplay on (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).
- Tim Sheridan (Boys of Spring): Music for the Cause. “...here’s your opportunity to help a great cause and get a cool Cubs song!” Sheridan is the Cubs’ PA announcer at Sloan Park.
- Tom LaTourette: (I’m not Betting Against) My Cubs [VIDEO].
- Andy Martino (NY Daily News): For the Cubs’ ailing longtime scout Billy Blitzer, it might be now or never to win a World Series ring. h/t MichiganCub.
- Andrew Ryan (Boston Globe): Next year is this year, long-suffering Cubs fans proclaim. Patrick Wozny, for example, has vowed not to say “World Series” until he can scream it at a Cubs victory parade on Michigan Avenue.
- Anthony Castrovince (MLB.com): Postseason seeds and tiebreakers explained. Home field advantage and some wildcard races are still in play.
- Alan Rubenstein (Call to the Pen): Chicago Cubs: What would the playoff rotation look like? It most likely won’t include Jason Hammel.
- Ryan Davis (Today’s Knuckleball): Jason Hammel may have thrown his last pitch for the Cubs. “If it is indeed the end of the Hammel era in Chicago, it should be remembered as a success.”
- Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Joe Maddon has playoff rotation in mind, not ready to reveal yet. "What I like to do under these circumstances is talk to the players first before they have to read about it in the newspaper,” he said.
- Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Arms Dealer: Joe Maddon won’t reveal playoff rotation just yet. “At the end of the day, we’re not trying to conceal weaponry being sold to Iran,” Maddon said.
- Robert Davis (Cubbies Crib): Chicago Cubs: Justin Grimm or Carl Edwards Jr in playoff bullpen? The case for each.
- Mark Townsend (Big League Stew): Joe Maddon reacts to Cubs' players' criticism of 'spring training' lineups. “In particular, ace Jake Arrieta and catcher Miguel Montero weren’t thrilled with the lineups and some in-game changes...”
- Robert Sanchez (ESPN): When Anthony Rizzo was diagnosed with cancer, Jon Lester threw him a lifeline. Rizzo was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma as an 18-year-old prospect with the Red Sox.
- Jesse Rogers (ESPN): Jon Lester: 100-win season will mean nothing without title. "This season isn't anything unless we do what we showed up at spring training to do, win a World Series," Lester said.
- Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Jon Lester on Cubs: ‘I don’t want to sound like an a--hole, but we haven’t really done anything yet’. “The hundred-and-whatever wins are great,” Lester said. “All the personal stuff is great. This is go time now. Now we got to really kind of live up to the expectations and the hype.”
- Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times): Cubs offer glimpse of Game 1 playoff lineup in loss to Reds. Asked whether this was his opening lineup for the playoffs, manager Joe Maddon said: “There’s a shot.”
- Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): How Cubs plan to deploy Javier Baez in the playoffs. “I just like to put him where the most action may be,” Maddon said.
- Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Cubs believe Dexter Fowler's return key to success. "Having him back simplified everything, and there was that much more depth," Jason Heyward said of Fowler.
- Matt Snyder (CBS Sports*): Here's why the Cubs are on pace to be the single best defensive team ever. “What really matters is range teamed with the ability to avoid errors.”
- Tom Hitchner (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Why do we care about bandwagon fans? “...it feels like they’re getting something for nothing.”
- Adam Nissen (Sports Mockery): Skip Bayless makes the dumbest statement about Cubs Fans that you’ll ever hear. It’s a “lovable losers” allusion and it’ll make you hate Bayless even more.
- Justin Breen (DNAinfo): 5 Cubs Collectibles that will knock your socks off. Six-figure memorabilia.
Food for thought:
- Julia Frenz (PRI): Here’s the science behind singing. “...our key voice apparatus is a little area in our larynx called the vocal folds.”
- Devin Coldewey (TechCrunch): Rosetta goes out in a blaze of glory — and science. Alvaro Giménez — “The mission has spanned entire careers, and the data returned will keep generations of scientists busy for decades to come.”
- Jennifer Couzin-Frankel (Science): Unanswered questions surround baby born to three parents. The little boy was reportedly born 5 months ago.
Thanks for reading. See you Tuesday.