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Game one tonight, and other bullets

MLB: World Series-Workouts
Can I borrow your nails?
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

In our last installment, Cub Tracks got World Serious, waxed rhapsodic about the possibility of Kris Bryant morphing into a Triple Crown candidate, explored the undercard of the Kyle Schwarber long con, and performed secret rituals. Today, we’re even more serial, as THE WORLD SERIES STARTS TONIGHT. And the Cubs are playing in it!

Holy guano, Batman! It still doesn’t seem real. It probably won’t for months. But IT IS HAPPENING, and it’s happening tonight, and I don’t know about you, but my brains are so much wheatina right now. My heart is going Boom, boom, boom like Peter Gabriel’s in Solsbury Hill, my knees are jelly, and I’ve had to turn my oxygen machine up a couple of notches because I keep forgetting to exhale. I’m a BlackHawks and Bears fan as well as a Cub fan, and their championships are the closest comparison I have, but even those didn’t feel like this.

I think it’s the grind, the sheer length of the seasons, and the number of games in each, and the emotional investment it took to follow the team through all of those years since my grandpa took me to the Home Run Inn that first time when I was four and sat me down in front of the tv set while he talked business with his bookie.

Truth is stranger than fiction — In 1979, my senior year of high school, I wrote a novel in which the Cubs made it to the World Series in 1984 (I have witnesses). That didn’t happen...I’ve updated it a couple of times and have collected a few rejection letters. I was going to self-publish it next spring. This series signals the death of that novel. No more updates. Some of it will get folded into other work. And I couldn’t be happier. There are others where that came from.

Some of the sports pundits wanna lay their truth on you. I’ve collected some of their wisdom for your infotainment purposes. As always * means autoplay on (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

  • NBC Chicago: Bill Murray perfectly sums up how every Cubs Fan felt after NLCS victory [VIDEO].
  • Steve Greenberg (Chicago Sun-Times): Santo, Banks, Harry — they should all be here to see the Cubs now. I suspect that they are.
  • Justin Breen (DNAinfo): Cubs Fans all over the world celebrate trip to World Series. “Fans from Australia to Iceland are sharing their thoughts and pics on Twitter.”
  • Phil Rosenthal (Chicago Tribune): How Chicago, the world — and the Cubs — have changed since 1945. “71 years is a long time to wait.”
  • John Stolnis (numberfire): 2016 World Series Preview: 5 things to know. “...the Cubs' odds of winning the title stand at 63.49%, with the most likely outcome winning in five games, at 19.23%.”
  • ESPN (INSIDER-{$}*): World Series roundtable: Who will win and which player could be the difference? Meat loaf.
  • ESPN*: ESPN's experts make their World Series picks.
  • Rob Arthur (Five Thirty-Eight): Even the data thinks the Cubs may have been cursed. “For two teams with the some of the worst championship luck in all of baseball, this series will offer long-awaited catharsis for one — and even more misery for the other.”
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Thoughts on the Cubs finally realizing a lifelong dream. Living in the present.
  • Brian Wright (The Sports Daily): Potential x-factors for the World Series. “...who are the most likely candidates to step up amid the sport’s grandest stage? Here are three for each side.”
  • Henry Druschel (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Musings on The World Series to come. “There’s no way to know what’s coming next; all we know is that what’s already happened is special.”
  • Sean Sears (Sports Mockery): World Series X-Factors for the Cubs and Indians. Who might affect the course of the games?
  • Anthony Perez (Today’s Knuckleball): Cubs turning sports world on its head. Kicking its lil butt, too.
  • John Arguello (Cubs Den): Patience, Process pays off for Cubs. “The Cubs have written their own narrative.”
  • Jack Magruder (Today’s Knuckleball): The bunt that turned the Cubs offense around. Ben Zobrist. That’s why I featured his picture on the next day’s Cub Tracks.
  • Jon Lester workout day interview. “I don't look at it as the nation looking at me as a starting pitcher and all that stuff. I look at it as we're the Chicago Cubs, and I'm fortunate enough to pitch Game 1 tomorrow, and we're going to try to win that game.”
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): The kids are all right: Lester thinks young Cubs can handle World Series moment. “We know how to handle stuff now,” Willson Contreras said. “Like Joe [Maddon] says, we stay in the moment and slow things down.”
  • John Sickels (Minor League Ball): Prospect Retrospective: Kyle Hendricks, RHP, Chicago Cubs. From 2012: “Grade C but keep an eye on him.”
  • Jamal Collier ( Dexter Fowler Cubs' first African-American in World Series. "That's crazy," Fowler said during World Series media day on Monday. "It's crazy to even think about that, because you look back and you look at your parents, my parents weren't even alive then. It's a lifetime. It's awesome to be the pioneer, the first one."
  • Craig Edwards (Fangraphs): Cubs Should Keep Starting Jason Heyward in the World Series. “...even a compromised Jason Heyward is likely a better option for the Cubs than the rest of the corner-outfield options.”
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times): Kid at the heart of Cubs order: Young veteran Anthony Rizzo sets tone. “He’s a great teammate. And he’s still learning, still maturing,” playoff veteran Miguel Montero said.
  • Anthony Castrovince ( Javier Baez, Francisco Lindor have special baseball connection. “...both were born in Puerto Rico, moved to Florida at a young age and wound up being taken back to back in the draft.”
  • Barry M. Bloom ( Cubs want to make 'grandpa' David Ross proud. “Younger players eager to send clubhouse/fan favorite out a winner.”
  • Eric Longenhagen (Fangraphs): Scouting Kyle Schwarber’s Arizona Fall League appearance. “I think he’d already probably give the Cubs better at-bats than either Jorge Soler or Chris Coghlan...”
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): Kyle Schwarber traveling to Cleveland but status for WS roster still up in air. “I just saw his swing the other day and he hasn't missed a beat. Guess it's like riding a bike for him,” said John Mallee.
  • JJ Stankevitz (CSN Chicago*): Why Cleveland's Mike Napoli was rooting to face the Cubs in the World Series. “...what’s on the line for not only the Indians’ fanbase, but the Cubs’, is why Napoli wanted this to be the matchup in the World Series.”
  • Dan Hayes (CSN Chicago*): Local product and former fan Jason Kipnis has 'zero conflict' extending Cubs' World Series title drought. “His first loves were Ryne Sandberg, Mark Grace and Sammy Sosa.”
  • Joe Maddon workout day interview. “This game is always about players, and if your guys play better than their guys, you win.”
  • Lindsay Berra ( Old school or new school, Maddon's your guy. "Joe does have one foot in both worlds," Kyle Hendricks said.
  • Adam McCalvy, Carrie Muskat ( Playoffs in Cleveland? Chris Bosio's been there. He started Game 5 of the 1995 American League Championship Series for the Mariners against the Indians.
  • Ken Rosenthal (Fox Sports): The amazing story behind the Chicago Cubs' No. 11. “John Sr., a retired Chicago police officer, was a Cubs fan who died on Feb. 13 at the age of 82. The last time he saw his son, shortly before spring training, he said, “You and the Cubs are going to win the city a World Series this year.”
  • DNAinfo: Sox Fans To National Media: This isn't city's 1st World Series in 71 years. Wear it. I remember what Sox fans were like then. I’m not even sorry if they feel left out.
  • Heather Cherone (DNAinfo): Cubs won't offer aldermen World Series Tickets ... and they're furious.
  • Fran Spielman (Chicago Sun-Times): Cubs pull ticket offer to aldermen after ethics flap. “Our focus should be on baseball and this issue has become a complete distraction during one of the most historic runs in Cubs history. We really don’t have time to interpret or explain something that is not our issue,” wrote Cubs spokesman Julian Green.

food for thought.

  • Mindy Weisberger (Live Science): Ancient teeth show early human favored right hand. “90 percent of people today are right-handed, the researchers estimated, compared with 50 percent of individuals in humans' primate relatives.”
  • Efrat Livni (Quartz): Scientists explain how happiness makes us less creative. “...creativity calls on persistence and problem-solving skills, not positivity.”
  • Erica Goode (The New York Times): Why big liars often start out as small ones. The brain appears to adapt to dishonesty.

Thanks for reading. Go Cubs!