This just in — the Chicago Cubs are awesome.
Last time around, Cub Tracks couldn’t ‘even’. Then the Cubs lost the first game of the World Series, the strike zone appeared to have variable parameters, emotional investments paid little dividend for the Chicago faithful, and the focus turned to game two and a split on the road.
I don’t know about you, but I was more disappointed than discouraged by the results of the first contest. The little group I was watching the game with agreed that it looked and felt like the first Clayton Kershaw game, and we were pleased by the amount of full counts the Cubs’ hitters were piling up, as we are all of the opinion that the longer series favors the Cubs’ deeper team. Steve Greenberg had it right, I think.
Maybe the Cubs were just not adjusted to the proper heighth, right? That must be it, eh, John Schmoltz?
Last night’s contest started well, and the middle part was kinda good, too. In an ‘Erie’ sort of coincidence, it ended well, leading to a series tie and a plethora of useful news. We’ll skip that last part, and offer a selection of the latest and greatest hot takes and mistakes by the lake instead. Cub Tracks has your quotes and your jokes and the postgame notes. We have middle-of-the-order magic and Fear-the-Beard mastery. You’ll love ESPN’s version of ‘balanced coverage’. We even have a billy goat item.
As always * means autoplay on (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome). Now, for the greatest show on ‘Schmearth’ — (those ‘Sonic’ commercials are killer, and they have a Chicago connection-thank you, TJ Jagodowski):
Crystal Ball Dept:
- John Sickels (Minor League Ball): Crystal Ball: Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs. “In Baez' case the big question is how much his aggressive approach will hold him back.”
- John Sickels (Minor League Ball): Crystal Ball: Kyle Schwarber, Chicago Cubs. Career projections.
- John Sickels (Minor League Ball): Crystal Ball: Addison Russell, Chicago Cubs. Cool series.
The Sky is Falling.
- Jayson Stark (ESPN*): Why the Cubs are in more trouble than you might think. They don’t agree.
- Bradford Doolittle (ESPN*): Why Cubs' formula won't work against the Indians. Crystal ball fail.
- Andrew Marchand (ESPN): Could Corey Kluber's Game 1 dominance spell doom for Cubs? Oh my stars and garters. Guy ‘Beasts’ once and it’s all over.
- Chad Yoder (Chicago Tribune): Wrigleyville undergoing dramatic transformation. It isn’t all the Ricketts’ doing, either.
- James Neveau (NBC Chicago): Homeowner puts everyone's Halloween decorations to shame with incredible 'Go Cubs Go' light show. Paul and Sabrina Glozeris made the display.
- Alicia Fabbre (Chicago Tribune): How did he do that? Suburban man paints giant Cubs logo on lawn. Angelo Imbrogno is showcasing Cubs colors on his front lawn to celebrate the Chicago Cubs' appearance in the World Series.
- Fran Spielman (Chicago Sun-Times): Aldermen unleash their anger about Cubs yanking ticket offer. Oh wah, wah snif.
- Maureen O’Donnell (Chicago Sun-Times): Scattering ashes at Wrigley a no-no; but some do it anyway. Good for them.
- David Shaper (NPR): Cubs fans decorate grave sites of loved ones across Chicago area. “At Bohemian National Cemetery on the city's northwest side, there is a "Cubs Fans Forever" wall...”
- Tim Baffoe (CBS Chicago*): Leave Steve Bartman alone. “...he’s very much intentionally out of sight.”
- Don Hayner (Chicago Sun-Times): His family’s connection to the Cubs? Naming the team. Fred A. Hayner was his grandfather, a Chicago reporter.
- Mitch Dudek (Chicago Sun-Times): Slugger Lou Boudreau’s family can only wonder: Cubs or Indians? The Good Kid’s kids are in disagreement. Lou himself might have been conflicted. He woulda loved it though.
- Kim Janssen (Chicago Tribune): Has the Cubs' billy goat hex been lifted? Bill Sianis says no. "The curse is still in effect," Sianis told Chicago Inc. before Game 2 on Wednesday. "They have to win it all." Then let’s let that happen. The sooner the better. Let it be already.
- Rick Telander (Chicago Sun-Times): Remind yourself Cubs made it, losers can become winners. And still be humble and lovable, Sweet Polly Purebred.
- Tim Baffoe (CBS Chicago*): Everything Cubs Is Fine, 3.0. “...I’m here to provide your fistful of happy pills.” Gimme a red and a blue.
- Rich Cohen (New York Times): The Cubs reach the Promised Land. Now what? It’s not enough to part the Red Sea and build the bridge over troubled water. Now you have to drive crosstown traffic too. Put your hand in the hand.
- Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times): ‘Hammerin’ KB’ wins NL Hank Aaron Award. Really, Gordon? If that nick has a ring to it, it’s a bathtub ring. Let’s retire that now.
- Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune*): Cubs' Kris Bryant wins Hank Aaron Award. “...the first of several individual awards.” Indeed.
- Robert Reed (Chicago Tribune): How Cubs divvy up playoff spoils is a glimpse behind the curtain. “Last year, the players' pool was a record $69.8 million, divided by teams that competed in the postseason, including the Cubs, according to MLB.”
- Phil Thompson (Chicago Tribune): Trevor Bauer gets mini drone gift from savage Cubs fan. “Maybe "chop a finger" is the well-wish equivalent of "break a leg" in show business.” Heh. I love it.
- Joan Niesen (Sports Illustrated*): Tag, you're it: Javier Baez breaks out as Cubs' unexpected star in October. “Fun to watch.”
- Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): Joe Maddon, benched outfielder Jason Heyward met before Game 1. “He's a very good baseball player and a big part of our future,” Maddon said, in part. He squared the ball up good in the seventh.
- Marly Rivera (ESPN): From the Bronx to the Fall Classic, Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller take different paths to postseason success. “Miller and Chapman are now the biggest weapons in their respective bullpens as the franchises seek their first World Series titles in forever.”
- Andrew Marchand (ESPN): Indians plan to stick with Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, Josh Tomlin. What else are they gonna do? Wild Thing isn’t an option.
- ESPN: Indians fan gives up plane seat so Kenny Lofton makes World Series. Ken Kostal says he ‘didn’t think twice’ about it.
- ESPN: Athletics claim pitcher Giovanni Soto off waivers from Cubs.
- (MLB.com): Len Kasper on High Heat [VIDEO].
- Aldo Soto (Sports Mockery): Mike Leach goes on epic rant ripping Cubs Fans. Great stuff. I didn’t know who Mike Leach was before that. Who is he again?
Two years ago I beat Corey Kluber 1-0....Today, I walked my 2 pugs while wearing a "pug life" t-shirt. Life comes at you fast.— dan haren (@ithrow88) October 26, 2016
- Esther J. Cepeda (Washington Post via Salt Lake Tribune): At long last, the Cubs deliver bliss to their eternal fans. “...the one thing he wished he could live to see was the Cubs winning the World Series.”
- Megan McCluskey (TIME): Man predicts Chicago Cubs will win the 2016 World Series in 1993 Yearbook quote. Holy Mackeral!
- Kevin Helleker (Wall Street Journal): The Chicago Cubs fans who can’t bear to watch. “It is a neurosis common among sports fans.” More than a little ‘stitious. Scary.
- Oliver Roeder (Five Thirty-Eight): A Cubs Fan ponders if he even wants the Cubs to win. “If the Cubs had won it when I was, say, 3 years old, the rest of my fandom wouldn’t have been imbued with a greater, Sisyphean meaning.”
- Mark Simon (ESPN): Mike Montgomery, Willson Contreras the hidden stars of Game 2. Both gentlemen acquitted themselves well.
- David Schoenfield (ESPN*): What we learned: Schwarber becomes a huge threat in Cubs' lineup. “We crown a champion, but it's how we get there that creates the stories we remember and tell our kids.”
- ESPN*: Ben Zobrist postgame comments [AUDIO].
- ESPN* Kyle Schwarber postgame remarks [AUDIO].
- AP (via ESPN): MLB commissioner Rob Manfred hopeful of labor deal by Dec. 1.
- Adam Nissen (Sports Mockery): Cubs Twitter hilariously trolls LeBron James during Game 2. And Frank Kaminsky, to boot.
- Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Kyle Schwarber proving activation more than gimmick. Clearly.
- Phil Stacy (The Salem News): Beverly's Leathersich rooting for his Cubs while looking forward to a healthy 2017. Jack Leathersich underwent Tommy John surgery.
- Ariel Cheung and Dong Jin Oh (DNAinfo): It'll Cost $250 to watch Cubs on TV at some Wrigleyville bars this weekend. That’s crazy. I believe it, though. Holy helium.
- Bob Hille (The Sporting News): Steve Bartman still a Cubs fan, cheering for Chicago in 2016 World Series. They interview a family friend briefly.
Food for thought.
- Emily Conover (Science News): ‘Time crystal’ created in lab. “Time crystals take an important unifying concept in physics — the idea of symmetry breaking — and extend it to time.”
- Andrew Griffin (Independent.uk): Strange messages coming from the stars are ‘probably’ from aliens, scientists say. “'It is too early to unequivocally attribute these purported signals to the activities of extraterrestrial civilizations,' a group of scientists looking for aliens have warned – but the signals are encouraging.”
- Rinze Benedictus, Frank Miedema, Mark W. J. Ferguson (Nature): Fewer numbers, better science. “Scientific quality is hard to define, and numbers are easy to look at. But bibliometrics are warping science — encouraging quantity over quality.”
Thanks for reading. Are you ready for the World Series at Wrigley Field? I might jump through the TV.