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Cub Tracks Can’t Wait

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Is it Friday yet?

Looking forward to it.
Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

In our last star-studded extravaganza, we confounded expectations, measured citywide alcohol consumption according to the Harry-meter, examined the physics of October baseball, and meditated on the personal nature of sports superstition.

This time around, while still avoiding stepping on cracks, we look at the impending postseason through the funhouse mirror. Objects in the mirror are weirder than they appear. Johnny Cueto still looks dangerous.

My ’stitiousness knows no bounds. I went out right after Wednesday’s game and got me some shark meat to feast on Saturday night, while I watch the game with a Giants fan and my ex. I’m telling him it’s swordfish.

Here are some appetizers, for Gameday Eve. As always * means autoplay on (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

October Baseball. High pressure, high intensity, the highest stakes. I'm Ready. #VroomVroom @Officialmetrx #TeamMETRx #sp

A video posted by Addi Russell (@addison_russell) on

Cubs Playoff party @ The Cubby Bear
Party on!

  • Also for Chicagoland locals: ABC 7’s Windy City LIVE is doing an hour-long show today, Thursday, devoted to the Cubs. Hall of Famer Billy Williams will be on the show and there will be a live remote at Harry Caray’s, where fans there will have a chance to win Friday tickets by designing a T-shirt. 1 PM CT.
  • Marwa Eltagouri (Chicago Tribune): Cubs fan to give NLDS ticket to person who donates most to cancer research. Don’t hold the Mayo.
  • Ted Cox (DNAinfo): Wrigley Field's famed foul-line bullpens enter their final innings. No more “Flinch”.
  • Ariel Cheung (DNAinfo): What to expect in Wrigleyville this postseason? No champagne, for one thing. The Cubs may earn it, but those bottles can be bad news.
  • Carrie Muskat ( 3 reasons Cubs will win the World Series. Good reasons too. Check ‘em out.
  • Stephen Cannella (Sports Illustrated): Cubs picked to win World Series on this week's Sports Illustrated cover. This gives my ‘stitiousness a tweak or two...
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): Mets or Giants? “Be careful what you wish for,” Joe Maddon says. Take note of what Joe says, even if he doesn’t take notes.
  • Rick Morrissey (Chicago Sun-Times): Is Joe Maddon’s motivational work done, or is it just beginning? “At this point, that stuff is kind of baked into our personality,’’ general manager Jed Hoyer said.
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune): Numbers tell story of patience paying off for Cubs hitters. "The more opportunities you're going to get, the better off you're going to be," said Anthony Rizzo.
  • Luis Medina (Bleacher Nation): Dexter Fowler sets the tone, and then he does more. Fowler is a helluva player. And he’s a dead ringer for the actor who plays “Cornell Stokes” in the Luke Cage series. I got a lot of giggles imagining Dex playing the part.
  • Phil Rogers ( Cubs unstoppable if Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo heat up. “NL MVP Award favorites could carry North Siders deep into postseason.”
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Better than advertised: How Kris Bryant transformed the Cubs franchise. “For me, it’s never going to be good enough,” Bryant said.
  • Carrie Muskat ( Addison Russell on Joe Maddon's message: Don't overdo it. Miguel Montero agreed. "I don't believe in pressure," he said.
  • Corey Francis (Cubbies Crib): Are Jason Heyward and Addison Russell the playoff X-factor? “...the maturity of Russell and the potential of Heyward may prove key in the playoffs.”
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Jason Heyward reflects on The Decision, Cubs Way and joining baseball’s version of Golden State Warriors. “I get to be myself,” Heyward said.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times): Is Cubs’ strong man Heyward ready for heavy lifting in October? “I’ve always been strong,” he said. “I’ve always been a mentally tough guy.”
  • Ryan Davis (Today’s Knuckleball): Out of left field: What Joe Maddon might do at a key position. “It’s impossible to ever completely know what’s going on in Maddon’s head...”
  • Jared Wyllys (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Hot at the right time, Miguel Montero ready for October. “All the Cubs might need from him in the coming weeks are a few timely hits...”
  • Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): Consistency, excellence, and Jon Lester’s time with the Chicago Cubs. “The last thing left for him to do is take this team all the way.”
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): The Buck Stops Here: Don’t expect Cubs to save closer for saves. “’s the end of the year and everything’s on the line, so you put the ball in the hands of your best pitcher,” said Theo Epstein.
  • Carrie Muskat ( Sim game productive fun for Cubs ahead of NLDS. "We were trying to replicate the intensity of the postseason," Theo Epstein said. "I'm not sure we accomplished that. I sat in the bullpen for a couple innings. That was a blast."
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune): Cubs brass examining favorable matchups to assemble final pieces of roster. The Cubs have until 10 a.m. Friday to submit their 25-man roster.
  • Jim Bowden (ESPN*-Insider {$}): Grading the playoff rotations: How much do injuries hurt Indians, Mets? Only one team gets an ‘A’.
  • Jim Bowden (ESPN*-Insider {$}): Grading the playoff bullpens: O's, Cubs highlight a stellar field. Lots of ‘A’s.
  • Jacob R. Misener (Cubbies Crib): AL Wild Card outcome offered glimpse into hell for Cubs fans. “With Aroldis Chapman at the back of the Chicago Cubs’ bullpen, could a ‘Showalter Moment’ come to fruition with Joe Maddon in the upcoming NLDS?”
  • Chris Sosa (Chicago Tribune): It's 'go time' now: Your A to Z guide to the Cubs postseason. “...the 2016 regular season is history and the Cubs and their fans can focus on wiping away more than a century's worth of frustration.”
  • Adam Nissen (Sports Mockery): A Cub fan’s guide to watching playoff baseball. Drinking for survival.
  • Chris De Luca (Chicago Sun-Times): MLB Network extends olive branch to confused Cubs viewers. Where you can watch Saturday’s game.
  • Russell Carleton (Baseball Prospectus): How much is Theo Epstein worth? “’s not unreasonable to think that the best GM in baseball is worth a win or two more than that 31st guy.”

Food for thought.

Let’s take two Giant steps and I’ll see you Sunday.