This past Thursday, we mused about Tripling the Pleasure and prepared to head to Los Angeles for a set against the Dodgers, a team for which I admit I harbor a bit of disfavor. I inherited some of it from my father and his father, who liked Duke Snider (late of Flatbush) and the team’s announcer, and were upset when the team moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1958 (the rest is Garvey-hate).
They didn’t like the Dodjahs that much, but they felt kinship because of the history of the Bums, who had lost to the Yankees more times than they cared to count (they did win once, in 1955).
They held out hope, through thin and thin, that the Cubs would fare in like fashion. It didn’t happen for them. Grandpa passed before the Cubs’ 1969 collapse. Pop passed during the 1999 season — at least he got to see the Cubs in the playoffs a few times. I still have his favorite jersey in my closet, in a dry-cleaning bag. It’s a Sammy Sosa special, one of those with the red half-sleeves and the number in white on the back. I bring it out on game days sometimes.
Baseball is a game where every pitch travels with the weight of history behind it. The pageant is rich and varied and is available in the voluminous lore of the game and in the memories of fans, all of whom have unique perspectives, some passed on through generations.
We are privileged indeed to behold such history unfolding, regardless of the outcome, even if the Series doesn’t happen this year.
Today, Vin Scully broadcasts his last Cubs game. I plan to watch the L.A. feed. There may never be another like him. (If you’re in the Chicago market you’ll hear Vin’s audio in the third inning on CSN Chicago.)
We can still get meatloaf for lunch today. While we’re all here waiting for the game to start, here are some nuggets to chew on. As always * means autoplay on (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).
New uniform idea? Joe Maddon revealed on Saturday that players can wear them at any time, per Carrie Muskat.
"These are always acceptable," Maddon said. "You can wear a onesie whenever you want."
- Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Cubs pay their respects to Scully at Dodger Stadium. “You’re ascending into the clouds to meet Mr. Scully,” Maddon said.
- Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): David Ross, Maddon enjoy Scully's company in LA. The grandfathers of summer got a little sentimental.
- Rick Kogan (Chicago Tribune): Get to know your Wrigley beer slinger. “Justin Peters has served beer at Wrigley Field for 17 years, but he does plenty that might surprise you when he’s not climbing the stairs of the left field grandstands.”
- Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): Cub fans are everywhere and will go anywhere. Cub fans boost attendance anywhere the Cubs play.
- Bill Savage (ESPN): The View From Section 416: Cubs fans taking over MLB's ballparks. “Cubs fans are never lonely on the road.”
- Burt Constable (Daily Herald): How Cubs fans celebrated a century before Twitter. Cubs fan Bruce Reinger of Mount Prospect has hand-drawn postcards.
- Adam Nissen (Sports Mockery): Steve Stone has a Harry Caray moment during last night’s game. I’d drink too, if I had to watch that team play all the time.
- Jacquie Boatman (Kane County Cougars): Former Cougar, Rob Zastryzny, becomes 150th player in team history to make MLB debut. Willson Contreras and Felix Pena are also alumni.
- John Sickels (Minor League Ball): Chicago Cubs Top 20 2016 pre-season prospects in review.
- Jesse Rogers (ESPN): Playoff preview? Joe Maddon downplays Cubs-Dodgers series. Nothing’s decided yet.
- Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Mike Montgomery takes pride in keeping Cubs in game. "In my mind, that was a win to keep it close," Montgomery said.
- Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): How Mike Montgomery fits into big-picture plans for Cubs. “I think he is a major-league starter, Joe Maddon said.
- Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Set for onesie trip, Jake Arrieta has no-no flashbacks. "Just standing here -- it was the same locker," he said in the visitors' clubhouse on Saturday.
- Cat Garcia (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Jake Arrieta in 2016 is just being human. He’s still a dominant force. Just not as dominant.
- Adam Nissen (Sports Mockery): Jake Arrieta gives Jon Lester an unusual gift before his next start in Los Angeles. Fear the mustache.
- David Golobiewski (Today’s Knuckleball): Infographic: A deeper look at Kyle Hendricks. More than meets the eye.
- Bruce Miles (Daily Herald): 3 Chicago Cubs pitchers battling for NL Cy Young honor. Arrieta, Lester and Hendricks are in the mix.
- Billy Witz (The NY Times): Cubs Fans root for Aroldis Chapman while deploring his history. “It’s a moral dilemma,” Caitlin Swieca said.
- Jesse Rogers (ESPN): Cubs pitchers on pace for September return. John Lackey, Hector Rondon, and Pedro Strop all are on pace to come off the disabled list before the postseason.
- Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune): Cubs' onesie trip might not be so comfy. Maddon didn’t realize that Sunday was a day game.
- Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Kris Bryant inspired by 'great teammate' Jason Heyward. “That's him -- he's a winner,” Joe Maddon said about Heyward and his consistent efforts.
- Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune): Kris Bryant is on a record-setting pace. He could catch or pass DiMaggio, even.
- Jesse Rogers (ESPN): Cooperstown Cub? Kris Bryant's career is off to a Hall of Fame start. “We knew he was going to be special by the way the ball came off his bat,” Miguel Montero said.
- Jeff Sullivan (Fangraphs): The one problem with Kris Bryant’s MVP case. Clutching at straws.
- Steve Greenberg (Chicago Sun-Times*): Andre Dawson: ‘Flip a coin’ on Bryant or Rizzo for MVP. “The way the 1987 N.L. MVP sees it, neither Cubs star has established an edge over the other yet.”
- Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): Javier Baez’ best position is wherever they’re going to hit the ball. “Javy Baez really has become Maddon’s Ben Zobrist.”
- (CSN Chicago*): Heyward: “It Felt good to get a hit”. [VIDEO]
- Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Could John Andreoli be the ‘Speed Guy’ Joe Maddon Wants in September? Andreoli might fit the Herb Washington part.
- Tim Huwe (The Zygote 50): The case for and against John Andreoli. Huwe sees him as next year’s Matt Szczur.
- Quinn Allen (Cubbies Crib): The Cubs are built to play for a World Series title. “The experience they had last year in the playoffs will play a vital role in October baseball this year.”
- Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Quantifying Hope: Cubs Looking to win 100 Games for first time in 81 years. Doesn’t happen often. Only good until October 3.
- Todd Sabin (isportsweb): Are the Chicago Cubs built only for warm weather? They have Soler cooties? Wut?
- The Babylon Bee: Hell prepares for Deep Freeze ahead of possible Chicago Cubs World Series run. “...it’s bad news for the underworld...”
- Bruce Levine (CSB Sports): Larry Bowa: Cubs should win World Series this season. “If nothing weird happens and they are injury free, they should win,” he said.
- Tim Huwe (The Zygote 50): September 2016 and kingmaking. Uneasy rider wears the crown.
Food for thought:
- Bryan Gardiner (Wired): The science of waiting... and waiting... for your page to load. “Our sense of time is surprisingly easy to manipulate,” says Stanford neuroscientist David Eagleman.
- Andrew Griffin (Independent): ‘Ghost galaxy’ made of mysterious dark matter discovered by scientists. Nobody knows how such a strange, invisible but huge thing could have formed.
- Corey Mueller (Popular Science): Scientists want to bring a bird back from extinction. The Great Auk last into the 19th century. The article has a list of other possible candidates. I vote for passenger pigeons. They were still around the last time the Cubs won the World Series.
See you Tuesday, Aunt Petunia. And now, back to your regularly-scheduled commercial...