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Cub Tracks speaks Frankly

Called shot, feeling crisp, the new Titanic, and other bullets

Cincinnati Reds v Chicago Cubs
Happ-y Days
Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images


Our previous installment bore repetition, but I’ll spare you all the echoes and move on through the chamber with the current roster of bullets, bon mots, and bonbons.

Everybody is of course concerned with the order of the pitching rotation** and the makeup of the post-season roster. I didn’t know that the players wore makeup, but perhaps one needs to look one’s best for all of those pre- and post-game interviews.

Suddenly I feel like having pancakes. The first batter is scheduled for 2:20 p.m. CT for the last game of the regular season. By then I should be able to sneak the margarine back into St. Alphonso’s, if I’m not erroneous. If I am, I’ll just leave the yellow blob in the capable hands of Cleetus Awreetus, who can whisper it into the Grand Wazoo, if I may speak Frankly.

Ah, but let’s don’t fall into the rabbit hole of hot dog puns, for that would spoil the conceptual continuity, especially as we mustered quite a few in our previous exploration of the legendary burnt weeny sandwich, and lettuce not entertain the notion of puns le fromage, for those have been beaten to a poofter’s froth by now.

Instead, in the grand tradition of Tom Waits, who is rumored to have said “I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy”, we’ll leave the drinking to the piano and the extrapolations and recriminations to our panel of experts. As always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Today in Cubs and baseball history:

  • 1903 - In the first World Series game ever played, Pirates' hurler Deacon Phillippe beats Cy Young and the Pilgrims, 7-3, at the Huntington Avenue Grounds in Boston. Pittsburgh right fielder Jimmy Sebring hits the first Fall Classic home run.
  • 1932 - In the fifth inning of Game 3 of the World Series, baseball lore has Babe Ruth pointing to the outfield, predicting that he will hit a home run on the next pitch, before he takes Cubs pitcher Charlie Root deep for the second of his two home runs in New York's 7-5 victory at Wrigley Field. Although no definitive proof exists, the 'Bambino' continued to embellish the account of his 'Called Shot' throughout his lifetime, but the Chicago right-hander who threw the pitch denied the Yankee slugger had ever made the gesture to his dying day.
  • 1933 - Babe Ruth, although he gives up 12 hits and 5 earned runs, goes the distance to beat the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium, 6-5. The 38-year-old Sultan of Swat's performance on the mound, a ploy to attract fans to a meaningless game, will be his last appearance as a pitcher, a position in which the future Hall of Fame slugger will post a 94-46 career record.
  • 1951 - The Giants' 3-1 victory over the Dodgers in the first game of the National League playoffs is the first major-league contest to be televised coast-to-coast. CBS, who obtained rights to the game, transmits the picture from Ebbets Field, but has to get the signal from ABC, who had made previous arrangements with WOR-TV, the New York station which carried Brooklyn's regular season games.
  • 1961 - Breaking the Babe's single-season home run mark, Roger Maris hits his historic 61st homer off Tracy Stallard when the Yankees defeat the Red Sox, 1-0.
  • 1961 - The Wrigley Field on the west coast hosts its last professional baseball game when the Angels, who will play at Dodger Stadium next season, are defeated by Cleveland, 8-5, in front of 9,868 fans at the 36-year-old ballpark, which will be torn down in five years to make room for an eventual public playground and senior center. In addition to being the home for the American League expansion team, the venue housed the PCL's Angels from 1925 through 1957 and served as the location for the 1960 television series Home Run Derby.
  • 1973 - A day after the regular season ends, the Mets, in front of only 1,913 fans at a cold and damp Wrigley Field, beat the Cubs, 6-4, in the first game of a scheduled make-up. The Amazins', who were 11½ games behind and in last place on August 5, posted their 82nd victory to clinch the NL East, the lowest number of wins ever recorded to capture a title.
  • Happy birthday: Bill Bonham, Vance Law, Chuck McElroy, Mark McGwire.

Cubs news and notes:

“Both Jake Arrieta and Jose Quintana have made their final regular-season starts, and the two will pitch in a sim game on Wednesday at Wrigley Field as the Cubs prep for the National League Division Series...” — Carrie Muskat

** I go Hendricks, Quintana, Arrieta, Lester for the first round. I like the idea of Jake being a potential stopper or capper.

  • October confidential: Cubs. “Rival players offer inside look at facing NL Central champs.”
  • Patrick Reddington (Federal Baseball): Washington Nationals’ ace Max Scherzer leaves start vs Pirates with apparent injury...certainly has playoff implications. The Nats called it a ‘hamstring cramp’. But Scherzer had an MRI done.
  • Manny Randhawa ( Before they were postseason bound: Cubs. Capsules of Cubs players.
  • Ryan Davis (FanRag Sports): What flaw will hold Cubs back in playoffs? “The Cubs’ flaw is their bullpen.”
  • Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): Chicago Cubs lineup: Is this a preview for Game One of the NLDS? “This lineup looks an awful lot like something Maddon may trot out there on October 6.”
  • Bruce Miles (Daily Herald {$}): Some clues on Chicago Cubs' NLDS rotation. "We're not ready," Maddon said of announcing the order.
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Why Cubs could bet on Kyle Hendricks in Game 1 vs. Max Scherzer and Nationals: 'Ice in his veins'. “He might be pitching as well as anybody in the National League right now,” Joe Maddon said.
  • Tony Andracki (CSN Chicago*): Kyle Hendricks is off to a better start to his career than Clayton Kershaw and Nolan Ryan. “...his career ERA dipped to 2.94 in 100 career outings (99 starts).”
  • Carrie Muskat, Mark Sheldon ( Jon Lester sharp in tuneup as Cubs blank Reds. “Lester struck out seven and scattered four hits. The left-hander finished the month 5-1...”
  • Tony Andracki (CSN Chicago*): With playoffs looming, is Jon Lester back where he needs to be? "It feels good to be crisp. ... Good to have good command,” Lester said.
  • Tony Andracki (CSN Chicago*): Jose Quintana is living out his dream with the Cubs. Quintana said: "I want three more rounds [of celebration]. I'm so happy and I'm gonna enjoy this moment. I'm living the dream; I'm so excited.”
  • Corey Freedman (Cubs Insider): Hector Rondon looking good heading toward October. “Rondon has put up numbers more like his old self since late August.”
  • Paul Skrbina (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Kris Bryant makes some Cubs history with 150th start. "You can't underestimate how difficult it is to be an every-day player in this league,” said Maddon.
  • Carrie Muskat ( Kyle Schwarber peaking at right time for Cubs. "Schwarber has hit 30 in 400 at-bats. He hits homers -- he can do that," Reds manager Bryan Price said.
  • Tom Musick (Chicago Sun-Times*): Kyle Schwarber heats up just in time for Cubs’ playoff run. “Pretty crazy, isn’t it?” Maddon said.
  • Brendan Miller (Cubs Insider): Whoa, Jason Heyward’s offense might be back. “For the first time as a Cub, Heyward’s offense might actually be trending upwards as his expected metrics match his actual numbers.”
  • Mark Kennedy (ABC News): Pearl Jam and Chicago Cubs combine in film 'Let's Play Two'. “...the worlds of rock and sports tied together...”

Food for thought:

Go ahead, poke holes in that.

Thanks for reading. Cub Tracks will be back Tuesday with a pre-post-season edition.