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Cub Tracks warms up

Eudaimonia, social media doesn’t count, fidget spinners in space, and other bullets

MLB: NLCS-Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers
It was gonna happen sooner or later
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Cub Tracks wanted to get even with the Dodgers. It didn’t happen. Instead, the Cubs look to win a game tonight and even up tomorrow. They can do it, too. I still believe, and will keep believing until it’s all over.

I understood perfectly when John Lackey was brought in. I even agreed with the move, cuz I knew it was inevitable. John’s a starter, and was there to log some innings, just in case.

To me, the problem was not scoring Javier Baez from third with one out. I worried about that for the rest of the game. Hell, I hallucinated or waking-dreamed him scoring, and for an inning or so, until checking the box score, I was wondering why the Cubs had no runs on the board. Great allergy meds. Highly recommended. So was the gumbo.

I’ve given up on superstitiously chowing Chicago food. Doesn’t do any good. I’ll wear a brand-new t-shirt today. It isn’t even a Cubs shirt. It has Charlie Brown looking forlornly down at a baseball on the ground.

Reverse psychology for the gods of baseball? Something wonky like that. Cuz the Cubs are gonna need something wonky to fall their way, one of those new-fangled Cubbie occurrences where the ball falls their way instead of the other.

The writers are mostly negative, but some have hope. Read all about it — as always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Today in baseball history:

  • 1960 - At the Sheraton Blackstone Hotel in Chicago, the National League owners vote to admit Houston and New York, making it the first structural change in the Senior Circuit since the turn of the century. The New York franchise, thanks to the efforts of prominent attorney William A Shea, is awarded to a group headed by Joan Payson, and Judge Roy Hofheintz is one of five owners of the new club in Texas.
  • 1971 - Behind Steve Blass's complete-game four-hitter, the Pirates beat Mike Cuellar and the heavily favored Orioles to capture their fourth world championship in franchise history. Immediately after the Game 7 victory, rookie hurler Bruce Kison and his champagne-soaked best man Bob Moose are whisked away from Memorial Stadium by helicopter to a waiting Lear Jet to attend the 21-year-old's 6:30 pm wedding in Pittsburgh, in which the groom will arrive 33 minutes late.
  • 1978 - The Yankees capture their twenty-second and second consecutive World Championship, beating Los Angeles with a 7-2 victory at Dodger Stadium. Playoff hero Bucky Dent, who collects ten hits in the six-game series, is named the the Fall Classic's Most Valuable Player.
  • 1979 - In Game 7, Willie Stargell goes 3-for-4, including his third home run in the Series, propelling the Pirates to a 4-1 victory over the Orioles. The Bucs overcame a three games-to-one deficit to win their fifth World Championship in franchise history.
  • 1989 - As the Giants and A's get ready to play Game 3 of the World Series, the Bay Area is hit by the massive 6.9-magnitude Loma Prieta earthquake, which will be responsible for 63 deaths. The Candlestick Park contest is quickly postponed by Commissioner Fay Vincent, and he wisely orders the evacuation of the ballpark.
  • 1996 - The Atlanta Braves had the biggest blowout in postseason history, beating St. Louis, 15-0, in Game 7 of the NL championship series to complete a comeback from a 3-1 deficit. The Cardinals became the only club to blow a 3-1 edge three times in the postseason.

Cubs news and notes:

"I know our guys -- of course, we wanted to win one of those two," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Monday. "But we're coming back, and we won't be fazed in the sense that … this is a dire situation, [that] we can't do this kind of thing.

"We'll be fine. We've had some tough losses before that we were able to bounce back from, and that's what I'm talking about. … I had the privilege of being in the clubhouse and in the dugout with these guys every day. I know what they're like. I know what they feel like. I know how they respond to situations, and we'll do the same thing tomorrow." — Doug Miller (

“We’ll be back in Chicago. Our fans will be there. They’ll be loud, and we’ll have a lot of support and before you know it, this series will be tied.” — Carl Edwards, Jr.

  • Mary Craig (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): The 1969 Cubs and how to be happy. “The Ancient Greeks understood it by the term eudaimonia...”
  • Anthony DiComo (*): 3 reasons Cubs can come back in NLCS. “Logic dictates they're almost guaranteed to be better at it in Games 3 through 5.”
  • Phil Rogers ( Maddon: 'Keep believing' in Cubs' comeback. “Chicago's 2017 postseason struggles 'eerily similar' to experience in '16.”
  • Rick Morrissey (Chicago Sun-Times*): Risky to count out struggling Cubs, their befuddled manager. “We’ve done it before,’’ Addison Russell said. “We’ve been here before.’’
  • Chris Kuc (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Joe Maddon on criticism: 'Social media doesn't count at all'. He said “social media, the moment I start worrying about that I really need to retire.”
  • Dave Cameron (Fangraphs): Joe Maddon had a bad night. “Maddon is taking a lot of heat for going to Lackey to face the middle of the Dodgers order in a situation where a run ends the game.”
  • Zack Moser (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): On squandering slight advantages in the playoffs. “ between two evenly matched teams in October turn on the smallest mistakes...”
  • Bruce Miles (Daily Herald {$}): Chicago Cubs know this year's Dodgers are different. “The reminders are everywhere, and they are stark.”
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): ‘End the Cubs’? That could take more than a single NLCS elimination. “Spotted in the Dodgers’ clubhouse as the National League Championship Series opened Saturday was a motivational message about seizing opportunities scrawled on a grease board...”
  • Andy McCullough (LA Times): The Dodgers' bullpen has the confidence to be dangerous for the Cubs. As we’ve seen.
  • Anthony DiComo (*): Cubs counting on reliable Kyle Hendricks at Wrigley. “...he is quickly becoming one of the game's most accomplished postseason arms.”
  • Eno Sarris (Fangraphs): About that pitch to Justin Turner. “Turner got better at fastballs.”
  • Brendan Miller (Cubs Insider): Going with Lackey wasn’t a good call, but Cubs were hosed either way. “There’s no way around the ugly truth that the starter-turned-reliever was going to face some iteration of Justin Turner, Cody Bellinger, and so on in that baseball game.”
  • Tony Andracki (NBC Sports Chicago*): Dry humping and second-guessing: Joe Maddon defends his Game 2 bullpen decisions. "Wade was not warming up to come in that game," Maddon said.
  • Anthony DiComo (*): Maddon explains why Cubs turned to John Lackey. "I'm just betting on his experience right there as much as anything," Maddon said. "I really thought that John would not be affected by the moment."
  • Sam Miller (ESPN*): When it comes to closers, when will managers learn? “...the stereotype is that fans think they're smarter than the manager and smarter than the GM...”
  • David Haugh (Chicago Tribune* {$}): With Cubs hitters in a rut, it's time for Joe Maddon to shake up lineup. “Third-base coach Gary Jones likely has developed shoulder stiffness because it has been so long since he had to worry about waving runners home.”
  • Patrick Mooney (NBC Sports Chicago*): Cubs need Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo to produce or else their reign as defending World Series champs is over. “Everybody in the lineup, they feel the same way: When you don’t produce, it’s like you let the team down,” Bryant said.
  • Russell Dorsey (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Cubs need the best of Bryzzo if they hope to advance to World Series. “The Cubs really need more offensive production...”
  • Carrie Muskat (*): Maddon, Cubs recognize bats need to do more. "We've got to win, that's the bottom line," Rizzo said. "We've got to win four games. They've got to win two. It's best of seven."
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Will El Mago’s disappearing act cause Maddon to close curtain? “...his overzealous approach often yields results that are anything but entertaining.”
  • Patrick Mooney (NBC Sports Chicago*): Why Cubs won't turn their back on Javier Baez. “The backup quarterback’s always the most popular guy in the building,” Maddon said.
  • Steve Greenberg (Chicago Sun-Times*): Cubs fans want Albert Almora Jr.? This series, anyway, they’ve got him. “I’m a pretty confident player,” he said. “I trust my abilities. I trust what I can do on the baseball field. Whenever I’m given a chance to play, I’m really not trying to do too much. I’m just trying to help the team.”

Food for thought:

  • Emily Conover (Science News): Neutron star collision showers the universe with a wealth of discoveries. “Detection of gravitational waves from smashup helps reveal where heavy elements are created.”
  • Elizabeth Pennisi (Science): Why wolves are better team players than dogs. “Dogs may be social butterflies, but wolves are top dog when it comes to working together as a team.”
  • Signe Dean (Science Alert): Here's what happens when astronauts use a fidget spinner in space. “...watching it spin in microgravity is enough to make the toy look cool again.”

As always, thanks for reading. Cub Tracks will return Thursday.