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Cub Tracks’ doggone shame

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1984 clinch, retreat to victory, lifetime warranties, and other bullets

Pittsburgh Pirates v Milwaukee Brewers
pennant chase metaphor
Photo by Jeffrey Phelps/Getty Images

CUBS lose in extra innings. Still down to Chris Valaika. Thanks again, Pirates!

Last time through these parts Cub Tracks made like a banana and split. Today, we stuck around to the finish of Saturday’s game despite the urgent need to clean house, which still hasn’t been done as of this writing. Instead I spent the afternoon trying to watch A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS and THE OMEGA MAN simultaneously and making those little biscuit-and-lil-smoky appetizers.

I officially have a beef against Travis Shaw, but we still have meat loaf and the Cubs can take the series today and move on to the other beer garden across the Mississippi and see if they can’t take that series, too, and clinch the division in the process, thereby proving me and any other naysayers wrong and moving to the postseason for the third year in a row.

That ain’t such a terrible prospect. I like the idea of clinching in St. Louis, in front of the Cardinals and their BFIB. Put a little extra mustard on it, guys. Relish the moment. Hot dog!

The wurst that can happen is the Cubs split with the Brewers and go in to Saint Looey with the Cards hot on their tails. The math says that the Cubbies can’t go in behind. The games with the Reds should be a mini-vacation before gearing up for the postseason.

At least that’s the way I see it. I’m not tucking my tail between my legs. YMMV. As always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Today in baseball history:

  • 1916 - At Cleveland's League Park, Marty Kavanaugh hits the first-ever pinch-hit grand slam in baseball history. The infielder's historic homer proves to be the difference as the Indians beat the Red Sox, 5-3.
  • 1926 - The Cardinals clinch their first pennant in the 35-year history of the franchise when they beat the Giants at the Polo Grounds. Billy Southworth's second inning two-run home run off his former team proves to be the difference in St. Louis' 6-4 victory at the Polo Grounds.
  • 1957 - Grounding out, Pirates left-handed first baseman Dee Fondy becomes the last player ever to bat in Ebbets Field when the Dodgers blank the Bucs, 2-0, in the final major league game ever played in Brooklyn.
  • 1969 - In the inaugural season of divisional play, the Mets clinch the first-ever National League East title. Gary Gentry fires a four-hitter, blanking the Cardinals, 6-0, in front of a frenzied Shea Stadium crowd, which will spill onto to the field en masse after the game to celebrate their team's amazing accomplishment.
  • 1971 - In the top of the fourth inning of a losing effort to Philadelphia, Cubs' starter Milt Pappas strikes out the side, throwing just nine pitches. Greg Luzinski, Don Money, and Mike Anderson are the victims of the right-hander's immaculate inning.
  • 1975 - Tom Seaver learns the adage the "third time's the charm" isn't always true when he loses his bid for a no-hitter in the ninth inning for the third time in his career. After striking out Don Kessinger and Rick Monday, rookie outfielder Joe Wallis, playing in his 15th career game, singles to right field for the Cubs' first hit off the Mets' starter in the Wrigley Field contest.
  • 1984 - The Cubs clinch the National League East flag with a 4-2 victory over Pittsburgh at Three Rivers Stadium. Rick Sutcliffe's two-hitter gives the North-siders their first title since 1945.
  • 2001 - Former American major leaguer Tuffy Rhodes ties the Japanese record set by Sadaharu Oh in 1964 when he takes fireballer Daisuke Matsuzaka deep for his 55th home run of the season. The Kintetsu Buffaloes outfielder has five games left to break the record, but opposing pitchers will intentionally walk him to prevent the immortal Oh's record being broken.

Cubs news and notes:

The soon-to-be owner of the Marlins Derek Jeter has indicated he plans to fire several well known members of the team's front office, including MLB Hall of Famers Andre Dawson and Tony Perez (both special assistants), "Mr. Marlin" Jeff Conine, and former manager Jack McKeon who took the team to the World Series. Well, technically, Jeter asked current team president David Samson to do the firing "because Jeter didn’t want to do it". Jeter has also told Samson he won't be retained either when Jeter assumes control of the team. I'm guessing they will all get gift baskets with an autographed Jeter baseball. — North Side Irish (Cubs Den)

Hire the Hawk! Hey Theo!

  • James Neveau (NBC Chicago*): Cubs' Central Division clinching scenarios. “The best case scenario for the Cubs would be if they could finish off Milwaukee on Sunday and then have St. Louis lose their game Sunday against the Pirates.”
  • CSN Chicago*: Kyle Hendricks “It’s been a hell of a series so far.” [VIDEO].
  • John Sickels (Minor League Ball): Chicago Cubs rookie Dillon Maples: From forgotten prospect to the majors in one year. “The difference this year was the addition of an improved slider/cutter to off-set the fastball.”
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): The rise of Justin Wilson could be game-changer for Cubs. Could be if he keeps pitching like he has most recently.
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Wilson isn’t running away from big moments with Cubs: ‘I want the ball’. “I just want to keep getting back out there,” he says.
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Joe Maddon: Davis not to be ‘blamed for defeat’. "He's your best guy," Maddon said of Davis.
  • Bruce Levine (CBS Chicago*): For Cubs, acquiring closer Wade Davis has been best deal of 2017. “Davis has stood up in pressure-cooker moments.”
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): Wade Davis has been a perfect addition to the Cubs. “I love it here,” Davis said. “It’s great.”
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): The Godfather, Anthony Rizzo, lays down new law in Cubs clubhouse. “We got this new thing,” Javier Baez said.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Are they mad? Cubs turn individual anger into team-bonding experience. “There’s times where you get to that boiling point where you just want to kill anything in your way,” Rizzo said.
  • Paul Sullivan (Chicago Tribune* {$}): 'Retreats' help Cubs deal with tense moments like wild games with Brewers. "Like I said, we've come together now," Rizzo said.
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Kris Bryant, patron saint of Generation Launch Angle, isn’t a fan of Sabermetrics and here’s why. “...some of it takes the joy and stuff out of the game and why you started to play.”
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Maddon: Jon Jay not bothered by two-strike counts. “He does not cave in, he's able to move the ball. That's the throwback component of him that I really appreciate, which is how he works at-bats," Maddon said.
  • Fox Sports: Defending champion Cubs talk expectations and gratitude [VIDEO].
  • Brendan Miller (Cubs Insider): Cubs have MLB’s best offense in second half, and they’re getting better. “...crazy stuff happens all the time in baseball.”
  • Russell Dorsey (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Lineups and post-season success. “Maddon is going to have to trust one of his young players this postseason.”
  • Todd Johnson (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): The Cubs have a new type of farmhand coming in 2018. “The Cubs are also banking on their own developmental system...”
  • Dan Santoromita (CSN Chicago*): Carlos Zambrano on his messy exit from Cubs: 'It was my fault’. "I said, you know what, it was me," Zambrano said. "It was my fault the way I got off of the Cubs. It was my fault, not the Cubs' fault.”

Food for thought:

  • Kelly Servick (Science): Scientists grow bullish on pig-to-human transplants. “...researchers are far from being able to offer patients an organ with a lifetime warranty.”
  • Rachel Feltman (Popular Science): Giant ancient frogs might have snacked on baby dinosaurs. Beelzebufo ampinga had some fearsome jaws. Hell, the name sounds like a Bond villain.
  • Ramin Skibba (Quartz): Scientists searching for alien life are starting to consider some weird biological possibilities. “The Universe is a really big place. Chances are, if we can imagine it, it’s probably out there on a planet somewhere. The question is, will we be able to find it?” Said Morgan Cable of JPL.

Thanks for reading. Cub Tracks will return Tuesday with more items for your infotainment needs.