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Fly the W, Fly the W, Fly the W, and other bullets

Chicago Cubs v St Louis Cardinals
Fly the W!
Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

FLY THE W!

Courtesy rocker234. Well gamethread-word done.

CUBS WIN! THEY’RE IN!

Courtesy of still miss the old barn. Well gamethread-word done.

Two nights ago, Cub Tracks watched nacho average ball game. The Cubs failed to clinch the NL Central title Tuesday night, and so it fell to Wednesday’s children to rectify that lack. John Lackey was up to the task, keeping the team in the game until they could take over, and the rest is recent history. The Cubs walk on rare earth, being one of the few teams to regain the playoffs after winning the World Series. Josh wraps it up here. Al will have full details in his recap.

Clearly I was wrong. 2 games under to 20 games over in half a season is pretty damn good. Couldn’t be happier to be erroneous. I just want to celebrate.

“It's time for the Cubs to party like it's 2016.” -- Carrie Muskat

In moderation. Still a few rungs to climb, but the Cubs are on the ladder.

"I think it's the first time we're in a real pennant race," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. "It's different. There's a lot more intensity. There's a lot more focus on September games than we've been used to."

After the downer of the record at the All-Star break, this has been a wonderful ride. I’m not ready for it to end yet. I dunno about you. I unpacked all of my ‘W’ flags. I’ve broken out all of the shirts that have playoff wins in them, which I packed away, and my reversible jersey and the tie-dye cap I had on for game seven, being just a little ‘stitious, as has been exhaustively chronicled on these here pages, though perhaps in shorter sentences.

"We had a lot of things that were not easy about this year, starting with guys naturally being fatigued, but you also have the fact that every team in our division played well this year," Jason Heyward said. "It's one of those years when you have to do everything right to get it done. We had a lot of growing to do this year."


Compliments to Al & Josh & Sara & Duane & everybody

Thank you for this place and what you do. Don’t always agree with everything, but as JD said the other day, if everybody was on the same side of the boat…

Love these Cubs. TheoJed hire not just talent but people. — patches23.

Thank you again. Much appreciated.

Cubs win — Read all about it. As always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Today in Cubs baseball history:

  • 1897 - Although he gives up 14 runs on 17 hits, Dave Wright of the Chicago Colts (Cubs) wins his first and only major league game. The 21 year-old Dennison, Ohio native is the beneficiary of Chicago's 11-run fifth inning when the club beats the Pirates, 15-14.
  • 1920 - Eight White Sox players are indicted by the grand jury on charges of fixing last season's World Series against the Reds. The eight members involved in the 'Black Sox Scandal' will be cleared of the charges by the court, but on the same day, they will be banned for life from baseball by Kenesaw Mountain Landis, baseball's first commissioner.
  • 1930 - In a 13-11 season-finale victory over the Reds, Cubs outfielder Hack Wilson drives in his 189th and 190th runs of the season to establish a new major-league record. The total will be revised to 191 in 1999 after baseball historian Jerome Holtzman finds a missing RBI in a game played in July of 1930.
  • 1938 - In the ninth inning at Wrigley Field, Gabby Hartnett's 'Homer in the Gloamin' gives the Cubs a 6-5 victory.
  • 1962 - In front of only 595 fans at Wrigley Field, the Cubs (58-101) beat the Mets (39-118) in the first meeting in major league history between two 100-loss teams. The New York expansion team will split the remaining two games in Chicago to finish the season 40-120, establishing the record for the most losses in baseball's modern era.
  • 1983 - At Wrigley Field, the Phillies clinch the National League East championship with a 13-6 victory over Chicago. The clincher is the team's 7000th win in franchise history.
  • 1995 - A fan takes exception when a Cub reliever gives up two-run, pinch-hit home run to James Mouton, giving the Astros an eighth inning 9-7 lead. As the Houston pinch hitter rounds the bases, the 27-year-old spectator runs out of the stands and heads toward the mound, where he is immediately pinned by Randy Myers, who in addition to his pitching prowess is well trained in the martial arts.
  • 1998 - In the first National League playoff since 1980, the Cubs beat the Giants, 5-3, in a one-game showdown to take the National League's wild-card berth. San Francisco makes the game interesting by scoring three runs in the ninth inning in front of a very anxious crowd at Wrigley Field.
  • 2001 - In the first home game at Wrigley since the terrorist attacks on America, Sammy Sosa, after hitting his 59th home run of the season, pulls out a small American flag and waves it as he circles the bases. After scoring and making a curtain call from the dugout, the Cub slugger continues to wave Old Glory.
  • 2003 - Ron Santo, the team's radio color commentator, joins Hall-of-Famers Ernie Banks and Billy Williams, becoming the third player to have his number retired by the Cubs. The nine-time All-Star third baseman, who spent 14 years of his 15-year career with Chicago (1960-73), will have his uniform #10 below Ernie Banks' on the left-field fair pole.

Cubs news and notes:

Jon Lester just toasted John Lackey calling tonight "probably the last regular season start of his career." -- Jesse Rogers

  • Greg Palermo (Fox 2 St Louis): Cardinal fans not happy the Cubs clinched Central title at Busch. “The definition of salt in wound.”
  • Sam Fels (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Don’t let it get old. “You want to know the reasons people hate the Cardinals or the Yankees? Because they’ve made this sort of thing so joyless.”
  • CSN Chicago*: Anthony Rizzo agrees [Video].
  • David Haugh (Chicago Tribune* {$}): After nerve-wracking season, Cubs should make other playoff teams nervous. “All being delayed did was make the Cubs look like they won't be denied.”
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com*): Cubs have mindset to pull off rare WS repeat. “Club targeting '75-76 Reds, who were last NL team to win back-to-back titles.”
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN): Up-and-down road leads Cubs to familiar spot atop NL Central. “...history tells us October baseball was no sure thing.”
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Rotation trepidation for Cubs heading into playoffs this time around. “...a rotation that was the best in baseball last season is their biggest cause for concern this time around.”
  • Tim Goldrick (CSN Chicago*): John Lackey the center of epic toasts. “Haircuts are for retirement.”
  • Zack Moser (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Revisiting Jose Quintana. “The elephant in the room, however, involves the starting pitching.”
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Justin Wilson running out of time. “Last night was just not the time to permit it to work itself out,” Joe Maddon said.
  • Chris Cwik (Big League Stew): Anthony Rizzo responds to 4-year-old Cubs fan who sang song to him. “This song is definitely a billboard top 10,” he wrote.
  • Steve Greenberg (Chicago Sun-Times*): All he does is win: Kris Bryant’s thrill ride is headed for Washington. “...Bryant has hit the ground running in his career and done nothing except get better from there.”
  • Bruce Levine (CBS Chicago*): Kris Bryant appreciates Cubs’ playoff trips, Joe Maddon. “There was a time when making the playoffs was just a pipe dream...”
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com*): Albert Almora Jr aching, but with 'smile on my face'. “Almora woke up Wednesday with a few more aches and pains...”
  • Travis Sawchik (ESPN-Insider {$}): The signature strength of each postseason contender. The defense doesn’t rest.
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): How will Cubs playoff roster break down? Wilson and Lackey in the pen. Tommy La Stella in the mix. I see it.
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): March to NL Central crown just might be Joe Maddon's best work as Cubs manager. “If I thought I learned anything from the two previous times, it’s that it’s tiring,” Maddon said before Tuesday’s game. “It takes a part of you away from you.”
  • Steve Greenberg (Chicago Sun-Times*): Will Joe Maddon drive you nuts? Sure, sometimes — but give him his due. “Love him unconditionally or despite his quirks, but Maddon, 63, is doing legendary things.”
  • Anita Busch (Deadline Hollywood): Shane Abbess to direct ‘Teammate’, movie about Chicago Cubs’ World Series Win. “Die-hard Cubbie fan Bill Murray has been in talks to join the team as manager Joe Maddon but it’s not clear yet whether that will happen.”

Food for thought:

  • Ed Yong (The Atlantic): Earth had life from its infancy. “Canadian rocks that are almost 4 billion years old contain signs that organisms were already around on the young planet.”
  • Elizabeth Pennisi (Science): One of the world’s most popular trees arose near the Arctic Circle. The white oak's ancestor came from the Far North.
  • Laurel Hamers (Science News): This giant marsupial was a seasonal migrant. “...it might have migrated to follow food sources...”

Thanks for reading. Cub Tracks will return Sunday in time for brunch.