It’s the end of the regular season and the end of the Cubs’ season.
But we have other sad news to deal with first. My wife wouldn’t be able to tell you who Tim Wakefield was, but when I told her “He was the pitcher on the original ‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’ who wouldn’t get a manicure because he was a knuckleballer,” she knew exactly who he was. (Wakefield did go in for all the other makeover stuff.)
- Former Red Sox and Pirates right-hander Tim Wakefield passed away from brain cancer at 57. Wakefield was one of the last great knuckleballers, which seems to be a dying art.
- The Red Sox paid tribute to Wakefield on the final game of the season.
- John Tomase remembers the connection Wakefield had with the city of Boston.
- Steve Buckley writes that Wakefield was the “Pride of the Red Sox” and how Boston never lost confidence in him. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- On the occasion of Wakefield’s passing, Mariners’ pitcher George Kirby threw a knuckleball in a game for the first time. In truth, Kirby has been working on a knuckler for a while and was planning to try it out in a meaningless game. But while the game didn’t matter in the standings, throwing a knuckleball was far from meaningless. And he got a swinging strike out of it.
- Royals pitcher Zack Greinke got a win and a standing ovation in what might be his final game after a 20-year career.
- Shortstop Brandon Crawford, the last remaining Giant from their World Championship teams, saluted the fans after his final game as a Giant. He’s unsure if he’s going to retire or not.
- Not before the fans saluted him.
What. A. Moment.— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) October 1, 2023
Brandon Crawford leaves the field to another standing ovation at Oracle Park in what could be his Giants finale pic.twitter.com/KnUzzdMsyr
- Tigers DH Miguel Cabrera had an “emotional” last game before retirement.
- Liz Roscher writes that Cabrera will be remembered for his big bat on the field and his big personality off the field. Or “Miggy being Miggy.”
- Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright got a puppy from the team on his retirement. Apparently he had promised his kids they could get a dog when he retired.
- We don’t know what the future holds for Reds first baseman Joey Votto, and he says he doesn’t know either. We do know he will be a free agent this winter. But in what could be his last game with the Reds, Votto got ejected. Votto apologized to the fans who wanted to see him play one last game.
- Guardians manager Terry Francona looks back at the season and looks forward to retirement on the final day.
- Mets manager Buck Showalter was fired on the final day of the season.
- Anthony DiComo has several candidates for the new Mets manager.
- R.J. Anderson has five candidates for the Amazin’s.
- Maria Guardado has six candidates for the vacant Giants managerial position.
- When Dodgers manager Dave Roberts met Giants interim manager Kai Correa to exchange lineups, it was the first time in major league history two managers of Asian descent faced off on the field.
- Mike Axisa has the winners and losers from the regular season’s final weekend.
- What was the impact of the new rules on baseball this year?
- When I was a kid, these things were really important to me, probably because the Cubs weren’t going to the playoffs. But here are your 2023 season statistical leaders.
- Were a few dozen links in and we haven’t even gotten to the postseason. Here’s the case for each team in the playoffs to win the World Series.
- Bob Nightengale picks the Brewers to win it all. Were I a Brewers fan, this would not please me at all.
- Jeff Passan gives a breakdown of every playoff team and his picks for the winner of every playoff series. (ESPN+ sub. req.) Spoiler alert: he goes with Braves over Rays.
- Zach Crizer gives a power ranking of each team in the postseason.
- Anthony Castrovince ranks the lineups and the pitching staffs of all 12 playoff teams.
- If you don’t know which team to cheer for in the playoffs, Will Leitch has some suggestions.
- The most important player on each playoff team.
- Hannah Keyser writes that the Texas Rangers can be proud of their season, even if they did fall short to the Astros for the AL West title.
- Three teams that lost 100 games in 2021 made the playoffs this year. In fact, the Pirates were the only 2021 100-loss team that didn’t make the playoffs this year.
- Orioles closer Felix Bautista will undergo Tommy John surgery. He will miss the playoffs and probably all of next season.
- Bradford Doolittle has the biggest off-season question for every team that did not make the playoffs. (ESPN+ sub. req.)
- Alden Gonzalez breaks down the numbers from the Padres lost season. (ESPN+ sub. req.)
- Yankees lefty Carlos Rodón admitted that he turned his back on Yankees pitching coach Matt Blake during a mound visit. Rodón called his behavior “really embarrassing.”
- Dan Szymborski writes that Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. is a lot cooler than his 40-70 statistics.
- Acuña was second to Shohei Ohtani in jersey sales in 2023. Third place was Miles Mastrobuoni, believe it or not. OK, don’t believe it because that’s not true.
- R.J. Anderson has the top 25 free agents heading into this winter.
- Melissa Lockard has a preview of the Arizona Fall League, which starts today. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- Wearing the jersey of the Expos—the team that drafted him in the 18th round in 1995—NFL legend Tom Brady spoke about his love of collecting baseball cards.
- And finally, the Phillies refused to allow a fan to bring his “emotional support alligator” into Citizens Bank Park. Gotta tell ya, I’m on the side of the Phillies on this one.
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster.