Tag Archives: baseball

Opening Day: For Love of the Game

The long winter of our discontent has finally come to an end with the start of the 2017 Major League Baseball season.

Sunday marks the “official” TV start of the season with three games, the NY Yankees v. Tampa Bay Rays, San Francisco Giants v. Arizona Diamondbacks, and the defending World Champion Chicago Cubs v. St. Louis Cardinals.

World Champion Chicago Cubs . . . I waited a lifetime to be able to say that!

Monday is the traditional Opening Day, otherwise known as the most beautiful phrase in the English language, with a full slate of games scheduled.

My 2016 Minnesota Twins were the worst team that Minnesota has ever witnessed in 56 seasons of Major League Baseball, and the worst team in Major League Baseball with only 59 wins. At least they get some high round draft picks. The Chicago Cubs made up for my misery last season.

According to Bleacher Report predictions for the 2017 season, this season’s division winners should not be much different from last season: AL East: Boston Red Sox, AL Central: Cleveland Indians, AL West: Houston Astros, NL East: Washington Nationals, NL Central: Chicago Cubs, NL West: San Francisco Giants.

You know what they say about predictions: this is why we play the game. We’ll see who is still standing at the end of 162 games come October when baseball’s “second season” playoffs begin.

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Chicago Cubs – 2016 World Series Champions

The Chicago Cubs started out strong in Game 7 with a lead off homerun, but then there were the errors and crazy plays that had cursed the Cubs during late innings in the past. A 3 run lead was erased in the 8th inning and long suffering Cubs fans no doubt felt the angst in the pit of their stomach, “here we go again.”

harrycarreyAnd then the rains came. A rain delay in Game 7 after nine innings, the wait for a championship would be a little longer.

I was watching the game with friends and reminded them that this was just like the conclusion of The Natural when a storm arrives in the 9th inning and Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) hits a walk-off homerun into the light standards in a shower of sparks.

Nothing quite that dramatic. When play resumed the Cubs bats came alive and they scored 2 runs in the top of the 10th inning, leaving the bases loaded. The Cubs surrendered a run in the bottom of the 1oth, but managed to get the final out. The longest championship drought in sports was over.

The Chicago Cubs won their first World Series title since 1908, beating the Cleveland Indians 8–7 in 10 innings to win the series in seven games. Here is the Chicago Tribune front page this morning.

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World Series Game 7 – one for the ages

It didn’t look good for the Cubbies after they dropped two games in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field and went down 3-1 in the Series. But they eked out a win in game 5, and the bats came alive in Cleveland in  game 6.

Now the entire season comes down to one game, Game 7, winner take all. One for the ages. WORLD SERIES 2016: CHICAGO CUBS FORCE GAME 7 AGAINST CLEVELAND INDIANS, WINNER TO MAKE HISTORY:

cubs2One more game. For everything. Either a 108-year World Series championship drought will come to an end, or another that’s lasted 68 years. Hysteria for one fan base, more heartbreak for the other. Cubs vs. Indians in a winner-take-all Game 7. As it should be.

“It’s just correct and apt that we’d go seven games,” Chicago manager Joe Maddon said.

Addison Russell hit a grand slam and tied a Series record with six RBIs, and Chicago took advantage of a huge early misplay in Cleveland’s outfield as the Cubs, their offense finally revving, throttled the Indians 9-3 on Tuesday night in Game 6 to push this tense tug-of-war between baseball’s two longest title drought holders to the limit.

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Cubs win! The curse of the goat is over!

harry-careyI have waited my entire life for this moment. So close, so many times, only to have the “lovable losers” break their fans hearts.

But last night the Chicago Cubs finally broke the curse of the goat and won the National League Pennant. On to the World Series!

This one’s for you, Harry. Cubs win! Cubs win! Cubs win!

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Talking Baseball: Will the Cubs finally end the ‘curse of the Billy Goat’?

billygoatI was hesitant to post about this, so as not to curse the Chicago Cubs, but then it occurred to me that there is nothing I could do that the cursed Billy Goat has not already done to the Cubs.

There are some similarities between this year’s Chicago Cubs and the 2004 Boston Red Sox, who ended their World Series “curse of the Bambino.”

The Red Sox were a wild card team that year, and had to face their longtime rivals and nemesis, the New York Yankees. The Red Sox went down 3 games to one in the ALCS, and were trailing in the ninth inning of game 4, before they rallied for the win. The Sox went on to win three straight and go to the World Series. In the World Series, the Red Sox swept the St. Louis Cardinals to win the World Series in one of the most improbable post season runs in baseball history.

Since then, the Boston Red Sox have won two more World Series, in 2007 and 2013. The “curse of the Bambino” is no more.

This year’s Chicago Cubs are also a wild card team, and had to face their longtime rivals and nemesis, the St. Louis Cardinals, winners of 11 World Series titles, in the NLDS. After dropping game one, the  Cubs went on to win three straight and move on to the NLCS. They will face another New York team, the Mets. Longtime Cubs fans would like nothing better than to avenge the collapse of the Cubs in 1969 — who were in 1st place in late August — that led to the “Miracle Mets” winning the World Series.

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Talking Baseball: Memorial Day standings and the post-season playoffs

Baseball statisticians have for years asserted that the standings of baseball teams on Memorial Day are a good predictor of whether your favorite baseball team will make the post-season playoffs or not. But is it true? Well, yes and no in the wildcard era.

Which is good news for my surprising Minnesota Twins this year!

Doug Miller writes at MLB.com, What’s Next: History favors division leaders:

baseballsMemorial Day is full of somber remembrance but also seasonal celebration. We honor those who gave their lives protecting the United States and its freedoms while serving in the military, but we find time to cut loose at backyard barbecues and fete the coming of June and summer proper.

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It’s natural to view Memorial Day, then, as a significant baseball benchmark. Some might wonder if it’s already curtains for the hometown nine that hasn’t gotten it going by now. Some might continue to look at the Major League season as not even a third complete and maintain the optimism of Opening Day.

The big question, as always, is this: Can the clubs that would be postseason-bound entering Memorial Day 2015 last and make it into October?

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