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Wednesday

27

September 2017

64

COMMENTS

A Few Things, Before We Start The Postseason

Written by , Posted in General

May The Force Be With You, Even Though The Odds Are Against You

My goal for the 2017 version of the Cubs was simple. Make the postseason.

I had prepared myself for the inevitable, that of course being the Cubs probably would not repeat as World Series champs. After walking through winter with a perma-grin from ear to ear, the mental orgy, if you will, ceased in early spring. All that was left was the thought of a new season, doing it all over again, and a question…how will they top that one?

162 games can be a cruel marathon, just ask any team buried in last place of their division.  However, the length of a season provides much needed time for teams, especially those that just rolled off the World Series party bus and need a few extra weeks to sweat out the hangover, to get reacquainted with their winning ways.  Regardless, there hasn’t been a repeat World Series champion since the 2000 season when the Yankees completed their three-peat.  Some would say parity in baseball is alive and well.

The new bar is the post-season, anything less for this team and its fan base would be unacceptable. (we’ll talk more about this later)

 

Survive and Advance!

Borrowing from NCAA’s March Madness slogan, survive and advance should be the Cubs slogan going forth this season.  Anything can happen with this team in a best of seven set.  A little bit of me even feels as though this team is playing this season with that mindset.  Doing everything (and sometimes only doing enough) to make the post-season in advance of catching fire at just the right time to plow through the other post-season teams. Ask anybody, would you rather be the team rising to the top of it’s play as fall ball starts, or the team that won 100+ games and basically forced themselves to stay mentally in-tune through September? History is littered with teams the ruled the regular season only to fall in the post-season before realizing the ultimate prize…we’re looking at you 2001 Seattle Mariners!

Let’s look at it this way, if you were an opposing team, would you want to face the Cubs in a best of seven? The reigning champs, with the pressure of 100+ years futility off their backs and a been there done that attitude? I can think of a few other teams I would rather face!

 

Great Fan Expectations

One of my all-time favorite things to do is scroll twitter when the Cubs are imploding.  All you need to do is look in the Twitter replies of any Cubs beat writer to view the comments from the frustrated dimwits, probably drunk and coming fresh off a heater to the temple in the Sluggers batting cage, and realize how irrational the fan base can be.  The Cubs fans are not the only ones.  Even the Dodgers fans were spewing all types of vitriol while there team was 20 or 30 games above 500 and running through the National league like hot snot through a trombone.  Sports fans in general are some of the most irrational people in the world with their expectations.

So Cub fans, while you are watching your team in the post-season, remember one thing…going back to back is very difficult to do.  Enjoy the fact that you now have, and rightfully so, elevated expectations. Enjoy the fact that you have a team on the north side that is built to compete year in and year out for the majority of the current decade. Enjoy the fact that the term “next year” holds so much more than it used too.  Most of all, enjoy the fact that you are not a Cardinals fan, scraping the bottom of the baseball trough for bird food.

So relax, sit back, and enjoy what you are witnessing, even when Lackey pitches. Enjoy being a Cubs fan.

  • Eddie Von White

    I used to play Trombone. It’s mostly spit – never actually snot unless someone is blowing their nose in there and that would just be plain weird.

    • Bryzzo1744

      I used to play trombone also!

      • Eddie Von White

        I am without words.

      • Seymour Butts

        Anybody out there play the flute?

      • Doug S.

        How about spit?

      • cap’n realist

        Eddie Von Reticent

    • Jerry in Wisconsin

      I played the clarinet, and the thought of the spit valve always creeped me out.

      • Bryzzo1744

        Where would you empty it out? At school our teachers said just empty it on the floor. At home I would do over the sink

  • Brad Lyerla

    I played the trombone too. Seriously. My favorite players now are Robin Eubanks and Steve Turre.
    As for last night, the bottom of the first and second were a nightmare. Everyone saw Freeman’s gaffe. But don’t forget Happ butchering a fly ball in center that my grandmother could have caught. Plus, Arrieta did not have it.

    Then, why Pena? Why?

    I blame Maddon for Happ being in centerfield on the day we are trying to clinch. And for Freeman being at shortstop. And for Pena? They can play after we clinch. Finish the job before you make out a line up that looks like spring training.

    Here are my other worries after last night: 1) Arrieta seems less than 100%. 2) Contreras’ knee must feel like hell after the balls he has taken off it recently. Get him healthy. 3) Rizzo is searching at the plate in one of his funks. 4) Schwarber isn’t fun anymore.

    Still, I am sticking with my pick: Cubs sweep Houston in the Series. Despite everything, we are the best team. And we have the best player (in the NL, at least). In his quiet way, Bryant now leads the NL in fWAR. Amazing.

    • Michael S.

      I think I saw one of the Cubs’ beat writers tweet that Arrieta said his hammy wasn’t 100%, and he’s had to adjust his delivery. For a guy whose already got a bit of an unusual delivery, that’s not a good sign. I’m not sure I’d run him out there his next turn up just to give him a bit more time. Hell, I’m not sure I would have run him out there last night, pitch limit or not, with the magic number at 1.

      • Brad Lyerla

        I got off twitter last winter after the election. I miss it for the baseball news. But I don’t miss the insane politics.

        More to the point, Arrieta was not sharp at all. But if Freeman makes his play and Happ takes a semi-competent route to his fly ball, then Arrieta’s night would have been completely different.

        I hope he is OK soon.

      • I am actually thinking I saw Happ misplay at least two. This one that you’re talking about, and another one a few innings later that bounced in front of him. Pretty sure your gramma could have handled that one as well.

      • Brad Lyerla

        I went to the radio after a few innings. Missed the second one. Happ is a valuable player, but a weak cf.

  • Adam Peters

    I could be wrong, but it seems like Maddon’s lineups are getting less stupid as we wind down the stretch. He’s still playing Schwarber, but he’s down in the lineup. Unfortunately, he’s still not playing Almora, but he’s not putting Zobrist in RF anymore. And he seems to be settling in to:
    2.) Bryant
    3.) Rizzo
    4.) Contreras

    I hope Javy can get back at it in the next day or two

  • Doc Raker

    Freeman at short? Russell and Baez needed a day off, Baez bruised his hip and Russell had nacho elbow- kinda like tennis elbow but for ballplayers who dive into a bowl of nacho’s elbow first.

    I thought the Cubs were going to come back and clinch in St Louis in dramatic fashion. The Cardinal TV broadcasters thought so also, they were not comfortable until the last strike was had.

    How about Maddon pulling Wilson in the middle of the AB on a 2-0 count.

    My question for tonight. Can the Cubs come back from the early hole Lackey will put them in?

    • Michael S.

      Pulling Wilson mid-AB was a sudden outbreak of common sense. You can safely argue he shouldn’t have gotten those last two pitches, but even 2 weeks ago Maddon lets him at least finish that AB. Seems like he’s finally realizing playtime is over.

      • Doc Raker

        I agree, I think Wilson is not an option for the post season roster and Maddon has figured that out.

    • Brad Lyerla

      Russell and Baez will get a week off after we clinch. One of them should have been at shortstop last night.

    • Eddie Von White

      Yes.

    • Seymour Butts

      Thought I had nacho elbow once, turned out it was just a highly processed orange goo elbow.

    • Adam Peters

      Who the hell is Freeman?

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        He is our 3rd shortstop, sort of like Schwarber catching.

      • cap’n realist

        right

      • His beard is nicely trimmed.

  • I played the bells. Pleasantly spitless.

    • Eddie Von White

      I thought the chicks would dig a trombone player. In retrospect, it’s kind of gross actually.

      • Well you know, back in the day KC and the Sunshine Band did have a rockin’ brass section!

      • Brad Lyerla

        I wanted to play the saxophone, but the band guy said that I might need braces and it’s easier to play trombone than sax with braces.

      • Bryzzo1744

        Did your kids play in band at new trier? One of my classmates did a project on the effect of braces on band performance and he found them to be beneficial long term because you can’t cheat to blow the instrument. They were also a real pain. When scheduling my private lessons we would always check the calendar for my orthodontist appointments. I couldn’t play for 2-3 days after getting my braces tightened.

      • Brad Lyerla

        My son played piano in the jazz band.

      • Bryzzo1744

        Nice! I did regular band my 2 years there (wind ensemble), and my senior year (05-06), I did pep band when swimming didn’t interfere.

      • Brad Lyerla

        Good stuff.

      • Bryzzo1744

        Yeah. It’s nice that new trier actually cares about their students and offers so many programs. I’m so glad I moved there from niles north. It let me play in pep band (niles north didn’t have one), and continue swimming after the NN coach ran me out.

      • cap’n realist

        on Tuesdays

      • Kyle

        I’m pretty sure my braces were the reason I sucked at the piano.

      • Doc Raker

        Your band guy did orthodontics as well?

      • Brad Lyerla

        When we were picking instruments (about ten years old), the band guy consulted with our parents about choices. He told mine that I should avoid the sax. I don’t know where he got his info. Said if I needed braces later, the trombone would be easier.

      • Bryzzo1744

        My teachers said play whatever you want because the braces are only temporary

      • Doc Raker

        More like, play whatever you want, your going to suck regardless of which instrument you choose

      • cap’n realist

        I thought chicks would dig baseball players, so I quit the piano at age 13, right about the time I could play things by ear. I’ll never forget walking into the freshman dorm and seeing the chubby music kid playing the piano while the hot girls swooned after 5 hours of baseball practice. My man was sitting in the air conditioning shooting fish in a barrel. Took me about 6 months to meet a female that wasn’t a softball, soccer or volleyball player…and I only really saw them in the trainers room.

      • Doc Raker

        Truth be told it didn’t matter what you did, chicks weren’t going to dig you

      • cap’n realist

        because I was broke. Once I got money, all of a sudden I was waist deep. Funny how that happens.

  • Bryzzo1744

    I learned today that several of us VFTBers played musical instruments in school. As for Seymour’s question about the flute, in my band class there was one guy who played flute, and he was on the football team

    • Doc Raker

      Don’t engage with Seymour and his sophomoric attempts at baiting someone into a johnson joke. I didn’t think I would have to spell that out to anyone.

      • Seymour Butts

        But it makes people smile.
        Don’t want to admit that? Replay this in you mind:
        “This one time, in band camp,…”

      • Kyle

        I was expecting a “Rusty Trombone” joke from you, Seymour. It seemed more up your alley. (pun intended)

      • Doc Raker

        You talking about johnsons does not make me smile,

      • No worries Doc. Caps squelched the attempt himself by answering the question literally.

    • Michael S.

      I did not play musical instruments in school. My singing voice is disallowed in all countries signatory to the Geneva Conventions to boot.

      I did, however, get out of a performing arts performance by (unintentionally) getting hit by a car.

  • Doc Raker

    I played the trumpet but who the hell cares. Let’s clinch this thing today Beetches.

    • I care. Did you valve spit into the sink?

  • Karen Hirsh

    Can’t believe we have to depend on Lackey tonight. Hope the Brewers lose.

    • Dork

      The cubs are 11-2 in lackey’s last 13 starts. He might be a better option than Arrieta in the post season. He isn’t here for a haircut.

      • Speaking of barbers, Arietta might find his mojo again if he trimmed up his gross beard. You know your beard is too much when it sticks out further than your ears when viewed from the back. It’s probably throwing off his equilibrium. Ditto Zobrist. Hayward. Happ. And any of the rest of them who think chicks dig the mountain man look.

  • Kyle

    Anyone else notice when they had bases loaded, no outs, and the top of the order up? And they scored ZERO runs… This is not the first time I’ve seen them do this. it’s slightly infuriating. That could have been a different outcome right there, if they could just put 1 ball in play between the 3 of them.

    • Dork

      Yep I noticed – Yep infuriating especially so after a boneheaded catcher interference in that spot. You have to make those extra outs count.

  • Doc Raker

    The Cubs are the first team to win their division after winning the World Series since the Phillies did it in 2009. Prior to that it had not happened since the 2002 DBacks won their division. It isn’t easy to repeat apparently and the Cubs are playing their best ball of the year.

    CLINCH BABY! Bring on Dusty and the Nats!

  • Doc Raker

    Celebrate in Bush Stadium Beetches

    • Bryzzo1744

      They ought to do a Baker Mayfield. Stick a flag on the mound and celebrate

      • Michael S.

        Well, they didn’t stick it there, but it was there for the team photo.

        Hope they’re good and pissed off about it too

  • Eddie Von White

    Now that’s what I’m talking about!!

  • Michael S.

    Half an hour after the game, talking with the media, John Lackey sounds like he’s ready for an Uber back to the hotel to sleep it off.

  • Switched from the Cards video feed to Pat’s audio for the last third of the game.. good stuff. Here we go I guess.. go Cubs!

  • Doc Raker

    I was listening to Pat and Cooms while watching the game. Pat was excited as usual. Then I listened to Len and JD and they sounded very matter of fact and bored. “Ok, we won the division. Let’s go catch the lounge band at the Holiday Inn, Murph and the Magic Tones.”