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The 2017 Cubs run for the repeat has ended.

After a thrilling 3-2 victory on Tuesday night to avert the sweep, I began conjuring scenarios whereby the Cubs could orchestrate a miraculous comeback of epic proportions to reach the World Series.

It would involve incremental moments. A run here, a rally there and bang, the Cubs were playing game 7 with the Dodgers on the ropes on Sunday. I really had the scenario all set in my mind. Never underestimate the optimism of a Cubs fan.

It didn’t happen.

Instead, for the second consecutive year, the National League Championship was celebrated at Wrigley Field. This time, it wasn’t OUR celebration. The Dodgers won it in OUR house. THEY were the young and energetic team on a mission. THEY returned to the World Series after missing out the last 29 years. Boo hoo for the seemingly lengthy Lala Land hiatus.

There is much I could say about the 2017 version of the Cubs. First of all, it was fun. I will limit the remaining observations to three.

1 Heck yeah, the Cubs made it to their third consecutive final four, the NLCS. As a fan, am I happy about that? Indeed. But, since they’ve lost two of those three series in embarrassing fashion, I prefer to say the Cubs have WON three consecutive semifinals, the NLDS. Those have been the more positive defining moments that made us happy. The Addison Street Miracle needs a more consistent performance in the finals.

2 I love Anthony Rizzo. Don’t get me wrong. But what the hell was that “Respect Me” rant all about after a bloop single in Game 3 of the NLDS at Wrigley? He didn’t go yard. He didn’t hit a monster blast. He hit a flare with eyes.

The story of the Cubs in this three year miracle run has been all about TEAM. They stick together. They pick each other up. They’re a TEAM. There’s no “I” in team, but apparently Rizzo recognized there’s a ME. “Respect Me.” Really?

Tony, after your chest pumping rant, you went 1-22 with 11 K’s. Baseball karma. Catch it. Time to be a leader.

3 Sign Jake Arrieta. He has been the biggest BIG GAME pitcher in the history of the franchise. Jake has won EVERY “must win” game played in the past three years on this run. Don’t let him getaway. (See Greg Maddux.)

That said, as Humphrey Bogart said in the movie classic Casablanca, “We’ll always have Cleveland (2016).”

It tempers the blow of this year’s thwarted run. It NEVER gets old. It makes this year’s disappointment (if indeed it was) just a little more tolerable. It harbors hope for next year. The Chicago Cubs DID win the World Series.

“Wait until next year” has a new ring too it now. Not because MAYBE we’ll finally do it this time. No, this time it means, let’s do it again.

Who would have ever thought in the history of Cub fandom, we would “expect” a championship? This is how far the bar has been raised in this new culture of the Cubs. I’m kinda liking it. See ya in 2018.

FOOTNOTE: I located the Cubs “Season ending” posts from the last two years, in case you’d care to take a peek:


Saturday 10/14/17

The Cubs jump on all-world Clayton Kershaw with 2 runners in the first, but leave them both stranded. A two run blast by Albert Almora Jr. gives them a 2-0 lead and Kershaw hits the showers an inning later.

But the Dodgers storm back with five unanswered runs as their bullpen shuts down the Cubs for a game one 5-2 win.

Highlight was a controversial play at the plate that went to the replay booth who overturned the call on the field which ended up giving LaLa Land momentum for the remainder of the game.

I won’t dwell on the call, but kudos to normally mild mannered Maddon who delivered multiple F bombs as he charged the field to make his feelings known in defending an excellent play by Cubs catcher Willson Contreras.

Sunday 10/15/17

The culture of the spectating Dodgers fans amazes me still to this day. They arrive in the 2nd inning and leave by the 8th, even on the weekend. Prime seats behind the plate are seem empty on TV.

I made a few notes tonight while viewing the game:

7:53. I do kinda dig the LA organist playing the Light My Fire keyboard riff and blend it in to the Da duh Da Dun thing. Sometimes he blends Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody in there too.
8:15 Pitch black and 52 degrees in Chicago. 83 degrees and sunny with a palm tree sunset on the horizon in LA. Gotta love ‘Merica.
9:26 A little heavy on the simple Da duh Da Dun riff by the organist. Come on dude, I know you got some other jams in you.
9:34 1-1 in the 9th. Another nail biter. MVP K’s. Rizzo takes one for the team. Contreras K’s. Groundout Almora. O God. It’s up to the Cubs bullpen.
9:51 1 out. Runner on second base. Lackey on the hump now. Bulldog time.
9:59 Walk off homer by Sammy Hagar. Oh well. 4-1 Dodgers win.

Post-game observations.

I had mixed emotions when Maddon called again on the old gunslinger, John Lackey to step out of the OK Corral and into the fray on the street. But why not give the 38 year old veteran a chance for some more October magic after going 1 and 2/3 innings Saturday without giving up a run? The Cubs won 19 games that Lackey started this year, more than any other pitcher.

It speaks to the unreliability of the Cubs bullpen.

Speaking of bullpens, six Dodger pitchers from the LA pen are currently 9 strikeouts and 8 innings into a no-hitter. 4 innings Saturday. 4 innings again on Sunday. Phenomenal. That’s the difference in the series so far.

Fact is, 2 runs and 7 hits in 18 innings will not advance a team in playoff baseball. Cubs need to find their sticks.

So, it’s time to separate the faithful from the fair-weathered who say it’s over.


Was it over when the Cubs were down 5-2 in the 9th inning of Game 4 in the NLDS in 2016?
Was it over when the Cubs were down 2 games to 1 against the Dodgers in the 2016 NLCS?
Was it over when the Cubs were down 3 games to 1 against Cleveland in the 2016 World Series?
Was it over when the Cubs were losing 4-1 against the Nationals in Game 5 of the NLDS?

“What’s this lying around shit?”

First, Cubs tee off on this game 3 starter. Yu Who?!?!
Then, break up this LaLa bullpen no-hitter.

The time is NOW.

Let’s go!

As a youth, I occasionally wasted away more than a few days (and nights) playing a dice baseball game called APBA. Sometimes, when things weren’t going my team’s way, I rolled the dice again to try and get the desired result, a homer instead of a ground out, perhaps.

Thursday evening in DC, the Cubs kept shaking the dice until things went their way.

The dice were really rolling for the Cubs in an unbelievable fashion in the top of the 5th inning that went something like this: Mad Max Scherzer, the hero hurler of the Nationals comes in in relief presumably to save the day as the Gnats had a 4-3 lead at this point.

Rizzo and Bryant were retired routinely. Two outs. Then after three straight hits by Contreras, Zobrist and Russell, the Cubs tied it up.

This was when it started to get weird. A walk, a dropped third strike with a throwing error, a catcher’s interference and a bases loaded hit batsman ensued. When the dust-y settled, the Cubs had taken a 7-4 lead that they would not relinquish, advancing to the NLCS with a 9-8 W in a 4 hour and 37 minute game.

According to an ESPN article, the odds of everything that happened in the top of the 5th inning happening was 1 in 2,183,406,113. (That’s Billion.) Here’s the article explaining if you’re into the baseball Sabermetrics sort of thing:

The Nationals go home. They have now won their division, but have never advanced to the next round of the playoffs having lost in the first round in 2012, 2014, 2016 & now 2017. Stand back Mister Billy Goat, there’s a new curse in town.

And, Chicago goes to Los Angeles for the weekend to play the Dodgers in a rematch of last years’ NLCS. Back to Wrigley on Tuesday for a trio of midweek evening contests.

It’s the Cubs third straight appearance in the NL Championship Series. These aren’t your granddaddy’s Cubs. Backs to the wall, they are 4-0 in elimination games the last two years. Now that I’ve had a taste of it, this October playoff baseball thing never gets old.

This time the Dodgers are the favorites to win according to the odds makers. But, I wouldn’t roll the dice against the Cubs.