“Woah, Cubs, Woah”: A song

(To be sung to the tune of “Go Cubs Go”)

Baseball season’s done today

But you better get woken for a whole new way

Hey, Chicago, how do you say

The Cubs have finally won the day!

They’re singing …

Woah, Cubs, woah

Woah, Cubs, woah

Hey, Chicago, how do you say

The Cubs have finally won the day!

Woah, Cubs, woah

Woah, Cubs, woah

Hey, Chicago, how do you say

The Cubs have finally won the day!

They had the power, they had the speed

They were the best in the National League

Well it was the year and the Cubs were real

Fans came on down to Wrigley Field.

They’re singing now …

Woah, Cubs, woah

Woah, Cubs, woah

Hey, Chicago, how do you say

The Cubs have finally won the day!

Woah, Cubs, woah

Woah, Cubs, woah

Hey, Chicago, how do you say

The Cubs have finally won the day.

Baseball time was here again

Just like the days of old WGN

They stamped their feet and clapped their hands

Chicago Cubs got the greatest fans.

They’re singing now …

Woah, Cubs, woah

Woah, Cubs, woah

Hey, Chicago, how do you say

The Cubs have finally won the day!

Woah, Cubs, woah

Woah, Cubs, woah

Hey, Chicago, how do you say

The Cubs have finally won the day.

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World Baseball Classic Update (9-30-16)

It’s time for a WBC Update!

First off, as you probably saw, Israel won it’s qualifying pool and is headed to the main WBC tournament.

Secondly, White Sox instructor Luis Sierra, who was a first-base coach for Colombia in the WBC Qualifiers, will again coach for Colombia in the main tournament next year.

Adam Jones says he will play for Team USA again if asked. Also in Team USA news, they are said to be looking at Brian Dozier of the Twins as a possible member.

The Seattle Times ran an article on Mariners who may be playing in the WBC. Robinson Cano is all-in for the Dominican, of course, and so is Nelson Cruz. Dae-Ho Lee says he’ll play for Korea is he’s asked, and Felix Hernandez wants to play for Venezuela again (he wasn’t able to in 2013 due to contract stuff). Reliever Edwin Diaz wants to play for his native Puerto Rico. As for Americans, Kyle Seager said he’d love to play, although he admits the depth of American baseball means he could end up staying in Spring Training or sitting on the bench.

While not “news”, per se, you should still read Lindsey Adler’s awesome article on Pakistani baseball.

Until next time, this has been Dan Glickman with your WBC update.

 

September 25th, the past, the future, and what lies between.

There are some days that burn themselves into the history of sports.

Some of them are for good reasons: Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier on April 15, 1947, for example.

Some of them are for bad reasons: September 5 and 6, 1972 were the days when the Munich Massacre happened at the Olympics.

And some of them are for reasons both good and bad: June 17, 1994 was perhaps the most eventful day in sports history. There was even a documentary about it. Game 5 of the NBA finals was in New York. The New York Rangers had their victory parade. The first World Cup on American soil began. Baseball wasn’t on strike yet. Arnold Palmer (I’ll get back to him) played his final US Open round. Overshadowing it all, though, was Buffalo Bills legend OJ Simpson in a white Bronco.

Yesterday, September 25, 2016 was one of the last kinds of those days. The mixed kind. For you see, yesterday saw both the past and the future die. It also saw the present live.

Jose Fernandez was the future. An immigrant who fled Cuba after years of trying, diving into the water to save his mother during the trip. He pitched with a joy that few have seen, and his pitching brought that same joy to all except those who opposed him. His determination was also legendary: when he arrived in America at 15, he was by all accounts a far cry from the stud pitcher he became. It was only through hard work that he became a prospect, then a super-prospect, and then a ace.

And then he got hurt, and was mostly missing for two whole season.

And then he came back, better than he was before. A rising star who was an attraction by himself, and with endless potential ahead of him. One of the new faces of baseball, every bit as amazing as Trout, Harper, Machado and their ilk.

Except, in some ways, Fernandez was more than any of them. He represented the ideal of the game of baseball that in some ways has only existed in our minds. The game where everyone can play, regardless of where they come from or what language they can speak. The game where people can have fun like they had when they were kids, even if they are being paid absurd amounts of money. The game that is a game, not a war (like football).

And now he’s gone. A potential Hall of Fame career, up in smoke along the Florida coast, along with the lives of two of his friends. What he could have been, whether he could have met that potential and continued to bring so much joy to a game that at times desperately needs it… we will never know.

We do, however, know what Arnold Palmer had. He had quite the past. He wasn’t the greatest golfer ever, but he may have been the most famous, and with good reason. He has a drink named after him- not even Babe Ruth has that (he had to settle for a candy bar that officially isn’t even named after him). He loved the sport he played, and was one of the best at it. While it is tragic that he has passed, he lived a full life, and left his mark upon the sports world that his talent deserved.

Arnold Palmer, in other words, lived the life that Jose Fernandez could have lived.

Between mourning the lost future of Jose Fernandez and the glorious past of Arnold Palmer, the games went on, as they almost always do. It was full of the moments- good and bad and in-between- that define sports, and life. Vin Scully said goodbye to LA, yes, but there was also a walk-off HR to clinch the division. Football and golf went on, bringing their usual pains and triumphs. There is less than a week left to go in the MLB season, with some races still be decided, some careers still left to be finished and continued.

Yes, the games go on. They won’t show us what Jose Fernandez could have become, or what Arnold Palmer once was, but they will go on. And they will help us ease the pain and nostalgia, just as they help us forget the woes of everyday life on any given day.

After all, that’s what we love sports for, is it not?

World Baseball Classic Update (September 14, 2016): A Minor Update

A small WBC update today, with just two pieces of news:

First off, David Peralta of the Diamondbacks is unlikely to play for Venezuela next year due to wrist surgery.

Secondly, according to the the excellent “Pinceladas del CMB” Twitter feed and Twitter’s translation feature, there is the news that tickets for the Guadalajara pool will go on sale in November.

…And that’s it for this installment. If you have any WBC news, let me know! Thanks!

 

World Baseball Classic Update (Sept. 6, 2016)

Due to my trip and other responsibilities, I’ve been slacking on WBC updates. So, here is one.

The Pools for the 2017 WBC have been revealed:

The biggest piece of WBC news in the past few weeks is probably the reveal of the actual pools and locations for the tournament. They are:

Pool A (Tokyo Dome): Australia, China, Cuba, Japan

Pool B (Geocheok Dome in Seoul, South Korea): Taipei, Korea, Netherlands, winner of Brooklyn Qualifying pool (more on that later)

Pool C (Marlins Park in Miami): Canada, Colombia, Dominican Republic, USA

Pool D (Estadio Charros de Jalisco in Guadalajara, Mexico): Italy, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Venezuela

Pool E (Tokyo Dome): Top two of Pool A and Pool B

Pool F (Petco Park in San Diego): Top two of Pool C and Pool D

Semi-Finals and Finals are in Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

Rosters for the Brooklyn Qualifier have been revealed:

Late in August, the rosters for the final qualifying pool were revealed. Baseball America has a good rundown of them, and I’ll go more in-depth on them when I do my preview of the group later in the month. But my early impressions say that Brazil and Israel will be the main teams to beat in the pool, although the UK could surprise.

Other WBC News:

Kim In-Sik, the manager for Team Korea, is pessimistic about the team’s chances due to a lack of pitching, especially right-handers. He hopes to get Seung-Hwan Oh, but problems with a gambling situation in Macau that led to his suspension from KBO and NPB (it’s complicated and I’m not entirely sure if I fully understand it, but it has to do with rules in Korea and Japan that frown upon gambling even if it’s in a place where it’s legal) make that less than a slam-dunk. On the position player side, Dae-Ho Lee and Byung-Ho Park have been supportive, although Park’s injury makes it unlikely he will take part. Among the KBO players Kim is looking at is Jae-Kuk Ryu, who had some time in the majors from 2006 to 2008. Another article suggests that Hyun-Soo Kim of the Orioles is a certainty to be on the team, but that other MLB players besides him and Dae-Ho Lee are iffy due to the fact they all have had injury problems throughout the year.

Ervin Santana is eager to represent the Dominican at the next WBC, and hopes that Miguel Sano can join him. However, based on conversations that Sano has had with Latin American scouting sources for the Twins, it’s possible he’ll be the odd man and might be better served staying with the Twins, since the DR likely will have players like Adrian Beltre and Edwin Encarnacion filling the roles that Sano would likely would be most fit for.

Noah Syndergaard is likely to receive an invitation from Team USA, although it’s unknown if he would accept.

21-year-old Tyler O’Neill, named the Mariners’ best Minor League player this season by the Seattle Times, is a candidate for Team Canada.

Ken Rosenthal speculates that Clayton Kershaw and A.J. Ellis may have a reunion on Team USA next spring. However, he notes that there are plenty of “ifs” connected to that, especially related to Kershaw’s health and whether Ellis would even be considered for Team USA given America’s depth at the position.

Russell Martin has said he intends to play for Canada if he is healthy. John Axford is also excited to participate.

Omar Vizquel will be scouting the Venezuelan League to keep an eye on people who are on Team Venezuela’s shortlist.

 

So… who’d be in the 2016 “In Memoriam” montage?

Like in previous years, here’s who would be in this season’s hypothetical “In Memoriam” segment of the All-Star Game. It’s in a semi-random order, and a * means that they’d get an extra emphasis, such as a highlight or interview clip about them- they all died after last year’s ASG (July 14):

Joe Garagiola Sr., Player and famed announcer*

Milt Pappas, 2-time All-Star

Mike Sandlock, played portions of five seasons

Dick McAuliffe, 3-time All-Star

John Young, creator of the RBI program

Paul Carey, Announcer

Sammy Ellis, 1965 All-Star

Monte Irvin, HoF outfielder*

Luis Arroyo, 2-time All-Star

Eddie Milner, Reds OF in 1980s

Jim Hickman, 1970 All-Star

Walt Williams, 10 seasons in MLB

Eddie Einhorn, White Sox Vice Chairman

Joaquin Andujar, 4-time All-Star*

Tommy Hanson, MLB pitcher for Braves and Angels

Phil Pepe, Noted NYC baseball writer

Rueben Quevedo, MLB pitcher from 2000 to 2003

Jim Davenport, All-Star and Gold Glove winner

Walter Young, 1B for Orioles in 2005

Frank Sullivan, 2-time All-Star

Dave Henderson, 1991 All-Star and hitter of famed home run off of Donnie Moore*

John Tsitouris, played parts of 11 seasons

Spec Richardson, General Manager for Astros and Giants

Betty Francis, AAGPBL player

Bobby Smith, OF with five teams from 1957-1965

Masayoshi Higashida, 2-time NPB All-Star

Billy Pierce, 7-time All-Star

Gene Elston, long-time Houston Announcer and Ford C. Frick winner *

Jim Ray Hart, 1966 All-Star

Marilyn Jones, AAGPBL star

Barney Schultz, Cardinals relief ace

Trent Baker, member of the Brisbane Bandits

Harry Perkowski, played parts of 8 seasons

Dean Chance, 2-time All-Star and 1964 Cy Young Award winner

Buzz Bowers, Baseball Scout Hall of Famer

Frank Malzone, 3-time Gold Glove, multiple ASG appearances, member of BOS HoF*

Jim O’Toole, Reds Hall of Famer and 1963 All-Star

Chico Fernandez, MLB 1956-1963

Erma Bergmann, AAGPBL Star

Joe Durham, Negro Leaguer and longtime member of the Orioles organization

June Peppas, AAGPBL Star

Kiyohiro Miura, 19-years in NPB

Milo Hamilton, Announcer and Ford C. Frick winner *

Ken Johnson, Pitcher for seven teams between 1958 and 1970

Norm Siebern, 3-time All-Star

Alice Pollitt, AAGPBL star

Hal Brown, Knuckleballer in 1950s and 60s

James Moore, Negro League All-Star

Tony Phillips, Utilityman Extraordinaire*

Garry Hancock, OF during portions of 6 season

Tom Kelley, Reliever in 60s and 70s

Donny Everett, college player for Vanderbilt

Cal Neeman, SS in Majors 1957-1963

Jimmy Williams, Player, coach and member of Canadian Baseball HoF

Yogi Berra, HoF Catcher and 18-time All-Star *

 

WBC Update (May 18, 2016)

It’s time for a WBC update!

Taiwan has abandoned plans to bid for a WBC pool, likely ensuring that Korea will host something.

Aroldis Chapman is now a US Citizen and says he’d play for Team USA if asked.

And if he is going to take part in the WBC, it’s going to have to be on Team USA, since Cuba has announced that, despite some negotiations to make it happen, defectors will not be allowed on the Cuban national team.

Bryce Harper is in so long as some of the other top US players are going to be playing.

Manny Machado is now on record as being on Team Dominican Republic next year.

And, finally, in what I believe is the first appearance of the WBC in a English-language fictional work, Japanese-American author Naomi Hirahara’s latest book involves a amateur detective trying to solve a murder that takes place at the 2009 WBC finals between Japan and Korea.