“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.

Postcards before the Baseball Apocalypse: Thoughts before the 2016 World Series

Well, I guess the Nationals didn’t make the World Series, huh? And now, random unorganized thoughts on the World Series we ARE getting:

Something’s gotta give

As I’m sure you know and will no doubt be reminded 1,908 times, this is a match-up of “cursed” teams. The Cubs, obviously, haven’t won a World Series since 1908 and hadn’t even been to one before this year since 1945, when a goat was infamously refused admission to Wrigley Field, leading to the infamous “Curse of the Billy Goat”. Cleveland, meanwhile, hasn’t won a World Series since 1948, and is said to have been cursed to never do so again because of the trading of popular star Rocky Colavito in 1960. Others, however, say that the curse is actually the “Curse of Wahoo”, which fates the Indians to runner-up status until they remove the unquestionably politically-incorrect red-faced smile from their uniforms entirely (the Indians have made it much less prominent recently, but it’s still there).

Unless you count the three different Washington baseball franchises as one line of tradition (and most don’t), these are the two most snake-bitten teams in basically all of North American sports. One of them has to break a curse here, right? Or are we doomed for an endless series where the extra innings spread on until Baseball Armageddon?

Andrew Miller, Destroyer of Worlds

It’s hard to put into words how great Andrew Miller has been lately, and how well Terry Francona has used him. Ignoring the outdated orthodoxy that caused even the relatively-maverick Buck Showalter to hold Zack Britton for a save opportunity that never came, Francona deploys his best pitcher when he’s most needed.

And for that reason, it is going to be imperative that the Cubs score early and probably often. Because Miller Time probably means another year without a World Series title if they don’t.

Kyle “Kirk Gibson” Schwarber

I’m looking forward to seeing Kyle Schwarber, making his first appearance since getting injured all the way back in April. He’ll only be DHing and perhaps pinch-hitting, but with his bat, that could easily mean we might see a Kirk Gibson moment where a player who has no business being in the game delivers a magical moment.

Or maybe he’ll be a total non-factor who strikes out. Where’s the fun in that, though?

Terry vs. Theo

Amazingly, the fact that Theo Epstein’s team is facing Terry Francona’s team hasn’t gotten as much play as I thought it would. I mean, it’s been brought up a lot, but not as much as I thought it would have. Probably because of the bigger storylines going around.

Blah, Blah, Blah, get to your prediction:

Cubs in 6.

Why?

Depth. I think that the Indians can win match and defeat the Cubs at the top of the rotations and with the bullpen, but the deeper lineup for the Cubs and starting rotation give them the overall edge. To rewrite a song: “Hey Chicago, what do you say, the Cubs have finally won the day!”

 

“30 Teams, 30 Posts” (2016): The “McFly Prophecy” was bunk, but the Cubs are going to win, and soon

In 30 Teams, 30 Posts, I write a post (of varying amounts of seriousness) about every MLB team in some way in the lead-up to the beginning of the 2016 season. Earlier installments can be found here. Today, the Cubs.

Last year, it was said, the Cubs would win the World Series. It was destined. Back To The Future II had predicted it. And as the Cubs actually made the playoffs and won first the Wild Card game and then the NLDS, it seemed, perhaps, that what was once just a few lines in a movie would prove to be an eerie prediction.

Of course, it turned out that that joke back in Back To The Future II turned out to be just that: a joke. Perhaps something that happened in the old west in the third movie invalidated the future where the Cubs beat Miami in the 2015 World Series. Or maybe, just maybe, it was just a joke all along!

But, well, I think the writers of BTtF II did get the decade right, as the Cubs are, finally, going to win their first World Series since 1908 sometime this decade.

Why? Because, in some ways, they are ahead of schedule. They weren’t supposed to be as good last season as they were. Oh, they were supposed to be better, but they were not supposed to be in the NLCS.

And now, though, the Cubs will be one more year more experienced. Last year’s team was young, and while this year’s team will also be young, that experience will make them even more dangerous. Kris Bryant will no longer be a mere rookie. Neither will Kyle Schwarber.

And then there will be the new additions. Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist have been added. So has John Lackey.

And Joe Maddon, the mad genius, is still skippering the team.

There are no guarantees, of course, but it could happen. This could be the year. And the moment that will result could be the Greatest Of All Time.

You know… the GOAT!

The Best Unofficial Baseball Shirts for Postseason Teams!

Last month’s look at unofficial and unlicensed baseball shirts was a big hit, even being picked up by SI.com’s Extra Mustard. So, since I’m never the type to quit while I’m ahead, I’ll do another. So, with the postseason starting tomorrow, here are the best unofficial and/or unlicensed (or, in extreme circumstances, just plain cool) t-shirts for those teams. Click the links to be brought to the stores that are selling them.

(Note: Some of these are not technically unofficial, but are rather licensed by individual players or the Hall of Fame. You’ll see, for example, a HOF Reggie Jackson shirt that conspicuously doesn’t have any Yankees logos on it.)

(GO BELOW THE JUMP FOR MORE)

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MVP of Yesterday (Sept. 22, 2015): Jake Arrieta

Why did the Orioles get rid of Jake Arrieta? Why didn’t they let him throw his cutter when he was there? How do you hit against Jake Arrieta? These are all tough questions that may never be answered. The Brewers certainly didn’t answer them last night, as the Cubs pitcher struck out 11 and gave up just 3 hits and a single walk, while getting a hit of his own for good measure. So, he’s the MVP of Yesterday.

Standings, as always, after the jump:

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“30 Teams, 30 Posts” (2015): The Cubs won’t be boring

In 30 Teams, 30 Posts, I write a post about every MLB team in some way in the lead-up to the beginning of the 2015 season. Previous installments can be found here. Today, the Cubs.

There is a saying that a work of fiction can be good or bad, but the worst thing it can be is be boring. The same could be said for baseball teams. And, well, the Cubs may be many things this season, but they will not be boring.

After all, this is a team with Joe Maddon as manager. He’s never boring. He’s always doing crazy shifts, having his team do themed road-trips where they dress up as 1890s gentlemen or Hawaiian beach bums or whatever.

They have wonder-prospect Kris Bryant. Or, at least, they will. It’s complicated, but basically they’ll call him up within a few weeks, when they’ll be able to start his service clock late enough where they’ll be able to keep him from free agency for an extra year.

They have Wrigley Field still under heavy renovation. The bleachers won’t be done for at least two months. What the heck! How does this happen? Still, not boring.

And, of course, they have their endless quest to finally win their first World Series since 1908, and, perhaps more importantly, the quest to prove Back To The Future II correct.

So, yes… the Cubs are not going to be boring this year. That is for sure.

2014 SEASON PREVIEW (PART 6): Best Case/Worst Case for… the NL CENTRAL (with Getty Images)

Oh, boy, the NL Central! It’s time for another round of Best Case/Worst Case. And, since the Cubs are in this division, you know there’s going to be a worst case. And, of course, they all have at least vaguely-connected images from Getty on them. Yeah!

(Sorry, Cubs fans)

St. Louis Cardinals

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Best-Case Scenario: World Series title, obviously. They aren’t that different a team from last year aside from losing Carlos Beltran and Edward Mujica as well as trading the not-what-he-used-to-be David Freese.

Worst-Case Scenario: The Rally Squirrel returns… rabid and with a taste for human flesh.

Worst-Case Scenario That Could Actually Happen: Injuries to the pitching staff, particularly Adam Wainwright.

Pittsburgh Pirates
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Best-Case Scenario: .500 again! The playoffs again! And this time, going further than the LDS, but all the way to the World Series.

Worst-Case Scenario: Scurvy.

Worst-Case Scenario That Could Actually Happen: The rotation and bullpen regress while Andrew McCutchen has a post-MVP hangover.

Cincinnati Reds

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Best-Case Scenario: It’s a team that’s good enough to win the World Series if their pitching works out… but that’s a big if. Still, best-case scenario remains World Series.

Worst-Case Scenario: Billy Hamilton runs so fast that he breaks the sound barrier, making everyone in the stadium go deaf.

Worst-Case Scenario That Could Actually Happen: The pitching doesn’t do it, and the Reds go nowhere in the playoffs, if they make it at all.

Milwaukee Brewers

Best-Case Scenario: Ryan Braun comes back from his Steroid-related… break… and returns to form despite the fact he, presumably, is no longer… doing the thing he was suspended for. The rotation does well and the Brewers stay in it for awhile before fading late in the season.

Worst-Case Scenario: Prohibition.

Worst-Case Scenario That Could Actually Happen: More-or-less what happened last year, only with Ryan Braun playing the whole season. Well, okay, it could get worse: they could be worse than the cubs.

Chicago Cubs

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Best-Case Scenario: Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro continue to develop, nobody gets hurt, and Theo Epstein’s Master Plan (C) continues.

Worst-Case Scenario: The Brewers try to bring Hank the Dog into the stadium. The Cubs refuse his adorableness. Angered, Hank casts another curse upon the Cubs. Soon, Rizzo and Castro are hurt, Jeff Samardzija has decided to go back to football, the Cubs are spiraling to one of the worst records ever, and Theo Epstein runs away screaming “NO! NO! NEVER! THERE IS NO HOPE! NONE!”

Worst-Case Scenario That Could Actually Happen: Injuries and being in a tough division lead to the team being one of the worst in Cubs history. Rizzo and Castro have slump seasons, too.

 

Next time: The NL East!

Ralph Kiner: A Great Player For Some Horrible Teams

Ralph Kiner, who passed away today, was a great player who played for some really bad teams. In his ten seasons, only twice was his team above .500. He never played in the postseason, and only once did he come close- when the 1955 Indians finished three games back of the Yankees in what was Kiner’s final year. He didn’t make the Hall of Fame until his final year of eligibility, and during his time with the Pirates, Branch Rickey held a grudge against him, scapegoating him for the team’s failures in an effort to make it possible to trade him for prospects*.

For those reasons, perhaps it isn’t surprising that when his death was announced, his obituary in the New York Times spent just as much time on his stint as the voice of the Mets as it did on his playing days, which were, admittedly, short.

And this is a shame, as in his ten seasons, nobody else hit more HRs than Kiner, and, what’s more, no World Series-era player with no postseason experience, not even Ernie Banks, had a better OPS for their career than Kiner.

So as you hear people on TV, in print and online talk about his radio days, just remember that he was truly one of the great players of his time.

*Interestingly, when he was finally traded, the Pirates didn’t get any good players back.