It was pretty cool to watch – flipping back and forth with the Cubs game, of course – the Cleveland Cavaliers win the first major sports championship for Cleveland in over 50 years. Sure, the Cubs’ drought is longer, but if you are a hardcore local fan in Chicago, you’ve had plenty of championship moments to celebrate in the last 50 years. Good for Cleveland.
As I watched the Cavs and their fans lose their minds last night, I couldn’t help but go where all Cubs fans go in those moments. A small part of me felt envious of what they were getting to experience, but mostly I just felt heartened, knowing that when the Cubs do finally win it all again, the power of that moment is going to be unlike anything the sports world has ever seen. It’s rare that you can say something with that level of gravity and not be accused of hyperbole, but I’m pretty sure I’m on solid footing this time.
I went back to read what I wrote at the end of the 2015 season and the NLCS drubbing, and I can remember exactly how I felt. The closeness of it. The bigness. The nearly complete inability to fully articulate everything that this silly pajama sport means to me.
I am ready.
- After last night’s sweep-concluding win by the Cubs, the Pirates fell three games under .500, 15.0 – FIFTEEN – games behind the Cubs in the NL Central. If they decide to become sellers in the coming weeks, it’s possible this series against the Cubs will be looked at as the death knell. Still, they’re just 4.0 games back of a Wild Card, and very talented. I could see them finding a way to sneak back into the playoffs. But if not:
— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) June 20, 2016
- The Cardinals also lost yesterday to close out a sweep (by the Rangers), which pushed them 12.5 – TWELVE AND A HALF – games back of the Cubs in the Central. Meanwhile, there have been a flurry of moves involving the youngsters on their roster, including the return of Kolten Wong from the minors, now apparently a center fielder. He and Tommy Pham replaced struggling outfielders Randal Grichuk and Jeremy Hazelbaker on the roster. The latter should be no surprise, as his surprise April breakout has long since faded, but Grichuk was supposed to carry over his 2015 success into 2016. His otherworldly (and not-like-his-minor-league-career) power faded markedly, though, and a .206/.276/.392 got him sent down. Interestingly, his strikeout rate is way down, which makes me wonder if he was sacrificing power for contact, but a .238 BABIP (and drastically reduced ISO) means the tradeoff wasn’t worth it just yet. We’ve seen something similar with Javy Baez, though his numbers haven’t been negatively impacted overall (in part because his strikeout rate was previously so egregiously high).
- Baez, by the way, has his line up to .267/.305/.445, make him essentially a league-average bat (99 wRC+) who can play excellent defense at all of shortstop, third base, and second base, and who runs the bases like a freaking magician. That means, over just 154 plate appearances of league-average offense, he’s already been worth 1.1 WAR. Do some extrapolating on that to get all tingly.
- And as I’m wrapping up the Bullets, this piece comes out from Ken Rosenthal on Baez and the Cubs’ ability to make trades without moving him. It might get separate attention in another piece, but, since I was talking Baez anyway and it just came out, I’ll link it here for you to check out.
- Yesterday, the Cubs put out a ton of great Father’s Day videos. You’ll want to check ’em out if you missed it.
- A great read at ESPN on Chris Coghlan’s whirlwind from the Cubs to the A’s and back to the Cubs … all with a new baby in the mix. If you ever want a perfect example of how important it is to remember the human side of things when analyzing players and player performance, this is as good as it gets.
- I LOL’d when I saw that Amazon’s Deal of the Day is on Power Wheels (pow-pow-power-wheels), because I was just playing with the kids in their Power Wheels jeep yesterday afternoon, and it was hilarious to watch a three and five-year-old try and maneuver a car. The grandparents had an old one, so they brought it up this weekend. It’s been a hoot.