It’s the final day of the regular season, which feels like the end of a march, rather than the exciting conclusion of a sprint. The Cubs, more or less, had the NL Central locked up by the middle of May, so even I had a hard time telling myself to stay in the moment and focus on the joy throughout the year, rather than just thinking about the playoffs. I tried my best.
The good news is that I don’t have to try anymore. This is the end of the regular season.
- The regular season ends today and the NLDS doesn’t start until Friday, but the Cubs will be playing a game on Tuesday – an intrasquad simulated game, in which John Lackey and Jason Hammel will pitch (Tribune). It’s at Wrigley Field, but, sorry, it’s closed to the public.
- I totally get what Jon Lester is saying here:
— Patrick Mooney (@CSNMooney) October 2, 2016
- … but I’d caution fans not to fall into the same way of thinking. Winning in the playoffs, especially at this stage of the year, is *of course* the only thing that matters to the players. But, let’s be clear: most teams don’t even make the playoffs, let alone win 102+ games. This Cubs team most certainly has done some things this year, including winning the NL Central (by a mile) for the first time since 2008. I’m not going to lose sight of that (see the opening to these Bullets), even as I’m wholly focused on seeing this team win in the playoffs right now. It’s been a great year no matter what happens in the crapshoot tournament to come.
- In last night’s game, Dexter Fowler notched his 1,000th career hit, and Jon Lester notched his 2,000th career inning. Pretty cool.
- A report out of the Sun-Times has the White Sox letting Robin Ventura go after the season, and bench coach Rick Renteria taking over as the manager. The White Sox aren’t commenting for now, but they do have a press conference scheduled for Monday morning. If Renteria does get his shot, it’ll be his first crack at the big job since he was dismissed by the Cubs after the 2014 season. You’ll recall that Renteria was an effective manager for the Cubs, with whom no one really had a beef as he worked to help rebuild the Cubs (who, by the way, really turned a corner halfway through the 2014 season, and were set up for success in 2015 and beyond no matter who was managing). It’s just that Joe Maddon happened to become available at that time, and the fit with the Cubs was too perfect not to act. It was a necessary evil, and has obviously worked out exceedingly well for the Cubs. For Renteria, though, it wasn’t until he got another managerial shot that I was going to feel a bit better about the whole thing. The White Sox are not the Cubs, but a shot is a shot. Renteria deserves it. I hope he gets the job and does well.
- I’m LOL’ing:
- It’s very unlikely with the Tigers’ loss yesterday, but if they can win today (and a makeup game tomorrow), and if both the Orioles and Blue Jays lose today, then this is relevant:
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) October 2, 2016
- It’s also an odd choice, because, absent any other inputs, you’re more likely to win at least one of two road games than just one shot in a home game; but perhaps the match-ups, the travel, the home concessions, etc., are all factoring into a specific situation here where the Orioles make the odd choice seem a lot less odd. I hope we get to see it happen.
- A box of 2016 Topps Archive cards go on sale at 10:30am CT at Amazon, if you’re a collector.
- If you’re looking for a place to watch Friday’s Game One of the NLDS, I’m gonna be at Yak-Zies on Clark, across from Wrigley Field (space permitting, fingers crossed). I can’t promise there will be space for everyone, because I truly don’t know, but I’m going to try to be there plenty early and set up shop.
- And if you’re looking for Cubs World Series tickets, here’s the most you can spend (click like on the BN Facebook page while you’re at it):