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A Chance to Clinch, a Day to Be Happy, Hi Tommy Pham, and Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News

The Little Girl had a follow-up appointment for her elbow fracture (she got a cast, got the cast removed, and this was just to confirm that everything healed up well). All looks good, and she’s very excited to be able to do cartwheels again. Though I had to ask her how she planned to avoid this same injury from occurring, since it was a cartwheel that did it in the first place. Well, that’s when I learned that it wasn’t *just* a cartwheel that caused the fracture; it was her trying to stop in the air, mid-cartwheel, to catch her favorite part of the show she was watching at the time.


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So, today we decided it would be prudent not to watch TV while doing gymnastics.

  • The Cubs have a chance to clinch their second straight NL Central title tonight (and third straight playoff appearance) with a win over the Cardinals, or a loss by the Brewers against the Reds. Given what an up-and-down affair this season has been – remember when the Cubs were TWO GAMES UNDER .500 at the All-Star break? – today is feeling really, really good. The Cubs are 45-23 in the second half, best in the National League, and playing at a 107-win pace! If you’re looking for a team that is going into the playoffs hot, it’s definitely the Cubs.
  • … which is not to say that old narrative actually holds up. We’ve seen hot teams streak through the playoffs, and we’ve seen hot teams fold in the first round. We’ve seen ice cold teams turn it on when the playoffs start. It’s great to be playing well when October rolls around, but that’s mostly because it’s great to have a good team when October rolls around (and good teams often go through stretches when they play great; ipso facto and all that).

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  • Nick is extremely right about this. The last few years have obviously been over-the-top, but winning a division – for the Cubs in the last 30ish years, especially – remains something to celebrate:

  • This would also mark the first time in over 100 years that the Cubs have made the playoffs three seasons in a row.

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  • Tommy Pham figures to be very unhappy about all of this (Hi, Tommy!):

(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

  • I guess I’ll step back and say that, for the players, this is their livelihood and their profession. Lester has gone through a rough patch and a down season, and is trying to adjust how he pitches. If he wasn’t in the mood to be light-hearted and silly about nacho cheese, I guess it would be a little unfair of me to rip him right now. That said, I try to remember at all times that the sport exists, first and foremost, to entertain fans. That’s literally the entire baseline reason it’s there. So when something like Nacho Man happens, and it’s funny and silly as hell? I’m going to pounce all over it, I’m not going to take myself too seriously, and I’m going to tweet things like this:

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  • Which leads to things like this:

  • Because who cares? Be ridiculous. Have fun. Life’s too short.
  • Luis caught a killer screenshot moment of Dexter Fowler last night:

  • Speaking of Fowler and his old friends:

  • I feel like I gotta pass this on, because why not:

  • Michael, that is extremely cold:

  • A scary moment in last night’s game as Yadier Molina took consecutive foul balls off of the face mask/helmet behind the plate. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that, and Molina was extremely shaken up. He appeared to vomit as he was helped from the field, and was subsequently placed in the concussion protocol. For his own long-term health and safety, I’m hoping he sits for at least a few days, if not the rest of the season.
  • Aaron Judge has 50 home runs, setting a new rookie record, and I am hypnotized:

  • A reminder that Fanatics has its 20% off all orders sale going on through tomorrow morning. Don’t miss out on a chance to peruse and get a discount on stuff that doesn’t otherwise go on sale.

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  • DON’T READ THIS BULLET IF YOU DON’T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT SPORTS DEMONSTRATIONS: I’m probably naive enough to get blasted by both sides for this, but I’ve been thinking for two days now about how those who want to make a demonstration about racial inequality in this country could do so publicly without entangling the flag/patriotism/the military. These protests aren’t actually about the National Anthem or the flag or the military, so is there a way to make the same demonstration without muddying the waters or offending earnest military supporters? To that end, I thought what the Cowboys did last night was really good – kneeling together as a team before the National Anthem, and then standing on the sidelines arm-in-arm for the song. And yet they still got booed and half-blasted by the President, which seems pretty unfair and off-point for what that side was claiming to oppose. If you’ve been opposed to the demonstrations during the anthem and you had a problem with what the Cowboys did, I’d be interested to hear your perspective. A good reason for that position might very well exist, and I just can’t think of it on my own.

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Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation.