Thanks to an extremely generous BN’er (thanks again, Andy! Great time!), Michael and I were able to take in last night’s game at Wrigley Field. The atmosphere, of course, was electric, and the crowd was completely immersed in the game from the first pitch until well after the final pitch. Minutes after ‘Go Cubs Go’ had ended, the stadium was still entirely full. I turned to Michael and wondered openly … “what’s going on? Why is nobody leaving?” I realized then that we weren’t leaving, either. You just don’t want to leave those moments behind.
Also, you are redeemed, humanity: on the way to the park, one of the member’s of our group lost their ticket. Despite our searching, we could not find it. We headed to the box office in the faint hopes that they could replace the ticket if we showed proof of, well, something. Before we could even full flesh out that potential battle, one of the Cubs’ employees overheard our conversation, and stepped forward with a ticket. The ticket. The lost one. Some good samaritan out there had found the ticket – an extremely valuable and easily marketable ticket* – and turned it in to the Cubs’ box office. Night saved. Heart saved. Good on you, whoever you are. I owe the universe some karmic paying it forward.
- Things are looking pretty good for the Cubs at this point in the NLDS, which should not surprise you, being that they were already favored and are now up 2-0. Even if you’re sour on tomorrow’s match-up between Jake Arrieta and Madison Bumgarner (I’d still call it a coin toss game, but whateves), the Cubs would thereafter still have two cracks at taking the series. FanGraphs now has the Cubs’ odds of winning the series at nearly 91%. FiveThirtyEight concurs, at 92%.
- Through those two NLDS games, by the way? Cubs pitchers have not issued a single walk. That’s almost unbelievable, but it’s been a great group going for the Cubs. How about that bullpen performance last night, eh?
- Kyle Hendricks seems to be OK after taking a liner off the forearm and exiting last night’s game in the fourth inning (Cubs.com). Hendricks believed he could at least finish the inning, but the problem – correctly diagnosed, it turned out – was that his arm was going to swell as soon as he sat down anyway, leading to him probably not being as effective. The good news is that, because of the playoff schedule, Hendricks was not going to be needed again until a week from today at the earliest – and the Cubs can bump that back an additional two days if they want to make him the Game Three starter in the NLCS. *Not* that I’m counting any chickens.
- Hendricks contributed with his bat before he left though, hitting a bases-loaded two-run single. Huge props to Javy Baez on the play, because with no outs and the outfield playing extremely shallow, AND with him still taking time to read the play, he managed to score from second base on the hit. It was pretty incredible baserunning, but, well, you know, Javy gonna Javy.
- Commissioner Rob Manfred is not opposed to his players being demonstrative on the field, and showing the emotion the accompanies big moments. Viva bat flips!
- … and swag-y bat drops, like Javy Baez’s beauty on his homer in Game One of the NLDS. Of course, the fact that that ball only barely got out of Wrigley Field thanks to the strong wind led to another discussion about that bat drop – did Baez make a mistake not immediately busting it out of the box? On the one hand, that thing was monster-crushed, was a huge moment late in the game, and it’s pretty hard not to enjoy it. On the other hand, we saw what happened just last night on a ball that, off the bat, looked like it would be gone. But it hit the wall, Angel Pagan got it back in quickly, and Baez had to turn on the jets to get to second base. Baez says he’s going to run hard no matter how far he hits the next one (CSN).
- On that play, by the way, I have the same thoughts I had when it happened to the Giants in the Wild Card Game: the runner came off the base for a fraction of a second while the tag was still on, so he’s out. That’s clear. But the question is whether we want replay to be able to be utilized in situations like that, where the runner clearly beats the initial tag, and then because physics is hard, there’s an almost imperceptible moment where the runner leaves the base.
- Randomly perused ‘Star Wars’ collectible stuff on Amazon, wound up in the cool-but-whoa-pricey section.
*Being that it was a seat right next to us, we did wonder openly what we would do if we went in and there was someone in the seat. Since it was going to have been scalped at that point, it’s a bit hard to tell that person to get out, because it’s not like they knew they were buying a lost ticket. Anyway. We never had to get to that point, but it opened up some tricky moral questions.