I held the door for someone this morning and she said, “Thank you, have a blessed day.” So I’m gonna. I hope you have a blessed day, too.
• The stars shined the brightest for the Dodgers last night, and when you have a shitload of “stars” like the Dodgers, that means you probably won by a lot. Which they did, beating the Rays 8-3 in Game One of the World Series:
• Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts homered and dazzled in the field/on the bases, as they do, and Clayton Kershaw was historically good:
From @PaulHembo: Clayton Kershaw’s swing-and-miss wasn’t just significant for him personally, it was significant historically: In Game 1, Kershaw became the only pitcher to generate a 50% swing-and-miss rate in a World Series start. (Pitch-by-pitch data available since 1988)
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) October 21, 2020
• Bonus Mookie factoid:
With his home run tonight, @mookiebetts became the first player to ever homer, steal two bases and score two runs in a #WorldSeries game. The only other player to homer and steal two bases in a Fall Classic game was Philadelphia's Chase Utley in Game 1 of the 2008 World Series.
— MLB Communications (@MLB_PR) October 21, 2020
• It is impossible to watch these Dodgers in the postseason and not think about how obscenely talented and deep they are, in a way the Cubs are so very far off from. To be sure, very few teams will ever be as good and deep as these Dodgers, and very few organizations will be set up in a way to keep churning at this level. The Dodgers not only have the deepest reservoir of cash in the game outside of New York, but they’ve also deployed it – throughout the organization – very wisely. They are special, and it isn’t just the money advantage.
• HOWEVER, the Cubs organization was supposed to become that type of organization. Robust, innovative, perennially loaded and financially supported. The initial rebuild was badass and nearly flawlessly executed. But then so much that has come after 2016 appears to have been clunky, ineffective, complacent and archaic. Obviously much of what has happened over the past few years screwed the Cubs’ plans up a bit with some flukey bad luck and timing, but that’s hardly the bulk of what has gone wrong at an organizational level. The wins have been great. The World Series was great. Getting to the postseason so many times has been great. But it’s not unfair to note that the post-2021 cliff that many of us have feared for years – that the Cubs, themselves, have talked about avoiding – looks at precipitous as ever, just one year out. The organization has not done the things it needed to do in order to optimally smooth into the coming years in a competitive way. What that will ultimately mean in 2021-2022-2023-and-beyond, we’ll see.
• I’m reminded of some of Theo Epstein’s season-ending comments, which could have come from any of the last three years:
“There’s always a trade-off of being transactional and taking some of those players away from the current group and solidifying the future,” Epstein said. “There are trade-offs and balances that you have to be mindful of. The math simply changes as you get to a point where a lot of your best players only have one year left. It becomes less appealing to continue to invest opportunity cost in simply the present.
“We have to find a way to win in 2021 and also solidify a future. It’s not enough to just move forward completely as is and then deal with these issues at the end of next year. These are issues we’ve been mindful of. We’ve been making adjustments as we go. But the sort of impactful, significant moves that change the mix and set ourselves up better for post-2021 have not gotten across the finish line.”
• The Cubs’ partner in Marquee has had a rough year in the sports RSN business:
Uh oh: Sinclair's RSNs "and its creditors are preparing for a possible restructuring of its roughly $8 billion debt load, a sign of the pressure on the sports industry from Covid-19." WSJ's @gladstonea and @Lilliannnn with the scoop. https://t.co/pmheRevmBR
— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) October 21, 2020
• While this may or may not wind up bad news for Sinclair and its wholly-owned RSNs, the Cubs’ connection is a little more attenuated (Sinclair is a partner in Marquee, but Cubs are the majority owner, as I understand it). I think the news here as it relates to the Cubs and Marquee is probably less about financial troubles at Sinclair, which have been ongoing long before the pandemic, and more about the pandemic’s impact on sports broadcasting. It has no doubt been a bad year overall for RSNs, and I’m sure they’re hoping they can just bridge into 2021 when sports – as far as broadcasting is concerned – might be closer to normal. We’ll keep an eye on this one, though, as anything that threatens the continued rollout of Marquee is bad news for the Cubs – it’s already been a challenging start, thanks in part to things entirely out of the network’s control, and in part to unforced errors.
• This is a bad sports opinion, even if you weren’t considering a city like Chicago that has two baseball teams:
If you’re a true fan, you adopt all of a city’s teams.
Way too many folks love the Braves, but hate the Falcons, etc. Weak as hell.
It doesn’t work that way. And I’m here to collect your fan cards.
Pick a city + accept all of their teams.
Don’t be a one team band wagoner.
— Marc Ryan (@MarcRyanOnAir) October 20, 2020
• What do you say? Are you eating this enormous sandwich:
Everything is bigger in Texas including the $27.50 Boomstick, which is a 2-foot all-beef hot dog, smothered in chili, nacho cheese, jalapenos and caramelized onion. It weighs three pounds. #WorldSeries #Dodgers pic.twitter.com/KIVHtHOSnh
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) October 20, 2020
Today In 1975: All-time classic instant replay of Boston #RedSox catcher Carlton Fisk waving his walk-off HR fair in the 12th inning of World Series Game 6 at Fenway Park! #MLB #Baseball #History #WorldSeries pic.twitter.com/MMuEhY3VJk
— Baseball by BSmile (@BSmile) October 21, 2020
• We can do it, Bears fans. Give our Bears coverage a follow on Twitter before Monday night:
It's a pretty aggressive ask, since we're 616 followers away, but I think it would be the bee's knees if we could get our Bears coverage to 25K followers by their Monday Night game. Hook us up! Here: @BN_Bears pic.twitter.com/NPstM8iNmN
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) October 20, 2020