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Astros Tie Up the World Series, The Chop is Terrible, Cubs Are Good for Ratings, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The kiddos have Trick-or-Treat tonight, which is always a lot of fun for me. Their excitement is contagious, and I love seeing all the other kids out there running around going nuts. We didn’t get to do it last year, so I’m very happy.

•   The Braves scored early and often in Game 1 of the World Series, and the Astros returned the favor in Game 2. It was another game with a healthy early lead that the winner did not relinquish. Astros take Game 2:

•   I know some don’t like the fake runner at second base thing, but how do they feel about the phantom third baseman:

•   I think people liked watching the Chicago Cubs in the World Series:

•   Obviously that series was not only about the Cubs, though they were likely the bigger draw than the Indians. It was the Cubs’ first World Series in 71 years, and with a very large national fan base, a huge audience was a lock. And that Game 7 spike, holy smokes. I mean, when you have the chance to see EXTREME HISTORY, you watch. So a lot of people did. None of that will be replicable in the future.

•   … but it does make me wonder how well a Cubs World Series would do now, relative to other recent series. I tend to think it would still be on the higher end of the spectrum, and if it were against a marquee opponent, it would be all the more true. I’m sure MLB and TV execs salivate at the possibility, someday, of a Cubs-Yankees World Series. Let that be a general reminder to the Cubs that (1) winning is really good for everyone, and (2) cultivating and maintaining a national fanbase is important.

•   Speaking of national fandom, Rob Manfred seemingly put his foot in his mouth when trying to explain why MLB wasn’t going to do anything about “The Chop,” the condescending, dehumanizing, and racist motion performed by Atlanta Braves fans (and effectively encouraged by the team and TV networks). Here was Manfred trying to explain why it’s OK because it’s just a local thing … and it’s good for business … or something (via The Athletic, and via Chelsea Janes):

“It’s important to understand that we have 30 markets around the country. They’re not all the same,” Manfred said. “The Braves have done a phenomenal job with the Native American community. The Native American community in that region is wholly supportive of the Braves’ program, including the chop. For me, that’s kind of the end of the story. In that market, taking into account the Native American community, it works ….

“I don’t know how every Native American group around the country feels. I am 100 percent certain that the Braves understand what the Native American community in their region believes and that they’ve acted in accordance with that understanding ….

“We don’t market our game on a nationwide basis. Ours is an everyday game. You’ve gotta sell tickets every single day to the fans in that market. And there are all sorts of differences between the regions in terms of how the teams are marketed.”

•   Just an eye-poppingly, head-scratchingly bizarre response. In so many ways. The National Congress of American Indians responded exactly as you’d expect, and maybe people should start listening:

“Yesterday, Commissioner Manfred stated that the question of whether the ‘Braves’ mascot and ‘tomahawk chop’ fan ritual are offensive to Native people is only a local issue. He similarly asserted the league does ‘not market our game on a nationwide basis.’ Nothing could be further from the truth. Major League Baseball is a global brand, it markets its World Series nationally and internationally, and the games played in Atlanta this weekend will be viewed by tens of millions of fans across the country and around the world. Meanwhile, the name ‘Braves,’ the tomahawk adorning the team’s uniform, and the ‘tomahawk chop’ that the team exhorts its fans to perform at home games are meant to depict and caricature not just one tribal community but all Native people, and that is certainly how baseball fans and Native people everywhere interpret them,” said NCAI President Fawn Sharp. “Consequently, the league and team have an obligation to genuinely listen to Tribal Nations and leaders across the United States about how the team’s mascot impacts them. NCAI, a consensus-based congress composed of hundreds of Tribal Nations from every region of this country, has made its categorical opposition to Native ‘themed’ mascots abundantly clear to sports teams, schools, and the general public for more than five decades. In our discussions with the Atlanta Braves, we have repeatedly and unequivocally made our position clear – Native people are not mascots, and degrading rituals like the ‘tomahawk chop’ that dehumanize and harm us have no place in American society. NCAI calls on the team to follow the example set by the Cleveland Guardians, and we call on Major League Baseball and the FOX Broadcasting Company to refrain from showing the ‘tomahawk chop’ when it is performed during the nationally televised World Series games in Atlanta.”

•   With the World Series shifting to Atlanta tomorrow night, this is going to be squarely on everyone’s radar. Not that Atlanta hasn’t had a heads up for years. Heck, it was only two years ago in the postseason that Cardinals reliever Ryan Helsey, a Cherokee Nation member, said that The Chop was disrespectful and portrayed Native Americans as “caveman-type people.” Braves fans did The Chop *while he was on the mound* in the playoffs.

•   If you didn’t see the note yesterday that the pitch clock is almost certainly coming to MLB soon-ish, you should check that out, and then check out this deeper dive at The Athletic on how it played in Low-A West this year. Those who actually experienced it really liked it. Increasingly, the only complaints you hear are (1) baseball is a game without a clock and that’s how it should always be (for which the response is pretty easy, in my opinion: this isn’t THAT kind of clock, so stop saying that); (2) big league players don’t want to have to adjust their routines (for which, again, the response is pretty easy: tough shit, because a lot of your routines are really mucking up the pace of the game, so deal with it). I don’t know when exactly the switch flipped for me, but I’ve gone from a “yeah, I think I’d be OK with a pitch clock” guy to a HARDLINER. The pitch clock needs to happen. Get it right and be open to player feedback, yes. But the dead time has just become so ridiculous. The games are supposed to be entertainment, not a ceremony that features five minutes of silence between each burst of activity.

•   Ninja food gear, Shark vacuums, and more are your Epic Daily Deals over at Amazon. #ad

•   The story of Trent Giambrone:



Author: Brett Taylor

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