Your afternoon reading – if you’re into weird baseball stuff, which, come on – comes via parts two and three of Jayson Stark’s annual Weird But True. Like I said before, it just blows my mind every year how many things happen in this sport that seem completely impossible or improbable or just downright bizarre. And Stark finds them all. I love these columns.
We talked about part one earlier this week because it was heavy on Cubs moments, but parts two and three are also worth your time. And, yes, there are more Cubs bits.
The starting pitcher in the All Star Game also hit a 513-foot HR in the Derby!
3 runs scored on a ball that traveled 1 foot in the air!
1 pitch=1 strikeout…and 1 win!
It's part 2 of my Strange But True Feats of 2021 – hitters, pitchers & Ohtani!https://t.co/R4tqNF6jew
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) December 28, 2021
Ready for Part 3 of my Strange But True trilogy? It's the one you've been waiting for…
The Strange But True Injuries of 2021!
The best of postseason weirdness.
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) December 29, 2021
Among the Cubs items, you knew the combined no-hitter would come in for a mention – though maybe not what you’d expect:
So if you didn’t think there was such a thing as the Curse of the No-Hitter before, this should put you over the top. On June 24 at Dodger Stadium, the “first-place” Cubs spun a combined no-hitter against the Dodgers. Those two teams then proved this whole curse thing was more powerful than we even knew.
The Cubs lost their next 11 games in a row, plummeting from first place to nine games out of first. The Dodgers did the whole boomerang-curse thing by winning their next nine in a row. There had never been two dueling streaks like that, involving two teams that got mixed up in the same no-hitter, in the history of baseball. And that’s the only part of both of those streaks that feels even remotely logical.
We knew the combined no-hitter – which was fun! – had clearly cursed the Cubs’ season, but I didn’t realize it sent the Dodgers off on their way. Heck, it was strange-but-true enough that Zach Davies was the guy who started that no-hitter!
A non-Cubs one, but I just have to share it. Just blows my mind:
This was the 117th postseason in baseball history. Never once, in all those many Octobers, had any team smoked a first-inning grand slam and still lost . . . until Game 2 of this year’s ALDS, when the Rays couldn’t make a Jordan Luplow slam hold up against the Red Sox . . . but then the Braves did that same thing after an Adam Duvall first-inning slam in Game 5 of the World Series. . . . So let’s recap: This happened no times in 116 postseasons and then happened twice in four weeks this October, because . . . baseball!