I don’t know where to start other than to say,
“Everything is awesome! Everything is cool when you’re part of a team. Everything is awesome when we’re living our dream.”
I can see LEGO Chris Pratt bouncing around. I’ve been looking forward to this since the end of the season.
Aside from the holidays, this is one of my favourite parts of the year. The MLB playoffs. There have been some epic series, epic games, and they all get me and keep me excited for the next day. And they always and I mean always remind me what it’s like to be a kid again, how to love your teams, how to love the game. And I’ll text my brothers and my sister and my buddies going back and forth with what we just saw.
One of my best friends – my buddy Tad – is a diehard San Francisco Giants fan. When he asked me over the weekend whether I would be rooting for the Dodgers or the Cubs, I admittedly hesitated for a New York second, but pledged my allegiance to the Cubbies. He responded with “fair-weather fan”, to which I laughed. Most of my oldest friends know me as a diehard (Brooklyn and Los Angeles) Dodgers fan. I have been since I was seven years old, around the time I learned how to read my new language and later speak it. English was not easy, but it was worth it. And I grew up a diehard Red Sox fan too. Reading about them, I loved Sandy Koufax, Jackie Robinson, Gil Hodges, Roy Campanella for the Dodgers as well as host of others; and for the Red Sox, I loved Ted Williams, in my opinion, the greatest hitter the game has ever seen. As a little boy, I loved Steve Garvey and Freddie Lynn. The Dodgers mortal enemy was the (New York and San Francisco) Giants and both teams shared their utter hatred for the New York Yankees. It was great.
Before this season started, my brothers and I texted each other as we always do before every season. I picked the Royals and Mariners in the AL; and Nationals and Cardinals in the NL, with the Nats taking the title over the Royals. As the season played out, irrespective of records, I think the Pirates and the Royals have been the two best teams in the regular season. The Nats believed their own hype and succumbed to the pressure. The Giants seemed like they would take it at any moment to go on a run but just didn’t. The Mets have a team built for the playoffs. Outside of the magnificence of Kershaw and Greinke, the Dodgers don’t scare anyone. Never in my wildest dreams did I think the Cubbies would be in the playoffs, though Rizzo since the end of last season and Maddon since he took over from day one has been saying playoffs.
We now get to the whole reason I am writing this and why I am so excited.
These Cubbies. Game Only starts at 19:08 CST (the last year the Cubs won the World Series). Today is 10/7 (107 years since the last year the Cubs won the World Series). It’s time.
After twenty some years of mostly bad seasons with a few epic ones sprinkled in between, where the previous ten I actually lived in Chicago, the 2003 team finally captured my heart. Chicago was electric that year. I wanted more than anything for the Cubs (and the Red Sox) to win it all. With five outs to go against the Florida Marlins, it seemed like that wish would come true. All baseball fans know exactly what happened next. There were some years afterwards where it seemed the Cubs could shake their curse (with 2008 the year when they were clearly the best team in the National League, maybe all of baseball). The last five were not those years, losing anywhere from 87 to 101 games a year.
This year was different. Year four of Theo’s Plan was in full effect, a full year ahead of schedule and the Cubs won 97 games. All the talk, deservedly so, leading up to this game has been Jake Arrieta, the Cubs dominating pitcher, and one of the two leading candidates for the Cy Young this year. He’s done things I (and no one else for that matter) has ever seen (and that includes epic seasons by Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson and a host of others). 16-1 0.86 ERA in his last twenty starts. Since the All-Star break, he’s 12-1 0.75 ERA 0.73 WHIP and 113 K’s. Only three pitchers in the history of baseball has had a sub-1.00 ERA in the second half. His only loss was to Cole Hamels, who had to throw a no-hitter against the Cubs!!!! In terms of dominance, the last time the Cubs had a starter like this, you’d have to go back to Mark Prior and Kerry Wood, and Arrieta could be much much better than either of them in their heyday.
The Cubs have other things going for them too, including a really young nucleus where three rookies are starting and playing extremely well, led by an MVP candidate in 1B Rizzo, and have a great manager in Maddon. Plus, they have that “it” factor that a lot of teams that win it all need to have. Still, there are quite a few holes too. They are too young and too inexperienced at this level; though maybe that’s a plus. They’re too “dumb” to know any better. The lovable “idiots” carried the Red Sox to the title in 2004. More glaring however, is that behind Arrieta and post-season veteran Jon Lester, their starting pitching won’t scare anyone. The Cubs’ lineup won’t scare anyone. And the Cubs’ relief pitching scares all Cubs’ fans. And if the Cubs lose, it’s the relief pitching that I am most scared about.
On the other side, the Pirates I believe are the most complete team in the National League. All this talk of Arrieta is playing right into the hands of the Pirates stud pitcher Gerrit Cole, one of the top five pitchers in the NL. Mccutcheon is the best position player on either team.
If Arrieta mows them down, and keep the game to himself, the Cubs will win 1-0.
Could this be the year?
Go, Cubs, go.
Go, Cubs, go.
Hey, Chicago, what do you say?
The Cubs are gonna win today.
Go Adventure. Go Travel. Go Live.
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ALWAYS BE EPIC