Chicago Cubs. We Believe.

Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Cubs have been in this position before. A 3-2 NLCS series lead. That was thirteen years ago and we know the outcome. There was blame put on this poor guy so unjustly criticized for hoping to catch a souvenir, instead catching hell and shame.

Tonight is different. The Cubs have earned this right to be here. They finished the season with the best record in baseball, fought back from adversity in this NLCS and now they can entertain the thought of advancing to their first World Series appearance since 1945.

Baseball fans across the world will be tuned in tonight, holding their breaths, praying for hope. This game will beat you up, staying up well past bedtimes and coming into work as if you’ve caught the red eye from Los Angeles back home to Sweet Chicago.

Celebrities can crash White House briefings all they want declaring their love for Chicago’s North Side darlings but in the end, once 8PM eastern hits, it’ll be Kyle Hendricks on the mound in front of 48 000+ faithful who will have his back because baseball is a lonely game. There’s only one player on one base at one time. One batter facing one pitcher waiting for a 90MPH piece of rubber and leather to come hurling towards him like a planet expecting a meteor to change history.

2016 could go down as one of the strangest years in history. Donald Trump could be President of the United States of America and the Chicago Cubs might be World Series Champions. I’ll let you digest that for a moment.

“Don’t anyone tell you that it’s just a game.” few truer words have been sung. Yesterday morning I tried to wake my son up for school, he’s six years old and getting up at 7AM is hard sometimes when it doesn’t require cartoons and Shreddies. I whispered in his ear,

“The Cubs won.”

He raised one finger, his eyes still closed, “One win away.” then he went back to sleep.

Tonight, the Chicago Cubs can punch their tickets to the World Series. In order to do that they must play like kids. No pretence, no knowledge that the pitcher they’re facing is the best in the world. Pure sandlot ball. The belief that when that ball connects with maple, it’s going to go far. There’s no other pitcher I’d rather have on the mound than Kyle Hendricks. He’s earned the start.  He’ll need to go deep into the game allowing Aroldis Chapman to do his thing. That’s it.

You see, the Chicago Cubs have escalated into something more than a baseball team. If they win tonight and advance to the World Series, it’ll mean that everything we teach to our children will be true. If they believe in something, it’ll happen.

Wrigley Field is a place like no other. We all can’t be there tonight but for those who haven’t been there, like Vedder said, “I’m sorry for you” the smells of freshly cut grass, hot dogs and sticky beer. The sounds of Pop! as baseballs get tucked into gloves and the sun’s heat,  the comfort food of the soul.

Ernie Banks knew it. Ron Santo believed it. Eddie Vedder is right.

We’re going all the way

Tonight, “Let’s Play Two”

Believe it.

 

 

 

Cubs Won’t Break Curse If They Sign Chapman

Jason Heyward

The Cubs are off to their second best start in team history after a 6-0 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks. It also seems that Wrigley Field is becoming more of the place where good things happen for the Cubs. Their record at home is a fantastic 21-7.

What’s impressing me so much this year is the pitching of John Lackey. At first I wasn’t sure if he’d fit into the rotation being an older pitcher but man, what a job he’s been doing. Yesterday was no exception. He pitched shutout baseball for 6 2/3 innings.

“I take a lot of pride in being somebody you can count on, somebody who takes the ball and somebody who goes deep into games and somebody who you know what you’re going to get.” Lackey said.

We all know that the Chicago Cubs have been marred by a history of curses,

Black Cats

Chicago Cubs

and just plain old WTF’s but this season is different. There’s a hint of respectability and a transition from the “Lovable Losers” to potential World Series Champions. Having the worst drought in professional sports history is a huge albatross to hang around the neck so without possibly hurting the cause, I’m going to that place where few Cubs fans fear to go;

Are the 2016 Chicago Cubs the best team in history?

  • They are on pace to win 111 games.
  • They are leading in All Star Voting
  • They have a Cy Young winner in Jake Arrieta
  • 2015 NL Manager of The Year in Joe Maddon
  • 2015 NL Rookie of The Year in Kris Bryant

The odds of winning the World Series are in their favour. So, I’m not jinxing anything here by posing this next question.

Should the Cubs sign Aroldis Chapman at the deadline? There’s a rumour about it.

Listen, I’m not a big fan of guys like Chapman who do bad things.  The integrity of the game lies in the fact that players come to the games and compete well and off the field are great human beings. There’s no denying that Chapman has pedigree being the hardest hurler in the majors. I don’t think there’s a place for him in the clubhouse, just my gut talking but there might be some bad mojo happening should the Cubs pursue him.

Believe It

 

 

Cubs Rookie Javier Baez is a Hit

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Colorado Rockies

So evidently fairy tales can come true. Yesterday, Javier Baez, the Wonder Kid hit his first Home Run. Yeah,
I would have liked to have been beside Ron Santo’s seat somewhere in the great beyond after seeing that ball soar. The Cubs went on to win, 6-5

“He’s got a very powerful swing, obviously,” Rick Renteria said. “For the first game, I’m sure he got it under his belt now, and he’ll see that, ‘Hey, I can do this.'”

He does have a powerful swing. For those that have never had a chance to see it, do so quickly because it’s a rocket.

Now, I don’t want to be a “Told you so” guy, but check this out:

Almost like I have one of those crystal balls. Not only did he get the Home Run, but he received the final out. The Cubs are on a roll now. Still, a long ways away from the post season, but could a .500 season be attainable?

Perhaps, but right now, Mrs. Baez is very proud of her son. We all are too. Don’t get excited for the parades just yet. This is one game and every game isn’t going to be like this one.

“Oh, but C’mon” you might say? I’m afraid not, my friends.

What’s blown me away and scared me a little by Javy is the ferocity in that swing. Either he can burn himself out or he could tear up the league and into the history books with that kind of power.

You have to admit though, the Cubs are a much improved team with that kid. There’s some great things on the horizon and I’ve got a feeling that the best is yet to come.

“It’s all about the team,” Baez said.

Believe it.

—Mark

Starlin Castro: Cub’s Comeback Kid.

CT cubs-mets018.JPG

When Starlin Castro came up to the big leagues just over four years ago to all the hype, everyone, including myself believed he’d be the guy to take the Cubs to the next level. His playing has been up and down. At times, flashes of the wonder kid appeared and last year his numbers plummeted. It could of been his off distractions. Kids’ll do that to ya. It could have been his lack of focus and head scratching plays.

Last night, Starlin Castro drove in three runs. He made some mistakes as well, but in the end, it was those runs that mattered. This season, Starlin has regained his composure and reclaimed the “Wonder Kid” moniker. It’s a good omen when someone’s first at bat is a home run and Ron Santo getting all excited at Starlin Castro. if Santo was excited, that’s good enough for me.

Then there’s the swinging doors of the manager situation where every guy in charge seems to want to put their own stamp on the team. That is normal and I completely understand, but what the Cubs have this year is a manager in Rick Renteria who is really just a kid himself.

Starlin Castro will always be cool with me. Why? Because our son was born that same season when Starlin was called up. As my wife and I watch Darcy grow up, we’re watching the maturation of Starlin Castro too. He let’s me know when Castro’s up to plate. Who needs the player tracker anyway? So, I know there’ll be a day when Starlin is wearing another uniform but until that day comes, we’ll enjoy him playing in the pinstripes.ven though

Even though there were mistakes in the end, it’s that comeback win that counts.

Eternal Optimists

“Hope is a good thing, maybe the best thing and no good thing ever dies.”

—Red

That was a quote from probably the best movie of the 1990’s, Shawshank Redemption.  Ok, Unforgiven is the best, but,”It’s a hell of a thing killin’ a man” doesn’t seem to fit with this post.

The Chicago Cubs should post that saying in the clubhouse this season because it is a good thing.  During the offseason, the Cubs lost probably their biggest fan, Ron Santo.  If there was a rain delay, he’d be the first to say, “That’s ok, we’ll wait.”  Then he would talk about the Cubs with the enthusiasm of a child.  That’s what baseball is all about.

Which got me to thinking about this post.  We all know it’s been a long time since their last championship.  There is no curse. 

I could say that I’m excited about our son’s first Cubs season as he plays quietly on the floor with his My Pal Scout, all decked out head to toe in his Cubs gear not really interested in Opening Day.  My wife will wink and nod when Dempster gets his first strikeout of the 2011 season and I spill my beer,”Sorry Beautiful, I’ll get it.”

Naysayers will change their tune about the Pena deal when he hits his first one over the ivy.

There’s no room for pessimism in baseball.  It won’t build championships.

I’m excited about the changes the Cubs made during the offseason but most importantly, I’m excited because this is our son’s first season as a Cubs fan and I can tell him everything he needs to know about Chicago.

Baseball is about hope.  Baseball is about families. Baseball is fun. 

On Opening Day, everyone is a champion.

“There’s only one thing left to do; win the whole thing.”

—Major League

–Mark Gauthier

Ron Santo is getting a statue

Ron Santo may not be in the Hall of Fame, but he is in the Hall that is the best and that is in the fans hearts.  Number 10  will become a permanent fixture at Wrigley Field.  On August 10 before the Cubs meet the Nationals, The Cubs will unveil a statue of Ron Santo.

This will be the fourth statue outside Wrigley Field. Santo will be joining Ernie Banks, Bernie Williams and Harry Cary outside the sacred Wrigley Field.

Ron Santo passed away December 3 2010 at the age of 70.

—Mark Gauthier

Funeral for a fan and a legend

Yesterday, friends and family came to share their experiences and anecdotes about the late Ron Santo.

It’s ironic to think that Ron Santo passed away shortly before the Winter Meetings.  If there was a better time for a him, that was it.  The Winter Meetings bring hope and,”What if’s” for fans and players alike. There’s no one better to pass the torch than Ron Santo.

It’s also ironic to think that Mr. Santo’s funeral was the day after the meetings.  Just as the Cubs signed Carlos Pena and started dreaming about a run for the World Series.

Next year his #10 will flap proudly over Wrigley Field and the Cubs.  He didn’t bring a World Series to Chicago, he brought something better;  He brought hope and the love of the game.  I’m sure someday when the longest drought in sports history is over, we’ll all look over our shoulders or tilt our heads to the sky, we’ll hear something but don’t know exactly where it came from, “Unbelievable, the Cubs win!”

—Mark Gauthier

Always a Cub

The tributes are pouring in for Ron Santo.  I wasn’t around during his playing days, but watching footage I wish I were.

Some people have memories of Ron playing, but I guess the great memories I have are 1) Starlin Castro hitting his first home run and hearing Ron get so excited about it.  I loved that!

The other memory is this clip I found off of You Tube.

Check it out!

—Mark Gauthier

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVIPCut80a0