Favorite tweets from Game 3 2016 NLCS

The Cubs may have lost game three of the NLCS to the Dodgers, but I’m still celebrating the Cubs loss. Here are my favorite tweets from the game:

#WhiteSox fans remember Rich Hill as the guy on the mound when this happened:
That’s a pretty funny trivia point! Going way retro. Hard to believe there are still active players today from that game.

I love pop ups.
Cubbies were doing a lot of this during the game.

If the Cubs get shut down by Rich Hill 40 years after he crapped his pants against Arizona in the NLDS, I’m going to lose my mind.
Yeah, bizarre how THE Rich Hill of the 2007 Cubs is the same unstoppable pitcher the Cubs are facing tonight.

The Cubs are currently trailing a pitcher who spent a good part of the third inning yelling at a fly.
Rich Hill looked like a crazy old man on the mound talking to invisible people. I’m glad someone else noticed.

Nice of the fans to throw a beach ball on the field, but I'm not sure the #Cubs could hit that either.
A bit of a stupid joke, but truth to it in this game.

Cubs need to steal some signs. Fairly soon.
This is in reference to the Dodgers catcher claiming that Zobrist as a runner on second was stealing signs from him, and relaying it to the Cubs hitters. Uhh, ok. You guys still won that game, y’know.

Suggested Cubs batting order: 1 Bryant 2 Bryant 3 Bryant 4 Bryant 5 Bryant 6 Bryant 7 Bryant 8 Bryant 9 Bryant  Would have 9x the hits
Bryant is having a decent series. Let’s clone him.

If moron Cogs had just run into Blanton might have gotten interference.
I thought the same thing! How can the pitcher not have been called on interference? Oh wait. Coughlan slid into first avoiding the pitcher.

While I don’t like crass language, this tweet got me to totally laugh out loud. There are so many of these stupid pill ads on the game! I have to get up and walk around between innings just to avoid them.

#Dodgers #Cubs Anybody remember when Angel Hernandez was a quality umpire?  Neither do I
A tweet from a Dodger fan. We can all unite in our dislike for Angel Hernandez. Look out, he’s making the calls behind the plate in game 4!

Love Rizzo putting his arm around his teammates in the dugout.
Cubs announcer made a nice observation about Rizzo, so I replied back with some larger-than-baseball thoughts on humanity.

Kinda sums up Twitter. You give a thought and someone takes actual time out of their life to tell you it doesn't matter. I love people.
And then some schmuck has to be all jerky about Len’s tweet, and Len gets all disappointed in Twitter. #sigh

Programming note: Fox has changed the start time for the remaining games of the NLCS to 19:08.
This is totally bizarre. It’s true too! Not only is the start time 19:08 (a reference to when the Cubs last won the World Series in 1908), but Fox did change the start time. The last two games had an undetermined start time, so this choice by Fox at this point in the game was rather… odd.

You know its a bad night when Baez can't make a play. 6-0
Báez bumpled a play to home plate–granted there was no error, and he wasn’t going to get the runner out anyways. But still.

If I don't squint, the score kinda looks like 0-0. And that's comforting.
I should have glasses, but I don’t. So I find this really amusing, because sometimes I get the score wrong just by looking at the TV.

Teams with consecutive shutout wins with 4 or fewer hits allowed in a #Postseason series:
This is the MOST FREAKIEST stat ever! The 1908 Cubs and the 1919 White Sox. And now the 2016 Cubs. Whoaaaa.

UPDATE: A couple more tweets I found through a twitter search for #NLCSGame3

Anthony Rizzo wins "Troll of the Year" for stealing that base after 80 consecutive pickoff attempts by Rich Hill #NLCSGame3
This steal was fantastic! Rizzo has only three steals for the entire 2016 season, yet for some reason Rich Hill kept throwing to first. Even Ken Rosenthal asked Rich Hill about it in the post-game interview. Hill totally avoided the question!

Any chance Arrieta is distracted by Larry King eating in the front row? #NLCSGame3 @wlsam890
At the start of the game, I was wondering if that was Larry King. One time my family had front-row seats behind home plate. Back in 2005.

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Rich Hill uniform number collector

Rich Hill Game 3 2016 NLCS

Tonight former Cub Rich Hill faces his old team in the National League playoffs. Everyone is like, “Rich Hill? THAT guy who used to be a Cub? HIM? #CracksKnuckles #BringIt”

What can I tell you about Rich Hill?

1) Fun autograph

He has a snappy autograph. He uses the bridge in the H to dot the i.

Rich Hill autograph

2) A weird 2007 year for the Cubs

He was a Cub from 2005 to 2008. In his third year with the club, he had a very odd statisical year.

  • 6th in the NL for most Hits per 9 IP
  • 8th for most Strikeouts per 9 IP
  • Weird. players either got hits off him, or struck out. Or got hit by a pitch from him.

  • 9th for most Hit by Pitch

What a freaking weird year for him.

3. Released 14 times

From 2005 to 2016, teams let him go 14 times.

  1. February 2, 2009: Purchased by the Baltimore Orioles from the Chicago Cubs.
  2. November 3, 2009: Granted Free Agency from the Cubs.
  3. June 30, 2010: Granted Free Agency from the St. Louis Cardinals.
  4. November 6, 2010: Granted Free Agency from the Boston Red Sox.
  5. December 12, 2011: Granted Free Agency from the Boston Red Sox.
  6. November 30, 2012: Granted Free Agency from the Boston Red Sox.
  7. October 31, 2013: Granted Free Agency from the Cleveland Indians.
  8. March 24, 2014: Released by the Boston Red Sox.
  9. July 1, 2014: Purchased by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim from the Boston Red Sox.
  10. July 9, 2014: Released by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
  11. October 30, 2014: Granted Free Agency from the New York Yankees.
  12. June 24, 2015: Released by the Washington Nationals.
  13. November 2, 2015: Granted Free Agency from the Boston Red Sox.
  14. August 1, 2016: Traded by the Oakland Athletics with Josh Reddick to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Grant Holmes (minors), Jharel Cotton and Frankie Montas.

Only one of those 14 involved a trade. The rest was released to free agency or simply released. The Cubs even sold him to the Orioles (I’m not sure for how much).

4) A number collector

Rich Hill's collection of uniform numbers
Look at all of Rich Hill’s uniform/numbers! It’s like he collects them. After his second stint with 51, that he was like, “aww screw it, just give me any number.”

That’s what I have for Rich Hill: Fun autograph. A weird 2007 year for the Cubs. Released 14 times. A number collector.

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Celebrating our losses

It doesn’t matter much to me that the Cubs lost the second game of the NLCS yesterday. What I will remember is Baez’s very smart play where he let the ball bounce before fielding it, to create a double play. Years from now, you don’t remember exactly what games were won, and in what order. Can you remember the exact wins or losses from the Cubs in the 2003 NLCS? Likely you remember Bartman–an event. But do you remember the win-losses of each game? The Marlins won the first game, remember that? Probably not.

Last year the Cubs defeated the Cardinals in the division series. Looking back, the Cubs won the series 3-1. I didn’t even remember that the Cardinals won the first game. But you know what I do remember? Kyle Schwarber’s homerun that landed on the videoboard! It’s the specific plays we remember, not the win-loss tally.

The 1989 playoffs, I don’t remember how many games the Cubs lost by. But I do remember Mark Grace and Will Clark both having an incredible series.

In the 2016 division series, the Cubs lost a 13-inning game to the Giants. I will remember Bryan’s carbomb that tied the game up in the top of the ninth against the premeire closer Sergio Romo.

This year I’ve been saying that in addition to celebrating our wins, we should also be celebrating our losses. Let’s look for the positives in a game, and not be so focused on winning. Whatever happened to the phrase we would teach kids, “it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.” At what point in our lives does this no longer matter? Why stop adhering to this principal of how we live our lives is more important than the result? Winning is NOT everything. Yet we hear athletes over and over again saying, “I play to win. I’m only here to win.”

Sure, this is an attempt at humility. Putting the team before yourself. Humility in sports is certainly to be praised. But the humility has to have the right intention. Saying you only want your team to win really isn’t an act of humility. It’s saying you want your group of people to be more important than another group of people.

I hope we play sports for the challenge of performing our best, win or lose. We don’t play solely to win. If we lose, we should celebrate the great performances in our losses.

It’s like if all of the sudden your team didn’t score as many runs, that people’s attitudes completely change about the game. Everything is seen through a lens of negativity. Everything they did was not good enough, or bad. But certainly there are moments in a loss where you can point to great effort. And if there isn’t great effort displayed, then we can take that as a lesson for ourselves to put in the effort to do our best. To appreciate others, despite the win or loss.

In my earlier examples of performances, I noted individual Cub players great accomplishments in various playoff series. I should also be noting the opponent’s great work as well. Watching sports with this sort of attitude of appreciating both sides efforts reduces your stress. It reduces your anger. It reduces your rage. We certainly don’t need more stress, anger, and rage in our lives.

It’s time to celebrate our losses and our opponent’s wins.

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Church liturgical colors during summer match Wrigley Field

Father Burke Masters has been holding Sunday mass at Wrigley Field for four years. (MLB.com)

For the last four years, Father Burke Masters has held mass at Wrigley Field before Sunday home games, inviting beer vendors, ushers and anyone who works at the ballpark. Before Sunday night’s 1-0 loss to the Dodgers, Cubs catcher Miguel Montero joined the group in Section 209 along the left-field line.

Read the rest: Montero joins mass at Wrigley to give thanks

See how Father Burke is wearing green? The pastors change their vestments according to the season of the church year. Very interesting coincidence that during the summer, the priests’ vestments are green. Which matches up nicely with the green in Wrigley Field.

Catholic liturgical colors

Catholic vestments

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Cubs 4-run 9th inning 2016 NLDS comeback win predicted in 8th inning

The Cubs were pretty down throughout game 4 of the NLDS. Despite leading the series 2-1, the Giants and their silly #Believen were about to tie up the series. Giants pitcher some how limited the Cubs to only two hits through eight innings. Things looked bad. But in the 8th inning, I predicted four runs in the 9th!

Everyone on twitters was so NEGATIVE, so I wanted to be positive. This is the 2016 Cubs. They find a way.

In the 8th inning I tweeted:

Cubs hit grand slam in 9th. #prediction #nlds #game4

The Cubs certainly got four runs in the 9th!–just not through a grand slam. This was the largest 9th inning comeback EVER in postseason history.

Cubs reporter Carrie Muskat tweeted that the Giants pulled their starter Matt Moore, I responded to Carrie with two words. Grand Slam.

Grand Slam

Derrick Law was the first relief pitcher. Before he pitched, I predicted the Cubs would destroy him.

The Cubs to break the Law. #nlds

My brother Erik says, “They [Fox Sports] showed way too much of Derek Law in game 3. And then they showed him near the beginning of game 4 and freaked out. Fortunately they didn’t show him again until he was on the mound… giving up a single to Kris Bryant!”

Bryant took Law’s orange hankie and stuffed it down this throat.

Then Rizzo walked to get runners on 1st and 2nd. We need just one more runner to make my grand slam prediction come true!

I was actually shocked that Zobrist got that double. There were runners on 1st and 2nd with a 3-1 count. And here I’m predicting grand slam. So I was expecting a walk from Zobrist. Totally a walk. Zobrist is 5th in the league for walks. If Zobrist walked, the bases would have been loaded. Instead, Zobrist hits a double down the line. The Cubs 9th inning comeback is on!

After Zobrist was going to be Addison Russell. The Cubs manager Joe Maddon initially put Chris Coghlan on the deck circle. The lefty who hit .188 for 2016. YIPES! As my brother Erik points out, “I love how Maddon used punk face [Coghlan] as a pawn. That was great. Get SF manager to pull his closer with a lame lefty, then pull Contreras out his pocket to face a lesser pitcher.”

Contreras got the RBI single to tie up the game. And then my favorite Cub, Javier Baez got the go-ahead RBI single. OH YEAH!

The top half of the inning ended with David Ross grounding into a double-play. The Cubs now have a one run lead going into the bottom of the ninth. Yet, Cubs fans were still being negative and full of worry. Ridiculous. Cubs fans, what happened to us? We are fans of optimism. We aren’t fans of negativity. We are positive. Yes, we’ve been burned by our team in the past, but we are a positive fan group. Let’s start acting like it on Twitter.

Willie Mays and Barry Bonds could be up at n the 9th for the Giants, and the Cubs would still win here

And of course, Chapman shut out the Giants in a 1-2-3 9th. Cubs advance to the National League Championship Series!

For the entire game, my five-month daughter was fast asleep while we played the game quietly on the tv right outside her nursery. However, she woke up and was crying just before the 9th inning. I told my wife that she just wanted to watch the Cubs win.

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How to determine your favorite MLB team in 2016

What MLB team plays your style of baseball? What would your criteria be for picking your favorite team? When evaluating players for my Hall of Fame, I use three criteria:

  • low strikeouts
  • high stealing
  • excellent defense

In other words: contact hitting, speed, and defense. If I apply those three criteria to the 2016 MLB teams, my six favorite teams in order are:

  1. Giants
  2. Indians
  3. Reds
  4. Nationals
  5. Red Sox
  6. Rangers

The full list of all 30 MLB teams, sorted by their average ranking:

MLB teams chart

My IRL favorite team, the Cubs, are in the middle of the pack at #14. They strikeout way too much, and rarely steal. But they are the best defensive team. At least that kinda makes up for their deficiencies in the other two areas.

The two teams at the bottom: Cardinals are last. Mets are second to last. Rather fitting, as these two teams are the Cubs’ nemesis.

Funny, the Brewsers strike out the most, but they also steal the most. Go figure. Maybe they have to steal bases, because they can never get the bat on the ball to advance the runner!

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Could Kyle Schwarber become the next Keith Moreland?

Comparison of Keith Moreland and Kyle Schwarber
Every Cubs fan is very excited to have slugger Kyle Schwarber back in 2017. The first-round draft pick has been out for the season with a torn ACL and LCL after just two games into the 2016 season.

We all awed and oo’ed at Schwarber launch a playoff homerun ON TOP of the Jumbotron at the playoffs in Wrigley Field. I saw it in person. Initially I thought it was just a REALLY high pop-up, but that ball had distance as well as height. It was incredible.

With that Shwarber-bomb the Cubs outfielder/catcher etched himself into team lore. What will Schwarber do in the 2017 season? How many rockets will he launch?

A critique of Cubs players who went bust included Keith Moreland. This description eerily reminded me of Kyle Schwarber.

8. Keith Moreland, RF, 1986: .271/.326/.384 (156 games)
Moreland was a pretty good hitter for a catcher, but he wasn’t a good enough glove to play regularly, and he hit decently for a third baseman too, but didn’t belong there either. If you put him in the outfield pigeons would roost on him. The Cubs tried to make the best of it, moving him around and hoping the ball wouldn’t find him, and in gratitude some years he would bust out with a .300 average and 15 or 16 home runs.

Ok, we expect Schwarber to hit a lot more home runs thank Morelands 15 or 16. But doesn’t the rest of the description of Moreland sound a lot like Schwarber? Good hitter as a catcher, not really a good fielding outfielder. Even Moreland’s body type kinda reminds me of Schwarber. For his time in the 80s, Moreland was one of the slightly more heavy players. Schwarber today at 23 years old is already a big boy.

Both Moreland and Schwarber are like your All-American fratboy choice for favorite player. Moreland never lived up to great numbers. Will Schwarber follow in his footsteps? We only have one MLB season to compare Schwarber’s numbers to Morelands, so let’s look at Moreland’s first season.

Keith Moreland’s first two seasons in 1978 and 1979, he played 1 game and 14 games. So let’s look at his first more full season in 1980 with 62 games. That matches rather nicely with Schwarber’s 69 games played.

Stats of Keith Moreland and Kyle Schwarber compared

Schwarber Moreland rookie stats

Moreland’s rookie batting average of 314 was a much better than Schwarber’s 246. However, Schwarber’s OBP caught up to Moreland’s, and even passed him up a bit. Schwarber walked 36 times, compared to Moreland with only 8. That’s incredible, right? But Schwarber also struck out a TON more. 77 strikeouts to Moreland’s 14. Ouch. Moreland and Schwarber also had the exact same OPS+ their first season, both had 113!

Schwarber’s rookie season matches up quite a bit with Moreland’s first season. However, Schwarber was 23, Moreland 26. So Schwarber has more room to grow. Schwarber was also the first round pick, while Moreland was a 7th round.

I would love for Schwarber to become the next Babe Ruth. But he might also become the next Keith Moreland.

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