Game 99 // Third Inning, Cleveland // A Ball Off the Bat of Addison Russell

TOP OF THE THIRD: CUBS 7 (3) – 0 INDIANS

 

You’d be wise, not to blow all your smiles on a Game Six. You might not want to shout. Keep the champagne corked. Leave some green in your wallet. Don’t hug all your neighbors. Don’t profess new faith in the gods. Not yet.

Don’t jump in your seat so much your soles wear down. Don’t start a brawl with the Cleveland legion. When the Cubs win, don’t unbuckle your belt, and drop trow in the aisle. Don’t hop the dugout roof and don’t run streaking onto the field. Don’t end up buck naked overnight in a Cleveland holding cell. Keep some minimum of your clothes on. Keep your wits about you. You might need them for tomorrow.

Continue reading “Game 99 // Third Inning, Cleveland // A Ball Off the Bat of Addison Russell”

Jason Kipnis Dagger Home Run

Game 98 // Seventh Inning, Chicago // Falling Down

TOP OF THE SEVENTH: INDIANS 7 (4) – 1 CUBS

  

With no outs: Coco Crisp doubles to center. Rajai Davis hit by a pitch. Jason Kipnis sends a three-run homer soaring into the bleachers in right. The score’s 7-1.

Things. Go. Quiet. Your head falls into your lap. You close your eyes.

 

IN A DREAM—YOU ENTER WHAMMY BURGER, APPROACH THE COUNTER.

 

Sheila: Hi, can I help you?

YOU: Yes, I’d like a two-run single and a rally starter.

Sheila: I’m sorry, we’ve stopped serving Cubs but we are on the Indians menu now.

YOU: But I want offense.

Sheila: You can’t have it, we’re not serving it.

YOU: So you said. Is that the manager?

Sheila: (sighs) Yeah.

YOU: Could I speak to him please? Continue reading “Game 98 // Seventh Inning, Chicago // Falling Down”

Cleveland Chicago 2016 Game One 1

Game 97 // First Inning, Cleveland // We’ve Waited A Sure Long While

WORLD SERIES 2016: GAME ONE


 

There’s an old saying by Cub fans, repeated over the land, that goes: “Oh my god—we’re in the World Series? The World Series!?”

Old, so old, as old as three unreal, brave-new-world days. When those words burst into the talk, pinging around at full speed, fan to ecstatic fan. Appearing one day in bold, drawn big onto the great Cub-fan blackboard in the sky, erasing all others in one big swipe—“Wait ‘til next year…” chalked away into a smudge. Continue reading “Game 97 // First Inning, Cleveland // We’ve Waited A Sure Long While”

Kershaw Save Bullpen NLDS Clayton

Game 96 // Ninth Inning, Washington // A Salute, to Your 2016 L.A. Dodgers

BOTTOM OF THE NINTH: DODGERS 4 – 3 NATIONALS

 

The Los Angeles Dodgers of the year 2016. Champions of the N.L. West. Surmounters of the fearful Giants, beaters of the odds, overcomers of the expectations, endurers over the injuries, prudent protectors of the blisters, demoters of the Puig, promoters of the Puig, winking smiling last-laughers over the doubters. Party-throwers for Sir Vin’s last major-league run. Victors, in this last great win, over the Washington Nationals. Continue reading “Game 96 // Ninth Inning, Washington // A Salute, to Your 2016 L.A. Dodgers”

Game 95 // Ninth Inning, Chicago // The Cubbies Win the Pennant

TOP OF THE NINTH: CUBS 5 – 0 DODGERS

 

Chapman on the mound. Hernandez strikes out. Ruiz walks. Puig grounds to short. Russell to Baez to Rizzo. Double play. Cubs win.

*          *          *

What can be said about this game that hasn’t already been said about Christmas morning? Better than that. The first day of a summer break. Better than that. Evening fireworks on the 4th of July. That, too. Better than all. A graduation, an engagement, a marriage, a festival, a celebration. An outdoor fete to anything.

A birthday. Each one of them. For each one of us. Happening at once. Jammed together onto one calendar day. A four-hour party for a whole world of twins, newly made. Smiling the same smiles, unwrapping the same big gift. Sharing matching outfits in blue. Sharing it all. Continue reading “Game 95 // Ninth Inning, Chicago // The Cubbies Win the Pennant”

Game 4 Dodgers 2016 4th Inning Sketch

Game 94 // Fourth Inning, L.A. // Ben Zobrist, Bunt of the Year

TOP OF THE FOURTH: CUBS 4 (0) – 0 DODGERS

 

A scoreless game, a fourth inning beginning, a one-game NLCS lead, a packed house at Dodger Stadium, a front row seat for one Larry King, slumped half-snoozing through the early goings. A 20-year-old dealing on the mound, a teamful of bats gone cold, a destined Cubs run teetering near premature collapse.

And a Ben Zobrist at the plate. A bunt on the first pitch of the inning. Continue reading “Game 94 // Fourth Inning, L.A. // Ben Zobrist, Bunt of the Year”

Game 93 // Eighth Inning, Chicago // The Montero Slam

CUBS 8 – 4 DODGERS


I’m three beers down.

It’s 3:00 AM.

I barely remember the night that was.

The Cubs win that was.

The Miguel Montero grand-slam home run that was.

The bedlam insanity hugfest mad jumping screaming whooping dancing hollering crying smacking yelling wild scene that Wrigley Field was.

Continue reading “Game 93 // Eighth Inning, Chicago // The Montero Slam”

Game 92 // Ninth Inning, San Francisco // The Great Cubs Miracle

9:25: A scoreless top of the fourth passes. Three up, three down. Hopeless dread circling and stabbing at my head. I know a losing Cubs team when I see one. I know it I know it I know it I sadly know it.

9:30: Put running shorts on, tie shoes. Glance at TV on the way to the door. Hear mom say “argh… bases loaded?” Hear the crack of the bat and a cheering ballpark, through the TV speakers. Hear dad say “Matt freaking Moore?”—and assume the worst. Continue reading “Game 92 // Ninth Inning, San Francisco // The Great Cubs Miracle”

Game 91 // Second Inning, Chicago // Cubs. October. Samardzija. Wrigley.

BOTTOM OF THE SECOND: CUBS 4 (1) – 0 GIANTS

 

Our good friend Jeff Samardzija. Football son of Notre Dame. Chicago Cubs draftee. Starter for the 2015 Chicago White Sox. And finally, finally!, he’s stepped up big for this city. Brought home the big one. Poised atop the mound for playoff baseball, the league-best Cubs at home, at old Wrigley, the fans in eager hope of a deep run, our good friend Jeff Samardzija—stepping up to do his part. Bringing home that win he was drafted for, just like we all hope he would.

Thank you, from the bottom of this Cub fan’s heart, for shitting the bed in Game 2 for these San Francisco Giants. You’re the hero this city deserves. Continue reading “Game 91 // Second Inning, Chicago // Cubs. October. Samardzija. Wrigley.”

Lindor Kipnis Perez Home Runs Sketch

Game 90 // Third Inning, Cleveland // Playoff Baseball in the ‘Land

TOP OF THE THIRD: INDIANS 1 – (1) 2 RED SOX

 

How long has it been…

Since this Indians team knocked off the Boston Braves for a World Series win…

Since Vic Wertz flew out at 420-plus feet, in the deep center field of the Polo Grounds…

Since they lost it to the Braves, since they lost it to the Marlins… Continue reading “Game 90 // Third Inning, Cleveland // Playoff Baseball in the ‘Land”

Game 89 // Eleventh Inning, Toronto // Showalter, Britton, Ubaldo, Walkoff

BOTTOM OF THE ELEVENTH: BLUE JAYS 5 (2) – 2 ORIOLES

 

It’s the eleventh inning of the A.L. Wild Card game. Ubaldo Jimenez steps onto the mound with the 162-game weight of a quavering Orioles season on his back.

“Once upon a time,” says Eddie Johnson, “this guy was unhittable.”

Once upon a time. The long-ago start to a fairy tale ending not so well at all. Continue reading “Game 89 // Eleventh Inning, Toronto // Showalter, Britton, Ubaldo, Walkoff”

Miggy Miguel Montero Sketch 103 Cubs

Game 88 // Ninth Inning, Cincinnati // The Reds and the Blues

TOP OF THE NINTH: CUBS 7 (3) – 4 REDS

 

Joe Maddon spits onto the dirt outside the dugout, grinning, his fingers spinning as if he’s winding up string. Dave Martinez smiles. Dexter Fowler smiles. Ten-thousand Cub fan maniacs smile, in the stands around them like an invasion has taken place. A handful of blue figurines lurching ahead on a Risk board—taking Kamchatka, Irkutsk, Cincinnati. Continue reading “Game 88 // Ninth Inning, Cincinnati // The Reds and the Blues”

Philadelphia Cespedes Wind First Base Pop

Game 87 // Eighth Inning, Philadelphia // Lost in the Wind

Sketch by Henry Gustavson


TOP OF THE EIGHTH: METS 5 (3) – 1 PHILLIES

 

Coming back from commercial break, the furry green Philly Phanatic is dancing atop the dugout with “Franklin The Dog” of the 76ers, with a baggy gelatinous midsection bouncing down to his ankles and back up to his chest, grabbing it, ruffling it, a man inside a suit handling and shaking the suit’s own ass and blue tail, the fans in front unsure when they’ll be permitted to stop smiling. Its long green snout juts out in front of two plastic eyes, with Continue reading “Game 87 // Eighth Inning, Philadelphia // Lost in the Wind”

Hyun-soo Baltimore Sketch Homer Blue Jays

Game 86 // Ninth Inning, Toronto // Hyun Soo Kim Can

TOP OF THE NINTH: ORIOLES 3 (1) – 2 BLUE JAYS

 

O’s against Osuna, in the top of the ninth. J.J. Hardy at the bat. The standings close, Baltimore back two games in the Wild Card hunt—Tigers and Mariners looking to sneak up for Continue reading “Game 86 // Ninth Inning, Toronto // Hyun Soo Kim Can”

Death Fernandez Boat Sketch Miami

Game 85 // Eighth Inning, Miami // Rest in Peace, Mr. Fernández

Credit to the great Bill Gallo, for inspiration


TOP OF THE EIGHTH: MARLINS 1 – 0 NATIONALS

 

Five days ago, the final game of a career cut short. Eight innings pitched. Zero runs. Zero walks. Twelve strikeouts.

An audience of 17,961—watching the very best baseball of the Miami Marlins. A home run from Giancarlo Stanton. A shut-out. A win over the first-place Nationals. A José Fernández start, a brilliant one at that.

“And José’s into the eighth,” they say as the inning begins, “and he fires a strike.” Continue reading “Game 85 // Eighth Inning, Miami // Rest in Peace, Mr. Fernández”