Game 101 // First Inning, Philadelphia // Worst Birthday in Baseball History: The End of The Jeremy Guthrie Era

BOTTOM OF THE FIRST: PHILLIES 12 (0) – 0 NATIONALS

 

It’ll happen to them all someday. The knees creak, the vision dims. The fastball speed drops below 90, the run to first base slows down. The baseball death knell marks the end of a career.

But not like this. Not ever like this. On his birthday?

Baseball death on April 8th, 2017. Goodbye, Mr. Jeremy Guthrie. Continue reading “Game 101 // First Inning, Philadelphia // Worst Birthday in Baseball History: The End of The Jeremy Guthrie Era”

Bryant Throw Final Out seven

Game 100 // Tenth Inning, Cleveland // You Can Only End the Drought With a Little Rain, Or: How You Learned to Stop Worrying and Witness the Greatest Game in a Century (A Treatise on Heaven)

There’s almost a certain sadness to it all. Winning, against two lifetimes of failure. Peering out through the morning fog of the battlefield, seeing an arch-enemy finally downed. Shot, and stabbed, crying out and writhing—its innards eviscerated, a row of giant blades sticking up from its back.

You start to feel mercy—what did that poor Billy Goat ever do to deserve this?

Can we at least wish it a happy goodbye?

There’s a sadness to it all, in the end. In the end. The end. The most heartbreaking book you’ve ever read—but ending? You never told the author you’d wanted an ending. Not for real. Continue reading “Game 100 // Tenth Inning, Cleveland // You Can Only End the Drought With a Little Rain, Or: How You Learned to Stop Worrying and Witness the Greatest Game in a Century (A Treatise on Heaven)”

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”

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 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”

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”

Game 38 // Fourth Inning, St. Louis // Cardinals Top the Rockies

TOP OF THE FOURTH: CARDINALS 4 – (2) 6 ROCKIES

 

It’s an odd combination of color at Busch Stadium, with the deep purple of Colorado at the plate and the bright red of St. Louis on the mound—on the cap, the glove, the shoes, the belt, the two small birds stitched into the chest of every jersey. Continue reading “Game 38 // Fourth Inning, St. Louis // Cardinals Top the Rockies”

Game 7 // Eighth Inning, Chicago // Addison, Addison, Addison

BOTTOM OF THE EIGHTH: CUBS 2 5 – 3 REDS

And into the shrine of great Wrigley Field nights we go, adding the first of 2016 to a list on the brink of doubling, tripling each time this new group of Cubs talent takes the field. Continue reading “Game 7 // Eighth Inning, Chicago // Addison, Addison, Addison”