September 22, 2016
For my birthday, September 7, 2016, my sons got me a book on the Cubs that was printed this year: Cubs 100: A Century at Wrigley, by Dan Campana and Rob Carroll. It was really edited by them – it contains a lot of individual essays on 100 years of Cub History at Wrigley. On page 37 – 38, there is an essay entitled: “July 27, 2015:The Wrong End of History” about Cole Hamels’ no-hitter AGAINST the Cubs at Wrigley. It was written by Tony Andracki, CSNChicago.com reporter. (No, I’m not kidding – I did not write it!)
Anyway – it starts like this:
They always say things slow down in big moments like these. … [He was not at the game, but he got called in to cover it during the game. He would arrive in the seventh inning] There were so many interesting story-lines surrounding that Hamels start, even before his no-hitter, between all the rumors as to where Hamels would end up at the trade deadline. (Would the Cubs make a splash? Would this be his last start with the Phillies?) … When [Odubel] Herrera hit the ground, nobody knew if he had the ball. Even the Phillies and Hamels had to wait a second to see if the former World Series MVP had no-hit the Cubs for the first time in 7, 920 games. A brief puff of dust emerged as Herrera kicked up dirt on the warning track, and then he raised his glove to show off the ball.
As the Phillies rushed the field, I had to consciously remind myself to start moving again, hurrying down to field level while Cubs fans and Phillies fans alike jumped up and down and high-fived as if both teams had just thrown a no-hitter…. Cubs fans draped over the visiting dugout at Wrigley Field, shouting their praise to Hamels the same way they would if Arrieta had thrown his no-no at home. Half the crowd remained in the park, with several fans yelling to convince Hamels to approve a trade to the Cubs while he was conducting a radio interview.
It was pure madness, but pure joy from a baseball fans’ perspective. Who cares that the Cubs just lost? Every team gets no-hit at some point. It was history in the midst of a historic season at the corner of Clark and Addison….
As I followed Hamels’ walk across the vacant Wrigley Field after his post-game press conference, I saw him looking up at the sky and the new video board in right field, taking it all in. I couldn’t help do the same, thinking, “Man, am I glad I picked up that phone at lunch.” End of essay
Do you see the significance? In a book covering the 100 years at Wrigley Park, the editors thought Tony’s story was such a significant event that they included it. Notice: do Cub fans typically act like that? They had just been no-hit at Wrigley in a pennant race (where every game counted, since the Cubs would be the last team to qualify for the Wild Card spot), but they acted like they had WON the game!
They had won something… I’m convinced that this reaction was a sign that the end of the Cubs Curses was coming… maybe it also signaled that they were (indeed) over.
There is a SECOND essay based on the SAME GAME – a story on pp. 139 – 140 by fan Clayton Riley of Medford, Minnesota. It’s entitled “One Long Drive, Zero Hits.” He writes:
Me, my mom and my dad and a buddy of mine saw Cole Hamels throw his no-hitter last year. It was pretty amazing. I was well aware of the no-hitter during the game because I follow @CubsNoHitStreak on Twitter. The Cubs hadn’t been no-hit in over 7,500 games…
.Also: on pages 70 – 72, Ed Sherman wrote an essay on the most well-remembered moment in Wrigley History: Babe Ruth’s Called Shot
On pages 99 – 101 , Jayson Stark recounts the May 17, 1979 game where the Phillies won, 23 – 22, a game of prophetic significance that marked the end of the Phillies’ curse.
On pages 182 – 183, there’s an essay on Steve Bartman by Lin Brehmer.
You can see the date I wrote this last year – other than the Cubs not winning in 2015, I don’t have to change a thing. They will, indeed, win in 2016.
Why the Cubs Will Win in 2015: Part Three – Jake Arrieta (October 11, 2015)
I knew there was something significant about Cole Hamels’ no-hitter against the Cubs, This happened during the time I was predicting that the Phillies were going to come storming from last place to win the World Championship – yes, this year. And it looked like it was a possibility, even with the imminent loss of Hamels (that was his last start for the Phillies – he was soon traded to Texas). What I believed was – and is – that if the All-Powerful One, the God of the Universe, Elohim, wants something to happen, it will happen. The Phillies had just beaten a strong Cubs team in three straight. I was expecting a miracle… because that’s what it would take to go from last to first. I thought they were going to actually pull it off – because the Phillies are (now – were) a blessed team. Why? Because they had a Jewish General Manager, Ruben Amaro, Jr. and the Lord blesses those who bless His people, especially in a Shemitah year – which ended on September 12. That’s why the Phillies won in 2008 – THAT was a Shemitah season, and the Lord blessed the Phillies with a World Championship because of Ruben Amaro, Jr., who was an Assistant GM, soon to be promoted to GM.
And now I hope you figured out why the Phillies did NOT win in 2015 (no – not just because they were in last place!). They lost their blessing because they fired the very one they had been blessed for. He was fired unceremoniously on September 10th, days before the end of the Shemitah. I wrote that I wouldn’t be surprised if “The Dutchman’s Curse” was reinstated – that’s what I call the curse the Phillies were under since the disrespectfully refused to sign “The Flying Dutchman”, Honus Wagner, which lasted from 1897 until it was lifted in 1979, in my estimation, when the Phillies won that amazing game, 23 – 22 over the Cubs at Wrigley.
Elohim does that. I always say, if you want to see the Lord in control over world events, look at the front page; look at the biggest news story – that’s where you’ll see Him. He’s actually sovereign over all things, but He is most often seen clearly right in front. For example: would there be anybody who would doubt that the biggest problem in the world today is Israel? That the most contentious place on earth is Jerusalem? Ultimately, everything is about Israel… everything is about the Jewish people. You can’t deny that! Did you ever ask, why? You say, “Right now, Damascus and Syria are world hot spots.” Yes, and have you looked lately at a map to see where those places are close to? And what is the primary reason for the existence of two major terrorist groups, Hezbollah and Hamas? Would Al Qaeda or ISIS exist if it weren’t for Israel? They only care about us in the United States because we are (or, at least we were) the most important ally of Israel in the world.
So, if Elohim works on the front page of world news, is it so odd that He also reveals Himself in our lives in other places – like in sports? I say He HAS and DOES reveal Himself in all aspects of our lives, and that especially includes sports. And guess where we go to see Him working? That’s right – the front page!
And that’s why I saw His hand working providentially in Hamels’ no-hitter at Wrigley over the Cubs. My title was “Cole Hamels no-hits Cubs for the first time in 50 years since…” The Cubs had not been no-hit for almost 50 years. The last time? Fella by the name of Koufax… Just the only pitcher voted by the fans as one of the four Greatest Living Players. He was also the first to retire – after the 1966 World Series, so nobody younger than about 55 can say they remember seeing him pitch live. And, of course, the greatest Jewish pitcher of all time. But there are many (including myself) who consider him to be the greatest pitcher of All Time during that 5 season span from 1962 to 1966.
What Cole Hamels’ no-hitter did was bring new attention to Sandy Koufax and his perfect game against the Cubs. Not only was Koufax’s fourth – and last – no-hitter a perfect game, but it is considered by many to be the Greatest Pitching Performance Ever. Here is the Wikipedia entry on it, to show I’m not biased:
Wikipedia: “Sandy Koufax of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitched a perfect game in the National League against the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium on September 9, 1965. Koufax, by retiring 27 consecutive batters without allowing any to reach base, became the sixth pitcher of the modern era, eighth overall, to throw a perfect game. The game was Koufax’s fourth no-hitter, breaking Bob Feller’s Major League record of three (and later broken by Nolan Ryan, in 1981). Koufax struck out 14 opposing batters, the most ever recorded in a perfect game, and matched only by San Francisco Giants pitcher, Matt Cain, on June 13, 2012. He also struck out at least one batter in all nine innings, the only perfect game pitcher to do so to date.
“The game was also notable for the high quality of the performance by the opposing pitcher, Bob Hendley of the Cubs. Hendley gave up only one hit (which did not figure into the scoring) and allowed only two baserunners. Both pitchers had no-hitters intact until the seventh inning. The only run that the Dodgers scored was unearned. The game holds the record for fewest base runners (both teams), with two; the next lowest total is four.
“Koufax’s perfect game is a memorable part of baseball lore. Jane Leavy’s biography of Koufax is structured around a re-telling of the game. An article in Salon.com honoring Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully focuses on his play-by-play call of the game for KFI radio. This game was selected in a 1995 poll of members of the Society for American Baseball Research as the greatest game ever pitched.”
I would agree that Vin Scully’s call of Koufax’s perfect game against the Cubs is possibly – in my opinion, it is – the best announcing he ever did in his career that started more than 64 years ago when he called another game – the 1951 game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants with Bobby Thomson’s three-run homer known as “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World.” Although everybody remembers Russ Hodges radio call of “The Giants Win the Pennant…”, Vin Scully was also broadcasting that game, a game often voted as “The Greatest Moment in Baseball History”. It’s been voted the “Most Dramatic Moment in the History of Sports” many times. See what I mean about Yahweh not working in a corner? Vin Scully – who’s STILL announcing for the Dodgers, connects both events. And, not only that, but could you imagine Vin getting the opportunity to announce the Cubs beating his Dodgers in the NLCS? That could very well happen! And you don’t believe there is a Sovereign Ruler over all of our lives?
And – you know what? Vin Scully just recently got a chance to announce the game that marked the end of the Cubs’ Seventy Year Old Curse of the Hebrew Hammer? Cole Hamels’ no-hitter against the Cubs at Wrigley was only the first end of the curse-breaker. The second end was Jake Arrieta’s no-hitter at Dodger Stadium.
We all have to admit – nobody’s been more dominant than the Cubs’ ace Jake (short for Jacob, also known in the Scriptures as Israel!) Arrieta. Listen to the Wikipedia entry (again, to show I’m not making any of this up):
Wikipedia “Since the 2015 All-Star break, he gave up 9 earned runs during 15 starts over 107 1/3 innings for a 0.75 ERA, the lowest in MLB history in the second half. For the season, Arrieta’s 22-6 record and 1.77 ERA made him only the fifth pitcher to win at least 22 games with no more than six losses and a sub-2.00 ERA since the earned run became an official stat in 1913. On October 5, he was again named NL pitcher of the Month for his 4-0 September record with a 0.45 ERA.
“On August 20, Arrieta became the first MLB pitcher to win 15 games in the 2015 season. Ten days later, Arrieta no-hit the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium for the 14th no-hitter in Cubs history. He struck out 12 batters, including all three batters he faced in both the first and ninth innings. Sandy Koufax had been the last pitcher to complete a no-hitter by striking out all three batters he faced in the ninth inning, doing so in his perfect game in 1965. Arrieta was named the NL Player of the Week for August 24-30 and NL Pitcher of the Month for August with a 6−0 and a 0.43 ERA and the no-hitter. The right-hander held opposing hitters to a .130 batting average and a .196 on-base percentage in August and struck out 43 batters while walking just 10. On September 22, Arrieta won his 20th game of the season, throwing a three-hitter against the Brewers. With 11 more strikeouts in that 4-0 Cubs victory at Wrigley, he was the first MLB pitcher to win 20 games this season and had his 4th complete game and 3rd shutout of the season.”
Overpowering, to say the least! Did you also know there was another connection here? Do you know when Jake Arrieta lost his last game? He only lost six games all year! It was his start against the Phillies on July 25th – he lost 5 – 0 at Wrigley. But you really can’t blame him… the pitcher on the other team threw a no-hitter on that day. Guy named Cole Hamels… But I suppose these are ALL coincidences! It’s also interesting to note that, on the Hebrew calendar I was using at the time, the day Hamels pitched his no-hitter was Tisha B’Av, which means the Ninth of Av, the second to last month in the Jewish secular year. Jewish people know what it reminds them of, though – it’s considered the most terrible day of the year. Why? Because that was the very day when, in 586 BC, the First Temple in Jerusalem – the temple built by Solomon – was destroyed by the Babylonians. It was also the exact day when the Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. Was Yahweh beginning to remove His curse, not only on the Cubs, but also on His own people? Stay tuned for THAT one!
Back to Jake Arrieta’s no-hitter against the Dodgers. It was, basically, more than 49 years later, the Cubs paying the Dodgers back – in other words, there had to be some way to show that the curse was undone, once and for all. Reminding people of Koufax’s greatest game – the greatest of the greatest – with Hamels’ no-hitting them at Wrigley, the Cubs had to reverse that game by doing the reverse to the Dodgers. Which they did… and, not only were we reminded – again – of the Koufax Perfect Game, but Jake Arrieta reversed the curse by the strikeout exploits detailed above.
Absolutely amazing! Believing the Holy Spirit, who showed all these things to me, I KNOW that the curse is broken. Watch the Cubs play over the next three weeks – you’ll see it happen. A 70-year old curse will be broken – the Cubs will play in the World Series – and a 107-year curse will be broken – the Chicago Cubs will be sad sacks no more… they will be World Champions of Major League Baseball!
Did you see what Jake Arrieta did to the best hitting team in Baseball, the Pittsburgh Pirates? “On October 7, 2015, Arrieta pitched a complete game, striking out eleven batters and allowed only four hits to defeat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4–0 in the 2015 National League Wild Card Game. He became the first pitcher to post a postseason shutout while striking out at least 10 batters and walking zero.”
Remind you of anyone? Here’s what I wrote, months ago, about Madison Bumgarner:
I suspect Madison Bumgarner has Jewish blood. This is what is written about him on Wikipedia: Andrew Baggarly, a reporter who covers the Giants, wrote of Bumgarner, “While I wouldn’t describe him as outgoing, he struck me as being smart, well spoken and polite. He is deeply Christian and seems to be very grounded.” And look who he’s being compared to: “His 0.43 ERA in the 2014 World Series was the lowest in a single World Series (minimum 15 innings) since Sandy Koufax posted a 0.38 ERA in the 1965 World Series.” And he was the “First pitcher to throw at least four scoreless innings in a World Series Game 7 (2014) on two days’ rest since Sandy Koufax’s shutout for the Dodgers in 1965.” That’s the World Series where Sandy Koufax sat out the first game because it was on Yom Kippur, then had three starts; he was the most overpowering he ever was.
Before Bumgarner even pitched that amazing final game of the 2014 Series (a Shemitah Series, by the way), writer David Leonhardt was comparing him to the greatest of all time;
“ With his shutout Sunday night, Madison Bumgarner has become one of the greatest pitchers in World Series history. In four starts, over three World Series, Bumgarner has won all four, allowing a single run in 31 innings. And that run was all but meaningless: It came in the seventh inning in Game 1 against the Royals last week, with Bumgarner’s Giants ahead, 7-0. Bumgarner now holds the record for lowest career earned run average (0.29) in the World Series among pitchers with at least 30 innings pitched. The mark is impressive by any standard. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that Bumgarner is the best World Series pitcher ever.
“That distinction belongs to Christy Mathewson, who also did his pitching for the Giants (when they were in New York). It’s not even close, either. Madison Bumgarner is 7th best (that’s SEVENth best) all time. He’s after Christy Mathewson, Sandy Koufax, Waite Hoyt, Eddie Plank, Bob Gibson, and George Earnshaw.
Me again. Notice who is second on that list (his name just keeps coming up, doesn’t it?) Yeah – it was him again… you know that guy who THREW OUT THE CEREMONIAL FIRST PITCH AT THE 2015 ALL STAR GAME? Yeah – that 79 year old who threw a strike so hard and so accurate to Johnny Bench that you had a hard time believing he that he hadn’t thrown a pitch in competition in 48 years! The only pitcher out there… in Cincinnati (where the connection was that he played his one year of college ball there).
Speaking of Sandy Koufax: do you know that he was also responsible for overcoming the curse on another franchise. Remember “Dem Bums?” the Brooklyn Dodgers? They had some great teams, but they just couldn’t seem to get past to the Winner’s Circle. There was Mickey Owens in 1941… there were losses to the Yankees in 1947 and ’49… there was Richie Ashburn, Dick Sisler, and the Whiz Kids in 1950… there was … that Series against the Giants in 1951… there was losing to the Yankees in ’52 and ’53, even though the Dodgers had one of the greatest teams ever… there was Billy Martin making that bizarre catch, and even more bizarrely out-playing Jackie Robinson in World Series play… They were 0 – 7 all time in World Series, and that doesn’t even include the last-minute losses to the Phillies and Giants… So in late 1954, the Dodgers signed this bonus baby (which meant they weren’t allowed to send him to the Minors) for the 1955 season. The young kid didn’t pitch very much… had a wild streak… and he watched his teammates play in the next World Series…
The 1955 World Series…
Which, for the first time ever, behind the brilliant pitching of young Johnny Podres… the Brooklyn Dodgers finally won. Who was that bonus baby again? Stayed with the club, I hear… went out to LA with them, didn’t he? Yeah… Jewish fella, I believe.
I wouldn’t believe any of this if I didn’t know my Abba, Father!
And – unlike the Phillies, who foolishly fired the Jewish GM, the Cubs hired Theo Epstein to be their GM. Epstein… Epstein…? Wasn’t he that guy from “Welcome Back, Kotter!”? Had a Puerto Rican mother and a Jewish father? Yeah – you got it…
You know what Theo Epstein did? He was hired by the Boston Red Sox at the tender age (for a GM) of 28 in 2002. His mission? Put an end to “The Curse of the Bambino,” the curse that had plagued the First World Champions (in 1903) since 1920, that’s all. An article from October 7th by Scott Miller starts this way: “Theo Epstein once traveled to Arizona for Thanksgiving dinner at Curt Schilling’s house. No word on how many slices of pumpkin pie he devoured, but over turkey and dressing he laid the groundwork that ultimately convinced Schilling to waive his no-trade clause, come to Boston and change history.”
Two years later, “The Curse of the Bambino” was over – and that had a lot to do with Curt Schilling coming to Boston. Remember the fact that the Sox were down to the great Yankees 3 games to none? Coming back from a 3-0 deficit in a seven-game series had never happened in the History of Major League Baseball. Not only did the Sox come back and FINALLY beat the Yankees, they kept going and rolled over the hapless Cardinals in 4 straight. Remember Schilling in that Series? How got he got hurt in LA against the Angels; how he tried to pitch in his first start in the ALCS and got “Schillacked?” But how he basically had the Boston doctors stitch up his damaged tendon to allow him to pitch Game Six – which he did brilliantly for the penultimate win… but do you remember his “Red Badge of Courage” that so inspired his teammates. It’s known as the “Bloody Sock Game,” for all of you out there who have had your minds shoved down the memory hole.
You’ll have to read my blog on the Red Sox Curse – lifted.
Praise to Yahweh, the One who was, and is, and is to come! The One who knows the end from the beginning! The One in whom I place my trust!