October 31, 2016
Some More Good Signs for the Cubs…
There are more good signs that the Cubs are going all the way:
- The “Andrew Miller Fear Factor” is Finito: He’s been amazing this post-season, but his dominance over the Cubs’ hitters has been broken. How? When Dexter Fowler led off the ninth in Game Four of a 7 – 1 game… to make the final score 7 – 2.
“That’s a big deal?” I hear you thinking (I thought I smelled wood burning!)
Yes – it’s a HUGE deal!
OK – the “Invincible Mr. Miller” is no longer invincible. Dexter Fowler did what we were told was impossible. Imagine someone on the Indians hitting a home run off of Arnoldis Chapman – it would be VERY meaningful. “It can be done!” is the message the Cubs’ hitters got. Mark my words…
- Arnoldis Chapman was not perfect, but he looked awfully scary out there in Game Five. When Adrian Gonzalez singled off Chapman to tie the score at three in Game One of the NLCS, the Dodgers got a giant psychological boost – the 105 MPH fastball is hittable! But Ben Zobrist squelched that rally by leading off the bottom of the eighth with a double. That showed that the Cubs were not going to go down quietly – and Miguel Montero’s Grand Slam did the Dodgers in. The Indians haven’t hit Chapman like that.
- And speaking of Chapman… I predict that he will be sharp in Games Six AND Seven. He should be on the mound WHEN the Cubs get to celebrate on Wednesday.
- In a book I’ve quoted, published this year, called “Cubs 100: A Century at Wrigley”, with stories compiled from many people in club history, from former players (like Fergie Jenkins, Andre Dawson, and others) to Bleacher Bums. It’s put together by Dan Campana and Rob Carroll and is published by History Press. I could quote every other page – there’s SO much there to enjoy even for a Phillies fan… especially for a Phillies fan, really. Two games that had great significance were the May 17, 1979 23 – 22 Phillies’ victory (which marked the end of the Phillies’ “Curse of the Flying Dutchman” when they insulted the great Honus Wagner in 1897 and refused to sign him); and the July 25, 2015 Cole Hamels’ no-hitter (mentioned several times in the book, an oddity because Hamels pitched a no-hitter at Wrigley against the Cubs) which marked the beginning of the Cubs’ Drive for Blessing this season.
To my point: Ed Sherman is the author of “The Babe’s Called Shot” which was also recently published. Here are his words from an essay published on pp. 70 – 72: “It is still unbelievable to think, eighty years later [actually eighty-four years later], here we are in the second decade of the 21st Century, and you can still point to a spot in Chicago at Clark and Addison – a few hundred feet east – where Babe Ruth actually stood and hit one of the most famous home runs of his career. The idea that this spot is still there I think is significant. It speaks to the history of Wrigley Field and also to the history of the futility of the Cubs. The most famous moment in the history of that ballpark was done by a player on the opposing team in a World Series.
“People forget about that. They lose sight of the fact that this wasn’t just another home run. It really, effectively, ended the 1932 World Series…. [In Game Three] The Yankees were up like, bang, right out of the gate. Then the Cubs, for the first and only time in the whole series, actually mounted a rally and tied the score in the previous inning. Now, all of a sudden, there was momentum on the Cubs’ side, and people were going crazy.
“Ruth came up and, if he struck out or hit a weak popup, especially a strikeout, the argument could have been made that the place would go nuts and the Cubs would be suddenly golden. Instead of striking out or hitting a ground single, not only did he hit this home run, but he also hit the longest home run in the history of Wrigley Field at that time…
“I have said this many times, whether you think he called it is almost secondary to the idea that this was the most unique at-bat in baseball history when you consider that this happened in the middle of a World Series game [the fifth inning] …”
Yes, indeed, Ed – as you called “Baseball’s Greatest Home Run.”
And it was a sign: a sign of cursing on the Cubs. It was no billy goat curse – it was “the Bambino Curse.” But, just like Ruth didn’t go up to the plate intending to point to the centerfield flagpole and then hit the next pitch there, he did just that. A stadium full of people saw it!
All curses are not laid on teams by “the baseball gods.” There are curses laid on teams by the Baseball God – Elohim, Yahweh, Abba Father, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The Babe was only the messenger: a, 84-year curse was pronounced on the Cubs for their mistreatment of the Babe and, later, Hank Greenberg (both of whom were blessed individuals).
And 1932 plus 84 equals… 2016.
The Curse is over!