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For Cubs fans, hope springs eternal, and now is the time

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Something that wracks my brain day and night: Will the Cubs faithful appreciate it this year if the Cubs win the World Series.

So many Cubs teams have gotten, well none of them have really gotten that close. 1989 the Cubs had Andrew Dawson, Ryne Sandberg, Shawon Dunston, Greg Maddux but it was all for not, loosing to the Giants in 5 games in the National League Championship Series. That was the team that was meant to make 1989 special. But it never happened.

 

 

It was 13 years ago, that the Cubs came up mercilessly to the Florida Marlins in the 2003 NLCS. Loosing to the Marlins in 7 games, 1 game away from the promised land.

In reality, those teams had some talent Sandberg, a juiced up Sosa, but not All-Star talent at every position like this 2016 Cubs team.

Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Jorge Soler, Addison Russell, Anthony Rizzo,  Jayson Hayward all would be the “guy” on respective teams elsewhere, other key contributors like Ben Zobrist who was an all-star this season, and Javier Baez, Dexter Fowler, then a horde of pitching talent, Jake Arrietta, John Lackey, Arolidis Chapman and the list goes on.

So the Cubs enter the 2016 Playoffs as the favorite, in both leagues, the team that has the most talent, skill, momentum moxy to make it all, they won’t be as underdogs, and if they win it all, will it feel the same without a flaw.

Sometimes when the Cubs lost this season, it kinda seemed that the world was in a normal place. Just for a moment they don’t have to be perfect. Just for a moment they don’t have to come from behind and put up a seven spot in an inning.

It’s not just talent its the ability to win the baseball game.  The Cubs are 40-games over .500 with a 17 game lead in the division, they’re on pace for 103 wins. Wow.

The Cubs are now N.L. Central champions. No team has ever clinched the division faster than the Cubs did this year since the central division was created in 1994.

 

And this club knows how to have fun, as Paul Sulivan of the Chicago Tribune tells us regarding the Cubs clubhouse after clinching a day or so after clinching the division:

Dante the DJ spun tunes in the wild celebratory clubhouse, stopping for a moment as Chairman Tom Ricketts was called upon by players to make a speech.

Ricketts had taken a few hits since buying the team, but now The Plan was in full bloom and the championship he had promised Cubs fans seemed closer to becoming reality.

Players listened attentively, plastic cups half-filled with Jack Daniel’s in the hands of most of them, as Ricketts took the spotlight.

“All I did was buy some time with the fans,” Ricketts told the players. “And the fact is, we used that time for Theo and Jed (Hoyer) to go out and build the best team in all of baseball.”

Cheers went up, drinks went down. Dante the DJ took his cue, cranking up the song “All the Way Up” by Fat Joe and Remy Ma:

“Nothing can stop me, I’m all the way up. All the way up. I’m all the way up.” The party was just starting.
And no one wanted to see it end.

So this team has the all the potential. All of the talent. The right attitude, all the right stuff.

But can they turn that magic into a World Series title, the first for the Cubbies since 1908.

 

TBS we need Vin Scully on October 2nd

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Via Jack Acecroft
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Vin Scully will broadcast his final Dodger baseball game after 67 years of brilliance on October 2nd in San Francisco.

God willing as Mr. Scully would say and has said.

All baseball fans will be tuned in, we’ll find a way, either MLB.TV or whatever, or stop at the TV store in the mall (oh wait those don’t exist anymore).

No this isn’t 1988 when Scully famously called Kirk Gibson game winning pinch hit home run in Game 1. This is 2016, and time does fly by so quickly, there’s a lot less gentle feeling and infatuation with the game we call baseball these days and for many teams the broadcaster is just a guy who might change every two years.

But Vin Scully was something different. For many of us we’re late to the party. A southern califorina treasure who without “pomp and circumstance” as he would say, also greeted us at different points on the national network broadcast but in general Vin Scully has gotten his greatest widespread audience in the era of MLB.TV and the internet age.

A little piece of us and the lives of many who listened to Scully for just a brief moment or even a few years will feel time passing ever so quicker and yesterdays so far away when Scully calls his final game October 3rd.

As Richard Sandomir of the New York Times eloquently positioned it Tuesday, TBS has an opportunity to broadcast or simulcast Scully’s game on October 2nd.

Vin Scully will conclude his 67-season run as the voice of the Dodgers on Oct. 2 in a game against the Giants at AT&T Park in San Francisco. But it should be more than a local event for Scully’s fans in the Los Angeles area. When baseball’s greatest announcer retires, it is a national occasion.

It will be up to to TBS, Major League Baseball’s partner for Sunday afternoon broadcasts, to bring the last of Scully to the rest of the country. TBS is not saying what it will do, and the network will not decide which matchup to televise until seven to 10 days beforehand.

Simulcasting the Dodgers-Giants game should be the easy choice. Not only is Scully leaving, but the game may very well have playoff implications.

That will be a huge moment in American Sports history.

Let’s make it happen TBS.

Scully’s closing words surely will be the most poetic thing uttered in the sports arena in decades. The man who can quote Shakespeare and live to tell the true life stories of the Brooklyn Dodgers of course is a national treasure, and it will never be the same in Dodgertown without him.

 

 

The ink is dry on the contract and Tim Tebow is proving us wrong again

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Tim Tebow has signed a minor league contract with the New York Mets. The Mets made the announcement on Thursday to a somewhat shocked audience of pundits, fans, and in general those who love to think, write and talk about one Tim Tebow.

The man will not go away.

He’s a fascinating man. And not for the reasons we find typical in today’s sporting atmosphere. No drug abuse, arrests, tantrums, or more just an unbelievable, perhaps somewhat insane belief that if you try hard enough and give it everything you have, well good things will happen.

 

Tebow said Thursday, “We don’t have to listen to what everybody else wants us to do with our lives We get to do what we want.”

“I just get to go pursue my passion, do what I love,” Tebow said. “I get to pursue this awesome game of baseball. I’ll give everything I have to it.”

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said on Thursday that he was not driven to sign Tebow by the “novel situation” or as some would say, publicity but simply because they think he might be able to play baseball.

Via Bloomberg, Alderson said, “This was not something that was driven by marketing considerations or anything of the sort. We are extremely intrigued with the potential that Tim has. He has demonstrated over his athletic career that he is a tremendous athlete, has great character, a competitive spirit. And aside from the age, this is a classic player development opportunity for us.”

 

 

It was rumored the Atlanta Braves had interest. That would make sense given Tebow’s affiliation with the south, and much of the territory the Braves hold media rights to, and the geographic location of their minor league clubs. Tebow the Florida Gator and Heisman winner is well known in Tennessee, Georgia, Virgina and other cities which he could have played minor league ball in. Alas, he went big city on us.

The logical conclusion is that Tebow had many offers, but chose New York. Knowing Tebow’s mindset as we do, he really believes he can make it to the big league club and he just wants a shot. When he gets his shot, why not make it New York city, where he and his message can shine brightest.

Next week, Tebow, 27 will be in Port Saint Lucie where he will play in the Mets instructional league.

If he does well or the Mets will move him to fall baseball and then we’re talking spring training with the Mets in 2017.

 

 

The A.L. East continues to be the most interesting postseason race

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Four out of the five teams entering play Wednesday are within three and a half games of the 2016 Playoffs. Everyone but the Yankees, the Orioles (in Wild Card lead) Boston Red Sox (2nd in wild card) and the Blue Jays (division leaders) are slated for the postseason. The Yankees are 3.5 games out of the second wild card spot.

With the first Wild Card Game slated for October 4th, and the last regular season game scheduled for Sunday October 2nd, there are 32 days left until the end of the 2016 regular season.

 

None of the four A.L east playoff contenders are especially hot, each having only won one consecutive game or lost a game entering play Wednesday. The Blue Jays and Yankees are headed in the right direction having each won six of the last ten games with the Orioles going .500 over the last 10 and the Red Sox having lost six of their last 10.

Boston holds a one game lead on the Orioles and the Orioles hold a one game lead on the Detroit Tigers. Including the Tigers, there are five teams within four games of the final wild card spot.

This weekend’s three-game set between the Orioles and the Yankees in Baltimore should have a monumental impact on the Yankees post season hopes. While the Red Sox can make hay by playing the nearly 20 games below .500 Oakland A’s.

 

 

The Yankees offer a helping hand

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—These are not the Yankees that I remember. The Yankees of 2016 are now known as a selfless organization willing to give second chances (A-Rod), build from within (goodbye Beltran) and help those in need. Old Hal Steinbrenner ain’t so bad.

ESPN by way of the Daily News reports the Yankees have offered to pay whatever it costs to help Dwight Gooden get drug counseling.

In recent days Gooden has denied a serious drug problem despite the public concern by former teammate Darryl Strawberry who called Gooden a “complete junkie-addict” after Gooden failed to make a public appearance along with Strawberry last week.

Gooden told the Daily News this week, yes he’s an addict, but he does not have a drug problem as he stood outside his New Jersey apartment and spoke with a reporter from the New York Daily News.

Meanwhile, Gooden’s former drug counselor told the paper, “They said they’re willing to pay for Dwight’s treatment, which is a huge gesture on their behalf.”

“They’ve always tried to do right by Dwight, going back to George Steinbrenner when he gave him a chance to play again.”

More via ESPN.com 

 

 

Olympic Basketball: Jerry Colangelo, honest and old school

in HOOPS/Trending by
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—Jerry Colangelo is a good guy. An old school guy. A basketball lifer. Successful. Respected.

Perhaps he came up living in a world where people really did say how they felt and really didn’t catch much grief for it. But you see with the dawn of the information age, we’ve got to have something to fill up these screens twenty-four-seven-365.

Following Sunday’s Gold medal victory in the Rio games, Colangelo said via Yahoo Sports.

“I’m all for raising the bar for global basketball.”

“The more interest in basketball on all levels, I’m for. I’m a lifer of the game. Basketball is the No.2 sport in the world. We just need to see these other countries get their acts together and become more competitive. I’m not going to be making any excuses.”

“One of the officials said to me, ‘You oughta play with four.’ I said, ‘No, maybe the other teams oughta get their act together and compete.’ We’ve been helping in basketball around the world for 50 years. We’ve taught the world the game. We’ve taught their coaches. Look at the number of players in the NBA. Look at the number of international players in college today in the states. We’re all for that. I want to see their level raised.”

Somehow, someway, USA Basketball brought a roster of  maybe 8 the top 10 basketball players in the world on its rosters, save for a guy named LeBron and Curry who sat out.

How in the world did that happen. Oh that’s right the game was invented.

But Colangelo expected for the world to catch up by now. Perhaps he sees interest peeked in the game but the powers that be “misorganizing” or failing to implement a cohesive model of player develop that will yield a consistent bevy of superstars as the US does.

Either way-the dreamyish rosters of USA Basketball since 1992 has been pretty amazing, however less Colangelo forget that in 2004 the US finished with the bronze not the gold. A team coached by Larry Brown, that featured the world’s greatest player LeBron James.

The world was wanting the U.S. to get their act together, and so it did, hiring Colangelo in 2005 and the Men’s team has not lost a game in Olympic play since.

That’s why Kevin Durant calls Colangelo “The Godfather”.

Photo Credit: Embed from Getty Images

11 Ways Golf Has Changed Since Tiger Woods’ Last Start 

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The good ol’ days ended one year ago this week at the Wyndham Championship. It was at this tournament in 2015 that Tiger Woods (you remember him, right?) last teed it up on the PGA Tour. Woods was in contention in the final round until he triple-bogeyed the 11th and bogeyed the 12th. He bogeyed four of the last six holes to finish 10th, four behind the winner, 51-year-old Davis Love III. Woods hasn’t competed in an event since and has gingerly made only a few swings in public in the wake of his third back surgery. Plenty has changed in the 12 months since our last Tiger sighting on Tour.

Source: 11 Ways Golf Has Changed Since Tiger Woods’ Last Start | Golf.com

Darryl Strawberry leading fight to help Doc Gooden save his life – NY Daily News

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“He’s a complete junkie-addict,” Strawberry said. “I’ve been trying behind the scenes to talk to him and get him to go for help, but he won’t listen. He thinks he can manipulate and BS his way through everything. His son called me to beg me to help his dad before he dies.

Source: Darryl Strawberry leading fight to help Doc Gooden save his life – NY Daily News

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