Tag Archives: baseball

There’s One Huge Bright Side to the Cubs’ Shattering NLCS Loss (via The Loop / Golf Digest)

Aw, let’s get you guys some Big League Chew.

 

The Loop — Do you remember, in maybe third or fourth grade, when you’d be hanging out on the merry-go-round/climbing wall/tire swing at the playground, minding your own business, talking about baseball cards or fishing lures or four square or whatever, and some larger, meatier bullies from the eighth grade would materialize out of nowhere, claim the place for themselves and their Anthrax shirts and shove you and your friends right into the cut-up tire shavings?

That’s about what this NLCS felt like to us Cubs fans, although we felt maybe less like third graders and more like kindergarteners who were like just, “Hey, we’re just trying to drink our chocolate milk here, WHY ARE YOU GUYS BEING SO MEAN?” The Cubs got pulverized, manhandled, sucker-punched, then lifted up by their hair and sucker-punched again. Do you remember the WWF’s old Saturday morning shows, where wrestlers you’d heard of would wail on pathetic jobbers like Steve Lombardi? Yeah. This is a Cubs team that rallied for a glittering second half to win the NL Central — and, may I remind you, mostly the group that won a World Series last year — and they put up a prime-time ride-or-die series that resembled the bulk of my Little League career. I can only imagine, and I know this is silly, that somewhere Kris Bryant’s mom is taking him to Ivanhoe’s for a double chocolate milkshake. (Kris, if you’re reading, seriously it helps.)

The upside to that horrible loss. 

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Jon Lester Picked a Guy Off, and Other Tales of Athletes Who Beat the Yips (via The Loop / Golf Digest)

Go get ’em, Jon

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The Loop / Golf Digest — Jon Lester, who is an 1860-era Civil War cannon masquerading as a pitcher and part of the Cubs’ really quite unfair 2016 pitching rotation, is known both for being a competitor of unusual ferocity and his inability to throw from the mound to first base, a condition that commonly travels under the deceptively adorable name of the “yips.” Separate from performance anxiety, nerves and good old-fashioned choking, the yips are a mental condition that manifests itself in people who are paid grotesque amounts of money to play a game sudddenly suffering a random, inexplicable and often traumatic inability to perform a small part of it. It’s neither curious nor rare; researchers at the Mayo Clinic have said that the affliction grips between a third to a half of all serious golfers, which translates into a lot of people suddenly unable to do the thing they drove to a club to do. The problem, researchers say, is some as-yet-undiscovered short-fuse in the mind, a mental hiccup or thorn, some synapse firing right instead of left. Watch how many quotes here regard a player’s brain instead of his hands.

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The Cubs Are Going to Win It All This Year, Unless That Headline Just Cursed Them Forever (via GQ)

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GQ — It is the weirdest feeling to walk into Wrigley Field and expect good things. This is Wrigley. Expectation doesn’t happen here. Hope, sure. Delirium, annually. Layering yourself a mental brickwork of psychological defense against a century of history, yes, as a matter of course. But when you’re sitting in the third-base grandstands and Addison Russell has just crushed a three-run homer for the lead in the eighth and the place feels like it’s going to explode it’s hard not to think one thing: Where the hell am I?

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Lifelong Cubs Fan Still Can’t Believe They’re Going to the Playoffs (via GQ)

If you buy them inside Wrigley, paper bags are $24.

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GQ — Barring some sort of monumental collapse, the Chicago Cubs are bound for the playoffs, and I think we all know what that means: We’re about to witness some sort of monumental collapse. Because if being a Cubs fan teaches you anything, it’s to believe nothing, to trust nothing, that life is pain and all hope dies. Or, you know, some variation on that, I’m still playing with the wording and the smothering darkness.

The sad, sad tale at GQ.com.

 

 

 


It’s perfectly OK to be afraid of a 9-year-old pitcher

Island Packet — I am trying to imagine a scenario in which, at any point in my athletic history, I would have been disqualified from participating in something because I was too good at it. I am now trying to imagine bringing up this scenario to anyone I know and not watching them explode in a fiesta of vigorous snort-giggling.

I can imagine the opposite situation happening, but that’s mostly because it wouldn’t be “imagining” so much as “recalling in horror.” There was the Unfortunate Incident of the Junior-High Gymnastics Competition That We Had For Some Reason, which culminated with my being punched out pretty effectively by a pommel horse.  There was the Freshman Year Soccer Game Of Hideous Terror, during which I had to be appointed goalie because I kept using my hands to do things, apparently a pretty make-or-break thing when it comes to soccer. And there was, of course, the Great Rec League Basketball Fiasco of 2007. “Everyone on this team has a role,” a teammate told me mid-season, “You’re not a shooter.”

(Literally, I quit high-school cross country in the first week of training, when I was startled to learn that practices involved a pretty decent amount of running. I also remain convinced that several of my Little League teams growing up would deliberately tell me the incorrect location of our upcoming games, which was especially cold, since my Dad was the coach.)
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