The Rundown: Cubs Bombed by Brewers, Arrieta Released, Contreras Injured, Field of Dreams Game Exceeds Hype

“Well I’m a substitute for another guy, I look pretty tall but my heels are high. The simple things you see are all complicated, I look pretty young but I’m just backdated, yeah.” – The Who, Substitute

Instant Replay

Note: Today’s preamble is presented to you by Luis from Marvel’s Ant-Man movie franchise because Mike spent $5,000 to go to the Field of Dreams Game even though he can’t afford to pay his electric bill.

So I went to the Cubs game yesterday at Wrigley Field which is on Clark and Addison and the weather was fine but not as fine as this woman who was sitting in the bleachers next to me, and she was like “Hi I’m Mandy, the girl you wish you hadn’t started a conversation with, and I just got divorced” and I was all like “I’m Luis from Los Angeles” and she said, “I know who you are, I’m friends with your cousin Hector.”

So I grab us each a beer and some nachos and the guy behind the counter is like “Yo, your date is fine,” and I’m like “Yeah, I know, ain’t she?” and here comes the good part, the vendor says “Hey, Dog, you guys look so good together there’s no way the Cubs can lose today” so I said “Cool, Bro, and thanks, plus my boy Kyle Hendricks is starting” and then Mandy said, “The Cubs never lose when I come to a game until like, the last five or six because I have been here every day but like all of their best players are on vacation or something.” So naturally, we thought a victory was in the bag.

Well, Mandy and I had this mad conversation going on for what seemed like hours, you know, and I look up at the scoreboard and the Cubs are down 9-1 but I’m not giving up, and Mandy says “This is minexusable and misrespecatble. This whole bulldozer thing by Jed Clampett is ribbed for no one’s pleasure…and I’m sorry I’m not following all the lepers and just jumping off the cliffs just to strike oil with all the rookies down on the zoo, but where is Anthony Bryant during all this? It’s like he walked away from his buddies when it was his turn to buy a round of cocktails!”

And then all of the sudden the Brewers added seven more runs but then Frank Schwindel hit a home run and then Patrick Wisdom jacked one over the wall and I said, “Yo, Patrick, you’re pretty old for a rookie but I got you, Bro! The comeback is on!” and Mandy was like “Can I get a Frank Streudel jersey after the game?” and I was all like “Of course, girl, I got you, too” and she was like “I need a substitute for my Rizzo Ratso jersey like stat. Hey, wait a minute, is that pitcher throwing the ball to himself?”

I looked, and wow, Andrew Romine was having a catch with his brother Austin Romine!

Anyway, the replacement Cubs lost 17-4, and get this, they lost every single game on the homestand and now they have to go on the road to play the Marlins, which is okay because my buddy Mike knows Derek Jeter and he’s going to score tickets for Mandy and me and we’re gonna catch a morning flight to the F-L-A.

At first, Mandy didn’t want to go, because she said “This complacent Cubs’ team is such a dichotomy to watch” but then she was like, “Oh wait, is Jeter still dating Jessica Alba because she’s my fifth-cousin twice removed and I want to make sure I get invited to their nuptials” and then I added “I’m not sure but I think that’s happening this weekend,” and then believe it or not, Dog, get this: We both said at exactly the same time “If we go to J-Rod’s wedding at least we won’t have to watch the Cubs lose again.”

Cubs News & Notes

Odds & Sods

Three cheers for Rob Manfred, ladies and gentlemen.

Climbing the Ladder

“I took the tube back out of town back to the rollin’ pin. I felt a little like a dyin’ clown with a streak of rin tin tin” – The Who, Who Are You?

  • Games Played: 117
  • Total Plate Appearances: 4,284
  • Total Strikeouts: 1,142
  • Strikeout Rate: 26.7%
  • Team Batting Average: .227

The Cubs had 27 hits in the four-game series against Milwaukee, while the Brewers had 22 hits in yesterday’s game alone. If you’re looking for a positive, Ian Happ was 1-for-5 with two strikeouts to raise his batting average to .176.

Apropos of Nothing

The Who song mentioned in the previous section has incredible references to Tin Pan Alley, the Brill Building writers, trying to collect royalties, and the state of the music industry in general, but it is its opening stanza that resonates with me as spot-on Pete Townshend autobiography (at the time):

“I woke up in a Soho doorway, a policeman knew my name,
He said, “You can go sleep at home tonight if you can get up and walk away.”
I staggered back to the underground and the breeze blew back my hair,
I remember throwin’ punches around and preachin’ from my chair.”

When performers attempted to pick up royalty checks in the 1960s and ’70s, label and publishing executives would make them sit for hours hoping they’d just get up and leave rather than wait e.g. “11 hours in the Tin Pan, god there’s got to be a better way.”

How About That!

Tim Anderson knew he was ready to win the game when he stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the 9th with a man on in last night’s MLB showcase game.

If you live in Iowa you were probably dismayed that you did not have live access to the game. FOX owned the broadcasting rights and White Sox games are blacked out for much of the state, including Dyersville, where the game was played.

FOX set a Major League Baseball ad sales revenue record with last night’s game and took in more cash from the one-off event than from any other regular-season game during the network’s 25-year relationship with the league.

The Field of Dreams game was a perfect combination of baseball’s past and present and was the greatest professional sporting event ever held in the state of Iowa.

Perhaps MLB should consider a game played on the field used for the movie “The Sandlot” in Salt Lake City, UT.

Orioles first baseman Chris Davis announced he is retiring effective immediately.

Chris Sale and Kyle Schwarber are ready to return to the Red Sox.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Not a baseball story, but the New Orleans Saints are requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test within 72 hours for fans wishing to attend home games this year. Fans will also be required to mask up.

Milwaukee announced similar rules for Summerfest, which has been pushed back to the first three weekends in September. It seems likely that baseball stadiums will follow suit until vaccination rates rise, especially with the playoffs looming.

Of note, Tulane University, whose student body has a 90% vaccination rate, will invoke the same requirements. It’s something to keep an eye on.

Thursday’s Three Stars

  1. Tim Anderson – The White Sox shortstop now owns the most surreal moment in baseball this year, hitting a walk-off home run into an Iowa cornfield that was probably caught by the ghost of Shoeless Joe Jackson.
  2. Luis Urías – The Milwaukee third baseman feasted on Cubs’ pitchers yesterday, going 5-for-6 with three doubles, two home runs, five runs scored, and five RBI.
  3. Aaron Judge – The Yankees right fielder hit two towering home runs and plated five runners in a 9-8 loss to the White Sox.

Extra Innings

Anderson has the fire and swag that used to be the norm at Wrigley Field.

They Said It

  • “It was the right thing to do for [Arrieta]. For us, it just seemed like the right time. Nothing that happened on the mound last night or the other nights in any way diminishes his role in club history. I think when you look back there’s a really good argument to say he’s one of the more influential people in the history of this franchise. Other guys probably had longer careers, probably put up some more numbers, but when you look at what the apex of his career was here, you can argue he had as much influence in that or as much to do with that as any single player.” – Jed Hoyer
  • “Nobody likes losing.” – David Ross

Friday Walk-Up Song

Old Days by Chicago – Sigh. At least the final score wasn’t 25 or 6 to 4.

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