Big League Stew

  • The World Series is going back to Cleveland. The Chicago Cubs staved off elimination Sunday, picking up a narrow 3-2 win over the Cleveland Indians in Game 5. With the win, Chicago forces the series back to Cleveland for Game 6.

    The contest proved to be tense throughout. Cleveland picked up an early lead on a home run from Jose Ramirez in the second inning. Despite the early deficit, the Cubs refused to quit. The team was carried by excellent defensive plays in both the second and third innings before the offense did its thing in the fourth.

    Chicago finally figured out Trevor Bauer, picking up three runs against the 25-year-old righty. It was one of the few times all postseason the Indians coughed up a lead.

    Kris Bryant and Ben Zobrist picked up big hits in the Cubs' Game 5 win. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
    Kris Bryant and Ben Zobrist picked up big hits in the Cubs’ Game 5 win. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

    Cleveland, however, would battle back. A sixth-inning single from Francisco Lindor scored Rajai Davis from second, cutting the Cubs’ lead to just one run.

    The tight game caused Joe Maddon

    Read More »from Five key moments from the Cubs' 3-2 win in World Series Game 5
  • University of Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh is a documented Chicago Cubs fan, so it comes as no surprise he was in attendance for Game 5 of the World Series on Sunday.

    As we learned two years ago, Jim Harbaugh is also a pretty accomplished ballhawk, having collected 20 baseballs or thereabouts during a lifetime of attending games. With that in mind, it should also come as no surprise he came equipped with his glove and a look of intensity that dared anyone near him to invade his space.

    Even his father, Jack Harbaugh, was keeping his distance. Wisely so.

    Of course, bringing a glove to the game is not as widely as accepted as it used to be. Especially for those who have graduated beyond middle school. But those unwritten rules of fandom don’t apply to Jim Harbaugh, because Jim Harbaugh doesn’t care.

    An intense Jim Harbaugh takes in World Series Game 5... with his trusty glove. (FOX Sports)
    An intense Jim Harbaugh takes in
    Read More »from Jim Harbaugh's at the World Series and of course he brought his glove
  • David Ross and Anthony Rizzo prove that two gloves are better than one. (AP)
    David Ross and Anthony Rizzo prove that two gloves are better than one. (AP)

    CHICAGO — It’s only polite for young whippersnappers to give their grandfathers a hand, and thus Anthony Rizzo came to the rescue of David Ross in Game 5 of the World Series and created a rather fantastic highlight.

    It happened in the top of the second inning, when Carlos Santana hit a foul pop-up toward the Cleveland Indians’ dugout. Ross, the 39-year-old backup catcher the Chicago Cubs affectionately called Grandpa Rossy, gave chase.

    He got his glove on it, but the ball popped out. In swooped Rizzo from first base — one of the guys behind the Grandpa Rossy Instagram account — to catch the ball before it hit the ground for a good ol’ 2-3 putout. Rizzo actually tipped it to himself before making the catch. Very nice, guys.

    For fans of a certain age, the play immediately brings to mind the

    Read More »from Cubs recreate World Series magic with circus catch
  • Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona has a bit of a sweet tooth. Francona’s ridiculous gum habit has already been discussed this postseason, but his love of sugar predates that. Who could forget the night Francona ate 17 popsicles and then prayed he wouldn’t puke?

    Following Friday’s 7-2 win over the Chicago Cubs in Game 4 of the World Series, Francona now has another epic dessert story.

    Francona had trouble sleeping following the victory, so he did what any other sane person would do: He ordered a buttload of ice cream. Forty-four dollars worth of ice cream, actually.

    “Now,” you might be asking yourself, “what exactly does $44 worth of ice cream get you?” Thankfully, we have an answer. Here’s Francona’s full order, courtesy of Zack Meisel of Cleveland.com.

    Read More »from Terry Francona celebrated Game 4 with an insane amount of ice cream
  • CHICAGO — They passed the chalk from person to person, a shared bit of hope between folks melded together by an allegiance to this baseball team.

    Just so happens this baseball team is history’s most hopeless baseball team and it now finds itself in an almost hopeless situation — down 3-1 in its first World Series in 71 years, trying to prevent their famous 108-year championship drought from reaching 109.

    So they turned to chalk and to the brick walls of Wrigley Field, right there along Sheffield Avenue, where fans line up to get into the bleachers. They wrote things, thousands of them.

    “Cubs We Love You”

    “We Never Give Up”

    “This is the Year”

    “Baez is Bae”

    “I Believe”

    James Duvcevksi, a Cubs fan from Australia. (Mike Oz / Yahoo Sports)
    James Duvcevksi, a Cubs fan from Australia. (Mike Oz / Yahoo Sports)
    (Mike Oz / Yahoo Sports)
    (Mike Oz / Yahoo Sports)

    How did this start? Nobody was really sure. But it stretched the length of right field. The messages started around 2 p.m. local time, five hours before first pitch. Sanctioned graffiti, a police officer overlooking the scene called

    Read More »from Cubs fans spontaneously write on Wrigley Field walls to rally team
  • Despite the Chicago Cubs trailing the Cleveland Indians three games to one in the World Series, the return of slugger Kyle Schwarber remains a big story. That’s because his return to the Cubs lineup in Games 1 and 2 was nothing short of extraordinary after his season had been ruled over in April after he sustained a torn ACL and LCL.

    Everyone has taken notice of Schwarber’s recovery, return and also his production so far during the World Series. That includes Braxton Miller, a former rival on the high school gridiron who went on to star at quarterback for Ohio State University and is currently a wide receiver for the Houston Texans.

    It turns out there’s quite a relationship between Miller and Schwarber. In fact, Miller once influenced Schwarber to steer his career more toward baseball.

    Or at least that’s how Miller is telling in the story.

    Last week on Facebook, Miller posted a photo of himself playing prep football for Wayne High School in Huber Heights, Ohio. In the photo, he’s seen

    Read More »from How an NFL player might cash in on Kyle Schwarber's success
  • CHICAGO — The Cubs’ dreams could be shattered here on Sunday night, but manager Joe Maddon isn’t making it seem like panic has set in. The most chill skipper in baseball, in fact, is taking his foot off the pedal a bit before Sunday’s potential World Series elimination game.

    Maddon is letting the Cubs to show up at the ballpark just 90 minutes before game time, according to MLB.com’s Richard Justice, different from the days where they show up four or five hours before first pitch.

    That’s not mandatory. There is optional batting practice three hours before the game, if Cubs players want.

    Either way, it’s a Joe Maddon move. He’s known for his loose atmosphere and sayings like “Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure.” So maybe that will be the key for the Cubs in Game 5? Maybe that will wake

    Read More »from What you need to know before Game 5 of the World Series
  • Ticket prices on the resale market for Game 5 of the World Series in Chicago have plummeted after the Cubs lost consecutive games on Friday and Saturday, pushing them to the brink of elimination.

    According to SeatGeek, prices for tickets to Game 5 had already fallen nearly 40 percent following the Cubs Game 3 loss, which eliminated any possibility of them clinching their first World Series championship in 108 years at Wrigley Field on Sunday night.

    Prices took yet another large dip following their Game 4 loss, as median listing prices fell almost 60 percent from $3,563 to $1,532. For further perspective, SeatGeek notes that some tickets selling for $2500 before Game 3 have fallen below $800 for Game 5.

    Downtown skyline is seen behind the scoreboard at Wrigley Field before Game 3 of the World Series. (AP)
    Downtown skyline is seen behind the scoreboard at Wrigley Field before Game 3 of the World Series. (AP)

    These developments are not surprising given the current state of the series. Just the possibility that Cubs fans could witness a historic clincher at Wrigley Field was enough to

    Read More »from World Series Game 5 ticket prices sinking with Cubs on brink of elimination
  • CHICAGO — They weren’t here for the Andrew Miller show, but then again, the Andrew Miller show isn’t exactly an opt-in experience.

    As the Cleveland Indians and their brilliant manager Terry Francona have proven time and time again this postseason, Miller Time can happen anytime, whether you want it or not. Whether the Chicago Cubs, Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox have wanted it or not.

    As it was, Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman, two closers so good that Major League Baseball named its annual relief pitcher awards after them, arrived at Wrigley Field on Saturday with a different mission. But trying to avoid Andrew Miller in the World Series is like trying to hit Andrew Miller. You know, difficult.

    Rivera and Hoffman handed out the trophies given in their name — the AL and NL Relief Pitchers of the Year, presented by The Hartford. Zach Britton won in the AL and Kenley Jansen in the NL, two very fine pitchers with fantastic seasons. But neither was as dynamic in the postseason as

    Read More »from The two greatest closers of all-time agree: Andrew Miller is unbelievable
  • According to one witness, Jose Fernandez was not likely driving at the time his boat crashed, killing him, 27-year-old Emilio Jesus Macias and 25-year-old Eduardo Rivero on the morning of Sept. 25. (AP)
    According to one witness, Jose Fernandez was not likely driving at the time his boat crashed, killing him, 27-year-old Emilio Jesus Macias and 25-year-old Eduardo Rivero on the morning of Sept. 25. (AP)

    Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez was legally drunk and had cocaine in his system at the time his boat crashed into a Miami Beach jetty, according to toxicology reports released Saturday.

    However, it remains unclear whether Fernandez, the boat’s owner, or one of two others on board, 27-year-old Emilio Jesus Macias and 25-year-old Eduardo Rivero, was driving when the boat crashed on Sept. 25, killing all three men.

    According to an Associated Press report on Sunday, at least one witness in direct contact with Fernandez that evening has come forward suggesting the 24-year-old was not driving in the moments before the accident.

    Here’s more from the AP:

    Authorities have interviewed a “highly reliable” witness who said he was on the phone with Fernandez just before the crash and heard the

    Read More »from Witness suggests Jose Fernandez wasn't driving boat at time of fatal accident
  • CHICAGO — It happened, just like it had so many times before in his head. Like it had so many times in all of our heads.

    He was in Wrigley Field. But maybe his backyard. He looked back at the pitcher on the mound. But maybe it was his dad. He swung when the 87-mph cutter came. But maybe it was a wiffle ball or an acorn.

    As he rounded the bases, he looked up at his mom. As he rounded the bases, he looked up at his mom.

    Fantasy and reality, if you’re lucky — like Jason Kipnis was in Game 4 of the World Series — they collide sometimes. There he was, watching the ball fly over the fence at Wrigley Field, rounding the bases, looking up to section 120 where his parents, sister, brothers and aunt Mary were, then thrusting his hand in the air and pointing at them.

    “Everybody makes that situation up in the backyard,” Kipnis said Saturday night, still standing on Wrigley Field, where his Cleveland Indians had beat the Chicago Cubs 7-2 to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the World Series. “You can

    Read More »from Jason Kipnis' World Series homer was a childhood fantasy with a twist
  • Cleveland Indians reliever Andrew Miller is on the verge of postseason immortality. With Cleveland just one win away from a World Series title, Miller is quickly approaching “never have to buy another drink in this town again territory.”

    The 31-year-old reliever has been one of the, if not the, biggest reason Cleveland finds itself in this position. Game after game, Miller comes in and completely baffles opposing hitters for an inning or two. He never gets tired. His stuff is always sharp. And no one can hit him.

    That dominance continued Saturday in Game 4 of the World Series. Miller pitched two more innings during Cleveland’s 7-2 win against the Chicago Cubs. He struck out two during the effort.

    With the outing, Miller set the record for most strikeouts by a reliever in a single postseason.

    That surpasses Francisco Rodriguez’s 28

    Read More »from Andrew Miller breaks postseason strikeout record for a reliever
  • Kris Bryant searches for answers with Cubs on the brink

    CHICAGO — Kris Bryant would have had every reason to hide out.

    The Chicago Cubs third baseman is hitting .071 (1-for-14) over the first four games of this World Series and has yet to record an extra-base hit. Bryant’s approach at the plate has been more Heyward than “Hey, Hey!” and he made two errors in one inning during the Cubs’ 7-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians in Saturday night’s Game 4.

    The Cubs are one loss away from their title drought counter rolling over to 109 years and Bryant’s name was at the top of frustrated fans’ minds as they aired their grievances at Wrigley.

    Yet instead of performing a time-honored tactic like taking an extra-long shower, loitering in the trainers room or simply ghosting toward the players’ parking lot, Bryant was the first player the media saw then the doors to a disappointed Cubs clubhouse opened.

    The television cameras lined up two deep around Bryant’s locker stall and reporters used any available space to thrust their microphones toward him. And

    Read More »from Kris Bryant searches for answers with Cubs on the brink
  • The intense competition of postseason baseball usually does more to fuel angst and tension between opponents than it does to bring them closer together. We’d assume that would be even more true in the middle of a World Series game between two franchises looking to end historic championship droughts while their respective cities live and die with every pitch.

    For most players, that probably is true.

    For Francisco Lindor, it clearly isn’t.

    The fun-loving Cleveland Indians shortstop always has time for fun and friendship, and that was never more apparent than the moment he randomly hugged a Chicago Cubs reliever after chasing a foul ball  during the Indians 7-2 win in Game 4.

    Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor hugs Cubs reliever Hector Rondon during the third inning of World Series Game 4. (MLB)
    Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor hugs Cubs reliever Hector Rondon during the third inning of World Series Game 4. (MLB)

    OK, so maybe the hug wasn’t entirely random. The Cubs reliever is believed to be Hector Rondon, and it would appear there’s a previous friendship. Nonetheless, we’re not used to seeing hugfests

    Read More »from Francisco Lindor is turning the World Series into a hugfest
  • Dating back to the start of the LCS, teams had been 14-0 when scoring first this postseason. That was completely blown up by the Cleveland Indians as they overcame a first-inning deficit to soundly defeat the Chicago Cubs 7-2 in World Series Game 4.

    To put that trend in better perspective, teams that scored first never even relinquished the lead during that 14-game stretch. That’s right, for as intense as many of these games have been, the lead never changed hands one time. The Indians aren’t here to deal with trends though. They’re here to win a championship, and they’re one step closer now after scoring seven unanswered runs.

    Pitching on three days rest, Corey Kluber was his usual brilliant self. In six innings, he allowed one run on five hits with six strikeouts. That was perhaps even more than manager Terry Francona had anticipated, but it allowed him to save Andrew Miller for the seventh inning. Miller recorded six outs, while closer Cody Allen was given the entire night off.

    Read More »from Five key moments from the Indians' 7-2 win in World Series Game 4
  • CHICAGO — Pete Seat walked into Wrigley Field on Saturday night, his 11th straight year going to a World Series game. This year, though, he looked a little different. He felt a little different too. This, he thought, was the dream realized.

    Usually, he’d wear a World Series jacket and a cap from the previous year’s series. They’re the souvenirs of his streak. This year? Cubs cap. Cubs T-shirt. Because this year was all about the Cubs. All of this, actually, was all about the Cubs.

    “Here we are,” he said, flashing maybe the biggest smile in the stadium.

    You see, the reason Seat, 33, started “the streak” was because he’s a Cubs diehard and desperately wanted to go to the World Series. So 10 years ago, he booked a plane flight, bought a ticket and went to his first one. Even if the Cubs never made it to the World Series in his lifetime — a reality that many people in Wrigleyville a lot older than him have feared — he’d at least have this. If he went to the World Series 50 straight years,

    Read More »from After 10 years of World Series roadtrips, Cubs fan finally gets a home game
  • Carlos Santana joins rare club with World Series homer at Wrigley

    CHICAGO — Carlos Santana, meet Babe Ruth.

    And Joe DiMaggio. And Lou Gehrig. And Hank Greenberg. And Jimmie Foxx.

    And, well, you get the idea.

    The second-inning home run by Santana during Saturday’s World Series Game 4 put the Cleveland Indians first baseman into rarefied air. Not only was it the first World Series home run hit at Wrigley Field in 71 years, it was only the 20th total World Series home run hit at the ballpark.

    Carlos Santana's second-inning homer put him in exclusive company. (Getty Images)
    Carlos Santana’s second-inning homer put him in exclusive company. (Getty Images)

    Cleveland’s Jason Kipnis joined the list at No. 21 with a three-run blast in the seventh inning. Chicago’s Dexter Fowler added No. 22 with a leadoff home run in the eighth inning  to become the first Cubs player to hit a home run in the World Series at Wrigley Field since Chuck Klein in 1935.

    Only seven of the 22 World Series homers hit at Wrigley have come from the Cubs.

    No home runs were hit by either team during Friday’s Game 3 despite a vicious wind blowing out to center.

    Santana’s

    Read More »from Carlos Santana joins rare club with World Series homer at Wrigley
  • The Cubs used Kyle Schwarber as their DH in the first two games of the World Series. (AP)
    The Cubs used Kyle Schwarber as their DH in the first two games of the World Series. (AP)

    It was last October that Kyle Schwarber announced his presence to the world with a string of impressive home runs that rewrote the history books.

    If you recall, it was also during that run that we also discovered Schwarber’s talents aren’t just limited to crushing baseballs. He’s also a showman with an impressive array of dance moves who is capable of crushing it on stage.

    That video of Schwarber’s performing for Middletown High School’s Purple Pizzazz show choir back in 2011 became a viral sensation. Now though, it’s been rebranded and re-released in parody form thanks to Schwarber’s Cubs’ teammates.

    Behold, the Chicago Cubs Purple Pizzazz show choir, starring Addison Russell, Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, David Ross and, yes, even Kyle Schwarber.

    He’s still got it!

    Listen, we understand that

    Read More »from Cubs players parody Kyle Schwarber's memorable show choir performance
  • Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez died in a boat crash in September. (Getty Images/Christian Petersen)
    Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez died in a boat crash in September. (Getty Images/Christian Petersen)

    A toxicology report released Saturday has revealed that Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez was legally drunk and had cocaine in his system at the time of his fatal boat crash in Miami.

    The report — obtained by USA Today and the Miami Herald — shows Fernandez had been drinking in the early morning hours of Sept. 25, when he and two friends, Jesus Macias, 27, and Eduardo Rivero, 25, were killed in a boating accident off Miami Beach. His blood-alcohol level was 0.147, almost twice the legal limit of .08. The report also shows Fernandez had cocaine in his system, indicating use in the hours prior to the accident.

    Here’s the full report, via The Herald:

    A toxicology report for Rivero shows that he too had taken cocaine

    Read More »from Jose Fernandez's toxicology report shows cocaine, alcohol in system during fatal crash
  • Chicago Cubs World Series tickets are in such high demand right now, people will go to extensive lengths to get their hands on just one. For one divorcing Chicago area couple, that even meant taking an emergency case to the courtroom in order to sort out who legally owned a pair of tickets to Game 4 on Saturday night.

    According to the Associated Press, Cubs fan Nancy Riddle submitted an “Emergency Petition For World Series Tickets” to the Cook County Circuit Court on Friday with the hopes of wrestling two tickets away from estranged husband John Riddle, who is also a noted Cubs fan.

    The petition was ultimately rejected. However, the judge did lay down a ruling that could have the husband scrambling and potentially paying a significant chunk of change should he not willingly give up his ticket.

    From the AP report:

    Judge Marya Nega ruled after in-court arguments that the husband can keep the tickets for himself and the couple’s 12-year-old son but should pay for a new ticket for Nancy

    Read More »from Cubs fans clash in court over World Series Game 4 tickets