Nicholas Castellanos is Pretty OK

August 06, 2019 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

It's been a while but I thought I'd just pop on and say that Nicholas Castellanos is a pretty OK player. Also the return of Planters Cheez Balls has been a welcome surprise.

TMS Investigates: Who Pooped in Vinnie Vincent's Tub?

November 16, 2018 | Comments (0) | by Governor X

Earlier this year, mad with power and Apple Music, I listened to the entire KISS catalog.  I’d always liked a few songs, but never bothered to listen to the bulk of their music, but with easy access, it was finally time.  This delighted fellow TMS bartender Chaim Witz, a lifetime member of the KISS Army, who assigned me Vinnie Vincent’s Ankh Warrior as my KISS character.  Little did he know that when I unveiled my KISS album rankings, the Vinnie Vincent era would be near the top of the list (perhaps a bit too high upon further review, but that’s another story).

Maybe you know the bizarre story of post-KISS Vinnie or maybe you don’t.  Rolling Stone had a pretty thorough article on it here, but the TLDR version is he moved to Tennessee, became a recluse, kept dead dogs in storage bins, and periodically scammed some fans.  The most shocking development was yet to come though.  As first reported by @KISSman onTwitter, someone had pooped in Vinnie’s tub:

What kind of a monster would do such a thing?  My first thought was fellow TMS bartender Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan, a known KISS hater and all around reprobate, but he assured me that since it would involve entering the state of Tennessee, it wasn’t him.  It made sense.  I had to investigate though.  This aggression would not stand.  Vinnie himself is apparently so terrified he only recently reemerged and now lives in permanent disguise as Ann Wilson from Heart 

Since the poop  in question occurred in Tennessee, I first reached out to my good friend Dolly Parton, who also happens to be the biggest gossip in the state.  Dolly and I go back years and now that Kenny Rogers is dead, I’m one of only three living people that have seen her without a wig.  She said she wasn’t aware of the offending turd, but suggested I get my butt over to Tennessee if I wanted any answers:  “Governor X, you won’t know a lick of a spit on a tick or some other southernism about this if’in you don’t head down there and investigate.”

My god.  Tennessee.  A wasteland of wannabe country singers and people in ugly orange hats.  What choice did I have though?  No one else was going to investigate this.  Certainly not the liberal media!  I headed off to the airport and caught the first flight to Nashville, which inexplicably involved changing planes in Quebec City.  Fucking airlines.

I hit the ground as a pilgrim in an unholy land, rented a car, and drove out to Smyrna, the scene of the crime.  The Vinnie Vincent Estate isn’t easy to find, but the locals were no help.  Every inquiry devolved into a tale of colorful local history.  Eventually I found it on my own.  You could almost hear the guitar riffs of Lick It Up as the wind blew through the abandoned home, which was now populated only by raccoons. 

I finally made it to the bathroom.  Jesus.  There it is.  The turd.  It was still there!  I collapsed into a heap on the ground and tried to compose myself.  Who?  What?  Why?  The questions raced through my head.  Damn it man, you’ve got to focus here.  What would your favorite unnamed Scandinavian detective do?  I shook it off and focused.  Using some things I “borrowed” from a buddy in my local sheriff’s department, I carefully took a sample in a crime scene bag.

What now though?  Surely there wasn’t a police department south of Chicago that could actually run tests on this for me.  Plan B it was then.  I got back in my car and headed to the nearest diner.  I’d just go table to table confronting them with the turd until I got answers.  

I burst in and said, “NOW LISTEN UP YOU HAYSEEDS, I WANT SOME ANSWERS.”  First, a woman with poofy hair eating with her two grown sons. 

“What do you have to say for yourself? Is this your doing?”

Silence from all three.  I see how it is.  On to the next table.

“You there, Hee Haw, did you shit in the tub?”

Son, I don’t rightly know what you’re gettin’ on about here.

This is going to take a while.  I went from table to table, waving the poop sample bag in front of them as they ate, but it was just one stonewall after another.  Finally the man in the NRA hat had some answers.

“Did you sh-…” He cut me off.



Soros.  The billionaire banker.  Things like this are always linked to George Soros. Look it up.  You might need to look around though, ‘they’ [he makes air quotes] don’t want you to know.  Trust me.

A man in an NRA hat wouldn’t lie.  I knew he was leading me in the right direction, so I made it back to my hotel and got online.  I was aghast.  It was all here.  Protests, fluoride in the water, football players kneeling…all Soros.  I clenched my fist and muttered his name.  He had to be the pooper, or responsible for the pooper.  George Soros is Hungarian, so it looked like Budapest was my next stop.

Three days and eight layovers later, I landed in Budapest.  Naturally, I was immediately accosted by gypsy pickpockets – sorry, Roma pickpockets.  I don’t want to offend anyone!  Anyway, after defending my belongings, I hail a cab and tell the cabbie to take me straight to Soros’ lair.

As it turns out, Soros’ Dracula-style mountain lair is actually a tasteful home near the city center.  I rang the bell, expecting to be whisked away by his jackbooted goons, but instead a kindly old man answers the door.

May I help you?

“Thank goodness you instinctively knew to speak English.  Are you George Soros?”

Yes, what can I do for you?

“AH HA! J’accuse!  Is this your handiwork?”

I whip out the bag of poop, knowing I’ve nailed it.

I think you’d better come inside.  We should talk.

I step inside.  As usual, Soros was ten steps ahead.  No plans for world domination sitting on the coffee table or secret weapons systems.  Just pictures of the grandchildren an unopened mail.  Who does he think he’s fooling?  We sit down and he offers tea.  I assume it’s poisoned, but I don’t want to be rude and drink anyway.  It’s chamomile.  Gross!  I just come out with it.

“Why did you shit in Vinnie Vincent’s tub?”

Well, you wouldn’t know it to look at me, but I used to rock.  Back in the 80s, before getting into the world domination game, I dabbled in a bit of hair metal myself.  Played the bass.  I was good too!  Anyway, when I heard Vinnie was working on a side project, I thought this was my big chance.  I flew to Los Angeles and auditioned to play bass in the Vinnie Vincent Invasion.  I nailed it too, as much as you can nail a bass line.  When it was done, he thanked me for coming in and said I’d hear from him.  I never did.  After  years of waiting, I vowed revenge.  I would settle this score by sowing discord and toppling regimes throughout the world.  I’d also poop in his tub one day.  Then, about 6 years ago, my people on the ground told me he had gone out to buy new dead dog tubs and now was the time to strike.  So I went, I pooped in the tub, and I left.  I regret nothing.

“You know what Mr. Soros. That all makes sense.  That seems like a perfectly reasonable reaction to not getting a gig in a band.  Well, thank you for the tea and the kind chat.  I’ll be off.”

And that’s that.

Turns out you kind of deserved this Vinnie.

TMS Improv with Bud Norris

February 13, 2018 | Comments (0) | by Governor X

Braves, err Dodgers, no wait, Cardinals (really?) pitcher Bud Norris (aka Nud Borris) loves him some lettuce. It's all he talks about. Ask the Atlanta or LA beat writers. They'll tell you. You could ask the Cardinals beat writers too, but you'd get a long lecture on the best baseball town in America or some such shit, so know what you'll be dealing with. Anyway, he recently contacted us and told us he had a great joke. Take it away Nud:

Hello Norris Nation, Bud here. Stop me if you've heard this one before. A guy walks in to the doctor's office with a piece of lettuce sticking out of his butt. The doctor takes a look and says "I think this is just the tip of the iceberg." (rimshot)

Governor X's Best of 2017

December 22, 2017 | Comments (2) | by Governor X

Look, none of you give a damn but I love a good year end list more than I should, so here are some Top 5 of 2017 lists for you. I'm old and don't actually go to the movies anymore.

Top 5 2017 Movies I Added to My Will-Eventually-See List but Didn’t Go See
1) Trainspotting 2
2) Star Wars: The Last Jedi
3) It
4) Alien Covenant
5) I, Tonya

Top 5 Albums of 2017
1) The Used – The Canyon
2) The Killers – Wonderful Wonderful
3) Taylor Swift – Reputation
4) U2 – Songs of Experience
5) AFI – The Blood Album

Top 5 Worst Artists of 2017
1) Imagine Dragons
2) All the rap ones
3) John Mayer
4) Coldplay
5) Maroon 5

Top 5 Songs on Chinese Democracy
1) Better
2) Shackler's Revenge
3) Catcher in the Rye
4) Madagascar
5) This I Love

Top 5 Albums From Artists I Used to Like but Aren’t Any Good Anymore
1) Tokio Hotel – Dream Machine
2) Bush – Black and White Rainbows
3) Pitbull – Climate Change
4) Rise Against – Wolves
5) Kelly Clarkson – Meaning of Life

Top 5 Songs on Sixteen Stone in 2017
1) Machinehead
2) Comedown
3) Testosterone
4) Alien
5) Glycerine

Top 5 Dumbest Current Members of the US Senate
1.  Mazie Hirono
2.  Susan Collins
3.  Bill Cassidy
4.  Joni Ernst
5.  Ron Johnson

Breaking News: Curie Out as Tennessee Athletic Director

December 01, 2017 | Comments (2) | by Governor X

Tennessee Athletic Director Curie has been relieved of her duties. She has vowed to devote more time to scientific research.

U2 Albums, Ranked Properly

November 29, 2017 | Comments (7) | by Governor X

The decaying husk of Deadspin just released a garbage ranking of U2 albums in preparation of the release of Songs of Experience on December 1st.  Please disregard it.  Here is the correct list:

1) Achtung Baby
2) Zooropa
3) Joshua Tree
4) Songs of Innocence
5) Rattle and Hum
6) Pop
7) The Unforgettable Fire
8) How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
9) October
10) No Line on the Horizon
11) All That You Can’t Leave Behind
12) Boy
13) War

Miguel Montero Is Dead To Me

June 28, 2017 | Comments (1) | by Rich Funk

It's one of the oldest parenting tropes in pop culture.

"This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you."

I have that feeling right now. And for anyone that's written about something they feel passionately about, you know as well as I do that when you know what it is you want to write about, what you end up with isn't always what you expected. So to say that's how I'll feel when I'm done writing out whatever is about to happen may not be true. I've exercised feelings of anger, frustration and loss just by typing things out before. Maybe that's how this will end up. Maybe I'll have a bit more clarity and sympathy when all of this is said and done. I really hope so, because I don't like what I'm about to say any more than you like reading it.

Fuck you, Miguel Montero.

I didn't like that. I didn't like typing it. I don't like seeing it in front of the screen in front of me. But all morning today, I just keep coming back to that...

Fuck you, Miguel Montero.

Every time I look at his comments after last night's game...

Fuck you, Miguel Montero.

Anyone who has been to this site any time over the last 11 years can tell you that we do not shy away from language around here. I try not to go too overboard and keep the saltier language just for times when no other language will do. Unfortunately this is one of those times.

If you're one of the people that turned off the Cubs game after seeing sloppy-ass baseball, you might have missed the controversy. Or as we call it around here, MIGssing the MONtroversy*.

*(Editor Jake's Note: "Nobody is calling it that.")

Good to see that I'm not mad enough to miss the opportunity to make a shitty pun. But enough with the levity. This isn't going to get any easier, so let's dive right in.

So what happened?

If you missed the Cubs/Nationals game last night, consider yourself lucky. In a game the Cubs lost 6-1 (which didn't even feel that close to be honest), the battery of Arrieta to Montero allowed a whopping SEVEN steals in just 4 innings. Adding insult to injury, Trea Turner did that thing where he stole second and then immediately stole third during the same trip around the bases. Then he did it again. Then Michael Taylor did the same thing. That's when you know you have a problem. When stealing against you is so easy that every time someone does it, their first thought is "Well shit, I might as well keep going!"

To be fair, this was a problem that Joe should have seen coming. Trea Turner is one of the fastest players in the league. And guys like Taylor and Rendon are no strangers to swiping 15-20 bags a year so it's not like we got run roughshod by the Giambi brothers. Joe is smart enough to know that the combo of Jake being super slow to the plate and Miggy having the second worst arm on the team (I'll get to that later) was a recipe for disaster. A huuuuuge heaping spoonful of the blame needs to be poured over Joe's head on this one.

And that's how I left things after last night's loss. If I had to spread around 'blame' for the Nats running all over the place, I would have done it thusly:

Maddon: 70%
Arrieta: 15%
Miggy: 15%

And I wouldn't have given it a second thought. Tough loss to a great team and their best SP. No big deal, right?

So where's the MONtroversy?


Well that's certainly not positive

Yeah, not great, Bob. And honestly there's a lot to unpack here. Let's take a closer look.
The biggest problem I have is clear right off the bat. Coming off a tough loss to a great team, Montero's first thought was "I'd better get out in front of this and put the blame on someone else." Stolen bases don't "go on" anyone. This is a team effort. The pitcher is involved. The catcher is involved. The infielders are involved. It really doesn't speak well to Montero's current head space if he's thinking in such individually minded ways.
Here's something that shouldn't be overlooked: Montero said 'but my pitchers don't hold anybody on'. Pitchers plural, not singular. Is this frustration with both Arrieta and Lester? The whole pitching staff? The worst part about this particular comment is that it not only throws the pitching staff under the bus publicly, it throws the coaching staff under the bus publicly too.
Any team that has 'discovered' that Jake is slow can probably see that your arm is garbage too. Gotta love the guy worried about having blame placed on him immediately throwing the blame on someone else first. Classy move.
Well, funny you should mention that...

Oh boy...

I have to give so much credit to Baseball Reference's website. Not only did they provide me with all the following statistical information that will tear Miguel Montero a new one, but they laid it out in a way where pulling all these comparisons was way easier than I expected. We here at TMS looooove Baseball Reference. You should too. Donate them some money.

I decided to do a little digging. I had some questions and they need answers. SPOILER ALERT: Miggy ends up looking like butt.

QUESTION 1: Ok, so is Miggy's arm any good or what?

ANSWER: Yes! And no! I mean, it used to be. If you look at the career numbers, things don't look too bad.

Miggy's lifetime caught stealing percentage: 27%
The MLB average over that same time period: 28%

So for his career, Miggy's been juuuuuust slightly worse than the average catcher at throwing out would-be base stealers.

QUESTION 2: Ok, but how has he been lately? Miggy's got a lot of miles on those tires.

ANSWER: You're not going to like this...

Montero's caught stealing percentage by year:

2014: 29%
2015: 20%
2016: 11%
2017: 3%

Well that's certainly not a trend you like to see. And what was the ML average over that time?

2014: 28%
2015: 28%
2016: 27%
2017: 28%

Not really helping Miggy's case that the Cubs pitchers aren't keeping runners on. Lester and Arrieta, the two worst pitchers for keeping baserunners honest, have both been fixtures of the Cubs rotation since 2015, the year Miggy arrived.

QUESTION 3: What about the other Cubs catchers? Do they also throw out only 3% of their baserunners?


David Ross caught stealing percentage:

2014: 22%
2015: 26%
2016: 27%

Yes, Ross caught less than Miggy in 2015 and 2016, but he also caught EXCLUSIVELY for a pitcher that cannot throw to first. So no, Miguel, I don't think it's the Cubs pitchers not keeping guys at first honest that's the problem. Hell, Ross actually IMPROVED once he came to Chicago.

Willson Contreras caught stealing percentage:

2016: 37%
2017: 34%

To be fair, Willson's got an absolute cannon of an arm. But on the other hand, his caught stealing % in the majors (35%) lines up almost identically with his caught stealing % in the minors (33%), so it doesn't look like catching Cubs pitchers has affected his ability to throw out baserunners.

Honestly, this seems like the pride of a professional baseball player getting in the way of logic. I've never played professional sports, or even college sports. I can only imagine the confidence in yourself and your abilities it takes to be able to compete on that level. And a lot of athletes have a hard time grappling with the fact that they are getting older, slowing down, losing power. I think that's exactly what's happening here. I used to love hearing Miggy talk at Cubs Convention every year because he always gave very candid and very entertaining answers. But there's a thin line between being candid and being an asshole, and I'm starting to realize that Montero is not on the side that I always thought.

Well good thing this all happened in a vacuum, right?

Not so fast. Remember when Miggy started complaining to the press almost immediately after the Cubs World Series win? About how he thought he was misled about the amount of playing time he would have and all that? The funny thing is, there are a ton of similarities between that little controversy and this one:

Did it involve Miggy's shitty arm?

Yes! A big part of the reason Montero didn't play a lot in the World Series is because the Indians would run all over the place if given the chance. They were already licking their chops at the thought of Lester on the mound (and to a lesser extent, Arrieta), so having someone besides Ross or Contreras behind the plate was a bad idea (see...last night).

Was it something that Miggy should have kept behind closed doors?

Yes! Both last year's comments and last night's comments may actually have some merit. Maybe he was misled about the reason he didn't play a lot in the World Series. Maybe Cubs pitchers do a worse job than I realize at keeping baserunners honest. It doesn't change the fact that those comments should stay in the clubhouse, spoken to the people that need to know to make these kinds of problems better.

Did Miggy seem like he went out of his way to bitch to the media?

Yes! That's the worst part to me. He didn't try and hide things or even admit that ANY of the blame was his. And it's not like his comments are ever said with the expectation of privacy and overheard by reporters or off the record or anything. Miggy doesn't seem to have any problem going directly to the media and bitching to them before trying to discuss his problems internally.

Look, I get that Montero is probably frustrated. The Cubs aren't playing as well as we all expected they would this year. He's got a diminishing role on the team and had some really amazing and historic moments during last year's playoff run that are somewhat overshadowed. But holy shit, man. Did you think this was a good idea? You've been around baseball long enough to know how this would be viewed by both the media and the fans. And I was willing to give you a pass on what happened after the World Series win last year. But this is no longer an isolated incident. This is now a pattern. A pattern that I don't want to give the chance to continue.

Miggy, I love you and you've provided me with some of my favorite Cubs memories of all time. But you can go and fuck right off in my book. I know we can't DFA you immediately because we don't have another catcher to take your place, and hey, you are actually hitting when you do play.

But I gotta be honest...if we make a deal at the trade deadline and I see that we're getting a capable backup catcher back, I'm not going to be sad.

I think the worst part about all of this is that I really really don't want to be the "HURRRR GET THIS GUY OUTTA HERE HE AIN'T A TEAM PLAYER" guy. I hate that guy. But for a team that is seemingly struggling to get things going and also lost some important clubhouse leadership in the offseason, this is the last thing the Cubs need in the middle of a huge series against one of the best teams in baseball.

They don't need a catcher whose first thought after a loss wasn't "How can we go out and do better tomorrow?" but "I need to make sure I don't take any of the blame here." He didn't say that he was less at fault than it seems. He said he was not at fault period. That's really shitty. And if he's allowed to say what he wants to the public in the heat of the moment for all to hear, then he shouldn't be surprised when Cubs fans do the same.

And for that reason, even though it kills me to say it, you can fuck right off, Miguel Montero. Thanks for the memories. We don't need any more from you.

(And the weakest arm on the team has to go to La Stella. He's going to allow infield singles left and right every time he plays.)

Breaking News: Carrie Fisher Fired as Head Coach of the Buffalo Bills

December 27, 2016 | Comments (2) | by Governor X

ORCHARD PARK - The Buffalo Bills have relieved Head Coach Carrie Fisher of her head coaching duties.  Fisher was 15-16 in her Bills career.

Heaven needed another angel.

Profiles in Doubt: TMS Watches the World Series

November 29, 2016 | Comments (0) | by Shooter Muldoon

Like most of you, I've spent every hour since November 2 drifting on a sea of endorphins - with only some of that coming from monstrous beer intake. The Cubs did it! They won the World Series and we all got to partake in that joy. The parade! The high fives to strangers! The buying of really expensive championship shit! We never doubted, right?

Nah, man. Of course we did. When you're carrying around a black cat, an Alex Gonzalez, and a glove-spiking Ted Lilly in your head, you're either managing a constant fluctuating level of anxiety or you're a paste-eating moron irresponsibly wielding a pair of safety scissors. That's not automatic doubt per se, but it does set the table for it pretty nicely. Because in the back of your mind, you remember bad things can happen fast:

He later returned to kill Scar in 7 games

For me, Game 4 was like a kick to the spine. My Cubs fandom is such that I don't feel the need to defend it to internet strangers, but my TV was off before Kipnis's homer off of Wood landed in the right field bleachers. I didn't know Fowler had hit a homer until the next day. Sometimes you have to sulk so you don't become an unbearable asshole to the people you love.

Anyhow, THIS version of the Cubs restored brittle hope, and two wins later, there was no turning away from emotions (or alcohol) during the biggest game of our lifetimes. Just me, fellow bartenders Rich and White Chili, a handful of friends and ladyfriends, and a Chicago bar chock-full of anxious boozers.

As the game wore on, we were on edge, then overjoyed, then nervous, then despondent, then hopeful, then nervous, then ecstatic. And just after the last of the bar-provided cheap champagne ran dry, and we'd all gone Tom Waits hoarse sing-yelling Steve Goodman and Queen songs, I realized that doubt is as natural a reaction as joy, whiskey-rage, and every baseball emotion in between.

Even my wife, who yelled at me for pulling up stakes during that awful 2008 NLDS, gave me a furtive glance as they pulled out the tarp that we both knew to mean "fuuuuudge. Uh ... home?" But we stayed at the bar, and it wasn't really ever in question. Later she said "I thought that was the end of it. I was ready to go home, because they were going to lose." Which, if anything, is less bleak a picture than the bar-turned-funeral-parlor felt immediately following 6-6.

Anyway, the point is I doubted, and I'm open about it. I doubted a little when we lost in extras against the Giants. I doubted a little more when Old Rich Hill shut out our offense with his one pitch. I tore myself into emotional ribbons for almost the entirety of the World Series, which is not the act of a confident man. For a brief dark glimmer, I thought we'd never regain the lead after Davis stuck a fork into Chapman. To have these thoughts is natural, to give in to them totally is counterproductive, and to deny them is just the weirdest thing. If you were 100 percent confident the whole time, then I imagine I had a lot more fun than you did.

You know who else had fun? Our team of degenerate bartenders. Let's hear from them on the topic.

Bartenders of Thunder Matt's Saloon - did you ever doubt during the playoffs?

Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Well the NLDS was rife with doubt. It was looking all too familiar. I went to bed before that loss in extra innings to the Giants ended. Then we're down 5-2 in Game 4 to them and it just looks like shit again. When they reached the bottom of the 8th I recall saying that if the Giants tacked any more runs on then I was shutting it off for the night.

But they didn't! And then the 9th happened. It was glorious and a reminder of the magic moments this team had in the 2015 playoffs. I was reminded that this wasn't the Cubs of old any more.

The NLCS was a lot more laid back. I was stressed for sure after the two shutout games but looking back at that Game 4 win I reminded myself these guys are never done until that final out is recorded.

Fast forward to the World Series and we go down 3 games to 1. The morning after I was at my friend Mark's house and we were trying to muster up some enthusiasm. Again I went back and thought, this team doesn't know how to quit. They've given no fucks from one day to the next and literally take no shit from anybody.

No fucks given, no shit taken.  That was my own personal rallying cry for them the rest of the way and as dumb and crude as that sounds it helped. [Editor's Note: I thought the phrase "Give no Fucks, Take no Shits" at least 80 times during the next 3 games]

Until it was tied 6-6 in Game 7. Doubt started creeping in again.

Watching the offense in the top of the 9th I thought, "Well shit, maybe they've finally reverted back." By a miracle Chapman gets through that bottom of the 9th and the Cubs offense manages to pull it out.

Looking back I feel dumb for doubting them at times but I think being a Cubs fan over the past decade and a half has left us keeping our guard up a lot.


I don't think I ever did doubt. But I really didn't like a few of the positions we were in.

I think that actually being at Game 5 helped, because all the atmosphere of actually being at a World Series game forced me to still be positive. I didn't want to bum myself out, If we would have fallen behind in game 7, especially after that lead we had, I think I would have crumbled.

After the Cubs came back to beat the Mariners in the Brian Matusz Trade Deadline Audition From Hell game, I knew to never count this team out. And with the game tied 6-6 in the 8th inning, all I could think of "Which of these lineups do I trust to score 1 run before the other" and that was a super easy question to answer.

Lingering Bursitis

I doubted plenty during the playoffs. The crushing weight of history did it. I panicked during the San Francisco series until that ninth-inning rally. I panicked again after Kershaw and Hill's back-to-back wins. I panicked again after losing two of three at home in the World Series.

Every time, I pledged a renewed faith in the superior quality of this team and that they would eventually do what they had done all fucking season long.

Adam Blank

Some friends in L.A. were getting married and wanted me at their wedding, so they flew me out there. Their wedding was on October 28 (Game 3 of the World Series). Before they booked the flights in late September, I told them that the flight to L.A. had to land before 5 p.m. Pacific time and the return flight had to be on October 29 (Game 4) and land before 7 p.m. Central, because I was damn sure the Cubs would be in the World Series and I wasn't about to be in L.A. for a potential clinching game. 

How's that for confidence?

They complied with the second part of my request, but I watched part of Game 1 of the World Series on my phone with Southwest's bizarre TV app. As for doubts? Oh, I had them. Not too many during the NLDS or NLCS, but that World Series ...

After Game 2, the series was tied 1-1. Then, out of the blue, my uncle died and my mom was hospitalized. Those two things are unrelated. They weren't in the same car or anything. Just crazy coincidences. I'm 2,000 miles away from Chicago, these people are having a weird sunset wedding during Game 3 of the World Series, my mom is in the hospital and her brother is dead. The Cubs lost Game 3.

I flew back to Chicago in time to see them lose Game 4. As you can imagine, I wasn't really feeling terribly positive at this point. My mom was released in time for Game 5 and the Cubs managed to hold on and win it. But I still thought we'd lose it in six games.

Game 6 was the day of my uncle's memorial service. At the service, all people could talk about was the World Series. My 68 year old uncle died out of the blue, and people were leaving his memorial service early so they could get home and watch the game. We know our priorities in my family. The Cubs won game 6.

I was surprisingly confident going into Game 7. The entire playoffs seemed like Cubs vs. Unstoppable Juggernaut Pitcher Who Had Their Number, yet the Cubs would always find a way to prevail. I think I experienced the entire spectrum of human emotions during Game 7. I didn't have many doubts (why would I? We were winning!) until the 8th inning. The Indians tied it, and somebody had obviously used the Dusty Baker mind-swap ray on Joe Maddon, who began making moves that make no fucking sense ... it felt like all the bullshit talk of curses might have some merit after all. Hell, even up a run in the bottom of the 10th with two outs, I remember thinking, "Fuck. The Indians can still win this thing on the very next pitch." They didn't. We did.

Someday, when my illegitimate child tracks me down and introduces me to my grandchildren, I'll recap the 2016 Cubs World Series to them. In that version, I will have never had a single doubt about the outcome. But, come on. Anyone who claims they were confident that the Cubs would win this when they were down 3 games to 1 is completely full of shit.

White Chili

The question of whether or not I let doubt quietly creep into my mind during the Cubs’ historic Championship run implies I otherwise maintained an overwhelming confidence, ripe to be wavered.

Instead, my general state during those 27 days was more like that of an abused shelter dog in a new loving home. They kept offering me a toy. It was so close. Jesus, I could SMELL it! But I knew the moment I finally let my guard down and went to seize that ball, a size 14 would come out of nowhere and knock me into yesterday.

So instead, I spent most of that time - including a few hours at Wrigley during game three of the Series - trying to find the most effective combination of beer, whiskey and pretzels to give myself an ulcer. (I still have the recipe if any of you good people are searching for any last-minute ideas for Thanksgiving!)

Sure, there were moments when I screamed and threw up my hands - like when we rallied in the 9th to put away the Giants or when Dexter led off game seven with a moon shot. But there were an equal number of times, capped off by Rajai Davis’ home run, when it felt like that boot was winding up like it had so many, many times before. It wasn’t until Zobrist slapped that ball into left field during the 10th inning that I caught myself letting out a genuine little smile and said “Holy shit this might actually happen.”


It's weird, but no. Was I nervous? Yep. Nervous enough that I couldn't even watch some of the games, especially once they hit the NLCS. They lost those games to Kershaw and Hill without scoring a run, but I just didn't believe that the offense would go cold for a whole series.

Then when they hit the World Series and Kluber, I didn't think they'd tank 3 games against the same pitcher. As soon as they won that last game in Wrigley, I knew the series would go all 7 games. I wasn't sure the Cubs would win, but I knew they weren't going down in 6. Either they'd win or come so achingly close it would break our hearts. And they almost did lose that way. But this team wasn't the 2003 Cubs, or the 2007, or 2008 Cubs. Jason frigging Heyward said "We got this" and it turns out they did.


Two periods of time I suppose. The first is more of a fuzzy feeling of dread after the Rich Hill game. I don't remember it much, because it only lasted one night.

Then around the 7th inning in game 4 of the World Series. Walking around Wrigleyville with Rich, trying to soak in the old, familiar lonely feelings. Then I went back to his place and ate a bowl of chili and passed out. So again, it didn't last long. Even that Sunday morning, it was "Well, if Lester can get it done tonight we go to Cleveland with Schwarbs." So I never had a two or three day binge of dread and hopelessness.


Nikolou Rossmathakios

I definitely had doubts once it got to 3-1. I was definitely hopeful that the Cubs could still win it, but the odds seemed really insurmountable, considering how the Cubs had hit in games 1, 3, and 4. I certainly had my frustrations and I even quit watching game 4 before the Kipnis home run.

(I couldn't take the stress anymore...I watched Stardust on Blu-ray and got really drunk. I know Stardust is an odd choice, but for some reason that movie always makes me happy.)

Still, I never gave up hope. Shit, I was supremely doubtful when Maddon sent Chapman back out for the bottom of the 9th in Game 7, considering who was coming to bat. However, I wore myself out, bouncing all around my basement, watching every pitch in terror, hoping for the best to happen.

Fun story: During the rain delay, I told my wife (she sat through all of Game 7 with me - bless her heart) that the Cubs were going to score 2 runs in the top of the 10th. This is proof of my unwavering hope. During Game 6, she promised me that she would do a shot of tequila with me to start Game 7 if the Cubs would go on to win (she didn't stay up for the end of Game 6). She had a hard time getting our daughter to bed before Game 7 and then didn't feel so great, so I ended up doing the tequila shot on my own after the bottom of the third inning. The Cubs then went to score 2 runs. So I ended up doing 3 more tequila shots and every time I did, the Cubs scored. I don't even believe in that shit, but it's still bonkers.

Sorry this is such a long, continuous rant. Bless your heart and Bless "Basehit" Ben Zobrist.

Chaim Witz

Honestly, the only time any sort of doubt crept in the entire series was immediately following the Rajai Davis home run in Game 7. Like a Nam flashback, it was like, "Oh shit, so this is it, huh? The 'Bartman moment' that will get played over and over for years until our souls turn to dust." But then we made it through the 9th, and after the rain delay something clicked emotionally (maybe it was the fact that they played some lively music at the bar during the delay that stirred the loins), where I was like, "Nah fuck it, this team is different. This just happened to make it all the more sweet." As sweet tasting as the 8 Old Style tallboys I'd consumed to that point.

It was the same feeling of confidence (not cockiness) that I had when we went down 3-1.  I still knew I was going be in Chicago to watch Game 7. I had no doubts. And when that 9th Old Style tallboy was poured on my head after the last out, victory (and Old Style) never tasted sweeter.

[This post shockingly NOT brought to you by Old Style]

The Hundley

Did I ever doubt? Am I a Cubs fan? Of course I doubted.

I know (from watching others teams over the years) that the playoffs are an entire different type of season - things don't generally happen the way they do in the post season. Especially in a short series, a hot pitcher can take a series over. I was a bit nervous against SF because of Bumgartner. I also figured their armada of scrappy position players would undoubtedly go off. For every Derek Jeter and David Ortiz World Series domination, there's a Mark Lemke and Craig Counsel lurking somewhere. I doubted against L.A. because of Kershaw, and it looked for a bit like we were the same team that faced the Mets last year: we swung at everything and couldn't muster much offense.

During the World Series I must say I was anything but a true believer. When we went down 3-1, I didn't figure the series wouldn't go back to Cleveland. Not with our schizophrenic offense and knowing we'd have to face Kluber again. When we pushed it to Game 7, I actually had some confidence. You know, right up until Maddon's handling of the pitching staff, where it seemed he was was trying to do everything he could to blow the series.

But winning cures all, doesn't it? Perhaps the win felt even sweeter because I doubted. No, that's not true. I haven't been the best Cubs fan recently, nor any sports for that matter. You become an ex-blogger with a demanding job and 2 kids, and you might catch a regular season inning here or there. But this playoff season, I made sure I saw everything - unless I fell asleep for a few innings here or there. My fandom came back strong, and every pitch and swing was a live-or-die moment. I was yelling at the TV, I was pacing the living room, I was scaring my kids, my wife told me she couldn't watch a game with me.

This World Series felt great, but it wasn't all elation for me. I got so emotionally invested that after each game it felt like I had gone for a long run. More than anything, the World Series title felt like...relief.


A Completely Arbitrary Ranking of the Trumps

November 17, 2016 | Comments (23) | by Governor X

I've tried really hard to keep politics away from TMS, lest we turn into the next Deadgawkerspin, but god damn it, we have a new first family coming in and everyone likes rankings. So here, have a completely arbitrary ranking of the Trumps. Sorry Ivana - current Trumps only!

1) Barron - He's 10, likes to wear suits, and as we all know, is good with The Cyber. Such talent. Wow. He also rides lions. Do you? Yeah, I thought not. Also, by virtue of being the youngest Trump, he has committed the fewest crimes against humanity. BTW, is that lion in blackface? Jesus...

2) Melania - So what if she's a plagiarist. So what if her discount Bucharest boob job made her nipples point at the sky. People assure me she's classy. Also, have a fucking heart. Donald is long overdue to trade her in on a newer model. She'll be shipped back to the Soviet Block in her original packaging and he'll bring in the latest grunting tennis prodigy from Belarus.

3) Tiffany - Oh Tiffany. As far as I understand, you're basically Courtney Love born into money. That's got to be a blast.

4) Donald - So yeah, the country may not survive this and your favorite kabob guy is about to get shipped off to a "facility" in rural Nevada, but wow, what a showman! I get all the doom and gloom, but objectively speaking, it takes a great deal of talent for a rich guy from Manhattan with a solid gold bidet to get Billy Bob out in Sweatfork, WV to go all in. Also, I am continually impressed by his ability to buy $20,000 suits that make him look like works the new account desk at your local bank. He's #4 because of the pure spectacle - also, his adult children are even worse.

5) Ivanka - Statistically speaking, at least 1 out of every 2 people you meet is able to recognize Donald is a con man. Inexplicably, people haven't yet figured out Ivanka is every bit as bad. Somehow they just order her cheap bracelets off of QVC and never quite figure out they've been had. Is it because she's good looking? If so, you've got some work to do feminists. Put down the Lena Dunham sex doll and get on that.

6) Eric - Eric and his brother Donald Jr are big game hunters, so it goes without saying they are awful people. Eric is what I imagine Patrick Bateman would be like as a vampire.

7) Donald Jr - Just regular Patrick Bateman, without the vampire charm.

"Soon. That's why I'm smiling."

Well...Last Week Sure Was Something, Wasn't It?

November 14, 2016 | Comments (1) | by Rich Funk

For those of you that have been following us around the last 10 years, it shouldn't come as a surprise to you that the first thing posted here about the Cubs winning the World Series is going up a whopping 11 days after Game 7 in Cleveland. If nothing else, we've always been consistent with our maddening inconsistency. We posted (almost) daily game recaps during the early season even when the Cubs had a huge division lead and were playing the Padres and Brewers of the world, then had a grand total of 4 posts during the entire playoff run, one of which was about the NBA.

That's why I don't blame you if you don't believe me when I say that this post isn't the typical kind of late. It's not like I didn't have time or wasn't interested enough to put my thoughts down.

I just wasn't ready.

At first it was too much. There was too much to process. How does one begin to take it all in, something so many have been waiting on for so long, something that you hope and pray for that you have absolutely no control over. There's no one you can ask for advice because no one knows what it's like. I thought about writing this post at least once or twice every single day between now and last Wednesday, but I didn't know how to start. I didn't know how to put everything that I was feeling into any kind of coherent structure, especially in the days immediately after the win, reading so many better writers put what I was feeling into words better than I'll be able to.

But if I waited until I came up with the perfect framing device for my thoughts, nothing would ever get written so I think I'm just gonna jump in. There's no through line. This is all gonna be off the top of my head. Let's get into it.

*   *   *   *   *

From the very beginning of this season, I was all in on the 2016 Cubs. Even in 2008, the Cubs didn't go into the season knowing they were the best team in baseball, so it was cool to totally buy into a team that was built to crush everyone. I also decided that going all in with this team meant leaving the baggage at the door. I would not suffer any talk about curses or goats. I would not live in fear of superstition or jinxes. Before the Cubs even took the field, I defiantly stated that they would win the 2016 World Series. As 7/1 favorites at the time, it was not a particularly HOT TAKE to have, but it was my first step into living jinx free all season.

And you know what? It was AWESOME. I talked about Jake Arrieta's no-hitter as it was happening. I counted down the last 12 outs in Game 6 of the NLCS. Hell, a few friends and I ate at the Billy Goat Tavern in the Loop the day of Game 6! No matter what was happening the entire season, I kept telling myself that absolutely nothing I did in my life would have any effect on any game, and it was incredibly satisfying. In baseball more than any other sport, there's a very high tolerance for superstition and so I get it if not everyone is onboard with my cavalier attitude, but it sure was fun not having to wear the same thing every day during a winning streak and being able to sit in any spot and in any position that I wanted to on the couch because there was no thing as a 'lucky spot'.

Ironically, I have to continue not believing in jinxes and superstitions next season because it worked this year. Right? Right.

*     *     *     *     *

Thinking back to the NLDS against the Giants, I was really REALLY stressed out when the Giants won Game 3 to save their season. Looking back on it now, it seems like quite an overreaction. After all, the Giants won ONE game of that series. But man, was I in a bad mood when the Cubs lost that one. One thing this Cubs season taught me was how to most effectively be mad at the Cubs without being too moody of an asshole about it. I never gave up on the Cubs at any point this season, but I was certainly frustrated by them a whole lot in the playoffs.

I have a regular group of friends I usually talk to during the games, and I feel bad about bringing everyone down when they're trying to keep morale up, so I know that when I feel like I need to wallow in the doom and gloom for a little bit, I have my cousin to turn to. Whenever I complain to him, he's always willing to jump down the reverse shower drain into the murkiest depths. Any Cubs fan knows that there are times when you just need to hit rock bottom before you can get your head back in the game. It's really important to identify which people in your circle are willing to jump with you because being a total bummer to everyone around you is not the best way to go through a stressful playoff series.

Every Cubs fan has their way of expressing their frustration in real time, and this is mine: I throw my phone. But by 'throw' I actually mean 'toss'. And even 'toss' is a strong word. Whenever the Cubs do something awful and my phone is in my hand, I'll drop it out of my hand in an exaggerated way, only the phone is usually about 4 inches above the cushion of the couch and is usually tossed onto a pillow that is on top of the couch to boot. I take my frustration out on my phone, but only if there is no possible way for the phone to touch anything more solid than a gym mat. I also say "COME ON!" and "GOD DAMMIT, GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR ASS" a whole lot.

I am not very creative with my Cubs frustration.

*     *     *     *     *

Until this season, the loudest I'd ever heard Wrigley Field was in 2003. When the Yankees came to Wrigley Field for the first time in decades, I was at the Saturday game of the series when Kerry Wood was facing Roger Clemens, who was going for his 300th win. In the top of the 8th inning, Mike Remlinger was brought into a bases-loaded, 2 out jam to face the brand new toy in the Yankees lineup, Jason Giambi. Giambi worked a full count before striking out swinging to end the threat. When he swung and missed at strike three, the entire place exploded. The whole stadium was shaking down to its foundation. It was deafening.

I was lucky enough to go to all three NLCS games at Wrigley and I can tell you now that there is a new bar set for how loud Wrigley Field can get. But it wasn't during the pennant clinching game 7 like you would think. It was actually during game 1 when Miguel Montero launched a grand slam deep into the right field bleachers. I don't think I'll ever hear a crowd that loud again in my life. Even when the Cubs were clinching in game 6, I think everyone was too busy crying all over each other to yell and scream as loud as they could. But that Miggy slam was unbelievable. Poor Dexter Fowler hit the most overlooked Cubs home run of that series on the very next pitch. People were still up out of their seats and high fiving their neighbors before they even realized that Fowler launched a home run into right as well. Come to think of it, Fowler also hit a totally overlooked home run in the World Series off of Andrew Miller in Game 4 too.

Good thing he was able to hit the biggest home run in Cubs history 4 days later.

*     *     *     *     *

The World Series was perfect. And I'm not just saying that because the Cubs won. The 7 games we were all treated to were so above and beyond everything a baseball fan could want from a World Series that I don't think anything else is going to touch it. I wanted the Cubs to win, but I also wanted them to play the Indians for 10 more games because this series had EVERYTHING.

There's not a whole lot that I can say about the World Series that you haven't heard already, so the one thing that I do want to draw some attention to is how well this year's Cubs team made adjustments and fought back. The first time the Cubs faced Clayton Kershaw in the NLCS, they took a patient approach and it blew up in their faces as Kershaw poured strike after strike over the plate and put the Cubs in what seemed like infinite 0-2 counts.

When the Cubs got to face Kershaw again in game 6, they were much more aggressive and it worked, tacking on 2 runs against him in the first and another in the second, mostly off if hits that came early in the count.

The same thing happened in the World Series against Kluber and Tomlin. In Game 1, Kluber had the best stuff that I think I've ever seen. He looked like he had perfect game level stuff and after the Cubs lost that one, I honestly wasn't mad at all. I was surprised the Cubs were able to scratch the 4 hits they did against him. When the Cubs faced Josh Tomlin in game 3, they made a ton of weak contact by swinging at pitchers pitches, especially low and out of the zone.

When the Cubs saw Tomlin again in Game 6, they stayed patient and, knowing that Tomlin isn't much of a strikeout guy, waited on pitches that they could drive. Tomlin didn't strike out a single Cub in the 2.1 innings he lasted. When Kluber came back in game 7, the same thing happened - the Cubs were patient and waited for pitches that they could drive. Again, the Cubs struck out 0 times in the 4 innings Kluber lasted. To see such a young team make the adjustments they needed to get the job done against the specific pitcher they're facing is impressive enough. To do it in the middle of the biggest games of their lives brings it all to a whole other level.

Another thing I heard a lot about during the playoffs is how the Cubs were so susceptible to curveballs and how throwing them more breaking stuff than usual is the key to beating this team. I think that is stupid. Yes, the Cubs struggled against breaking balls throughout the playoffs, but I'm pretty sure ANY team would have struggled just as much. Throwing a good curveball is tough and the reason the Chicago lineup was shut down so much by breaking pitches is because their playoff gauntlet featured some of the best curveballs in baseball.

Fangraphs can rank pitchers by how good they are by the specific pitches they throw. If you look at starting pitchers with a minimum of 100 innings by their curveballs, look how many the Cubs faced on their road to the World Series and their 2016 ranking:

1. Cory Kluber
2. Rich Hill
4. Madison Bumgarner
7. Trevor Bauer
9. Jeff Samardzija
13. Matt Moore

And that's just the starting pitchers! Looking at the relief pitcher leaderboards, Cody Allen had the 3rd best Curveball in the majors. Andrew Miller had the 4th best slider in baseball. So facing a path to a world championship littered with Cy Young winners and the best breaking pitches in the major leagues, yeah, any team is going to look like they struggle against curves and sliders.

*     *     *     *     *
I saw this guy on my walk to work the morning after the Cubs won the Series.
One thing that I've heard a lot of talk about over the last year is how to handle bandwagon fans. My official stance is that I do not care why someone supports the Cubs or how long they've been a fan. If someone is pretending to like the Cubs because that's the cool thing to say on Instagram of Facebook, that's fine! It doesn't take away from what I felt going through this season and honestly, I say the more the merrier. Despite growing up in a household that had Cubs baseball on all the time, I didn't really start my Cubs obsession until 1998, when the Sosa-McGwire slugfest caught the entire nation's attention. Those Wild-Card Cubs were the first team I ever got into and it's been an obsession ever since.

I don't care why people like the Cubs. I don't care when people pretend to like the Cubs more than they actually do and I don't care what reasons they have. If something can make people get into the Cubs or baseball in general, I'm all for it. It took a playoff run for me to fall in love with the Cubs 16 years ago and I've been fully onboard ever since. Who am I to judge anyone else for doing the same this year?

*     *     *     *     *

I love the city of Chicago and I love the Cubs. The Cubs love this city and the city loves them right back. I would have rooted for a team of 25 Donald Trumps if it meant they would win a World Series for the Cubs, but it makes it even better that we got to root for such an awesome and likable team along the way. Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo are both a GM and marketing department's wet dream. Addison Russell and Javier Baez could combine for 350 web gems next season. Kyle Schwarber may already be knocking on the door of being one of the most beloved Cubs of all time and he's only played in 71 regular season games!

I think having such a likable team full of guys that looked like they genuinely loved each other and were enjoying every minute of this season made it safer for fans to fall for them. We knew that no matter what, win or lose, this team would never give up. They would never freeze and crack under the pressure like the the 2008 team did.

Even after the World Series and victory parade were over, Wrigley Field was still abuzz as of last Sunday. The streets were almost as crowded as they are for game days with fans leaving their marks on every single square inch of Wrigley that could be marked with chalk.

I'm still not ready to close the book on the 2016 season. I know that we have to move on to the next one eventually, but I'll never get tired of this season. I want it to keep going forever. I want to watch the 2016 Cubs play a million more games, finding ridiculous ways to win day in and day out. I want to watch Dexter Fowler smile and Javy Baez whip lightning-fast tags all over would-be base stealers. I want to watch Anthony Rizzo with his arm draped over David Ross in the dugout forever. I want to watch Willson Contreras bring the rookie swagger and fire to this lineup, never shying away from the biggest stage even though he had every right to. I want to see the relief wash over Addison Russell's face during the NLCS when he finally broke out, knowing he wanted to get rolling even more than the fans did. I want to watch Kris Bryant smile as he fielded the final out, that in itself a giant middle finger to curses and jinxes as he finally killed and buried the biggest one left in sports. I want to watch Rizzo slyly slip the final out into his back pocket before celebrating.

I'm sad that we'll never get to watch this exact group of guys play together ever again, but I'm so fucking happy that they gave us the best 179 games I'll ever see in my lifetime. I'm glad that guys like Ross and Fowler and Wood will forever be a part of Cubs history.

After the Cubs won the World Series, the bar that my friends and I were at served champagne and played music for hours afterward. We danced and drank and let it all sink in. The cab ride home took forever, as seemingly everyone in the city of Chicago was out driving around and honking. It was surreal. And it wasn't until about a half hour after I got home, already up late enough to make work the next day awful, that it really started to sink in. I randomly opened up Facebook and was presented with an ad from MLB Shop that just said "They Finally Did It!". Out of everything that happened, watching them win, celebrating with my closest friends, driving home through Wrigleyville, it was seeing that random ad in my Facebook feed that really made things get dusty in the old Funk household that night.

It actually happened.

The Chicago Cubs won the World Series. And they did it in the most perfect way possible.

*     *     *     *     *

As I mentioned before, there are so many more articles about what the Cubs did that are much better than what you are now (mercifully) ending. Just off the top of my head, this post from SB Nation was awesome, this video by Scott Van Pelt and this post on The Ringer really put what I've been thinking and feeling over the last 2 weeks into words better than I can. That's why I waited till the end to link them.

I've taken up enough of your time with my thoughts. To finish, here are a bunch of pictures I've taken on my phone over the last few weeks experiencing what Chicago was like in the wake of a World Series win.

I got to Grant Park for the Cubs rally at about 5:00 AM and there were already about 500 people waiting to get in. All of the buildings were lit up with Cubs pride.

Here's a view of all 5 million of my closest friends...

...and what is left behind after everyone goes home.

I got interviewed on WGN at a Cubs World Series rally. That sentence knocks 3 things off my bucket list singlehandedly.

This was spotted outside of Wrigley on the Sunday after the World Series win. I assume it's been there since the day Joe Buck was born. Also, the fact that they wrote "Sucks" in quotation marks is a curious choice.

I criticized Arrieta a whole lot over the second half, but the dude pitched a hell of a game in Game 6.

No we did not.

Matt Murton Forever

So About Tonight...

October 25, 2016 | Comments (2) | by Governor X

God, it's been such a long wait. Can you remember what you were doing? Were you even born?

Of course you were. Game 7 was June 19th. Are you an infant? If so, go back to bed. Stupid babies.

Tonight is BALL NIGHT as the 2016-2017 NBA season is finally upon us. To celebrate, the NBA released their team "hashflags," which for those of you over the age of 20 are hashtags that will prompt a fun little graphic. These are, unfortunately, terrible;

#TakeNote? #ItTakesEverything? Are these seriously the best the league office could come up with? And what the fuck is #MFFL? Marketing 101: if you have to ask what this is, you fail.

As usual, if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. "DIY" as Swanny used to say (RIP Swanny, he died like he lived: whittling shirtless). Here are the new and improved TMS NBA Team Hashflags for 2016-2017. These suck too, but damn it, I did it with love:

Game 3 Recap: Get It All Out

October 19, 2016 | Comments (11) | by Rich Funk

I'm really frustrated and angry. In sports, the mantra is "stay positive and believe" but holy crap, are the Cubs testing my patience.

You know what? For just a minute, let's forget all that. Let's embrace the doom and gloom because honestly, getting all the garbage the last 2 games has built up in your soul out into the open is good for you. Here are all the awful things I've seen over the last 2 games in no particular order.
  • Addison Russell needs to be benched for a game. He's absolutely lost and waving at garbage pitches that are a foot outside and low. He needs a mental break and should really try and figure out what he's doing wrong or what pitchers have done to him that he hasn't adjusted back to. Remember, this isn't just Awful Playoff Addison. Russell has shown that he's no stranger to getting ice cold for long stretches at a time. In April, he hit .214. In June, he hit .214. In September, he hit .231. It's amazing what an All Star start and Jason Heyward's own shittiness can distract from. I'm not saying Russell isn't a great player (especially considering how young he is), but he's not as good a hitter as you might think.
  • Could the Cubs possibly hit any more baseballs directly at Dodger fielders? The Cubs' batting average on balls put into play last night was .190. If you're not familiar with BABIP, that's really, really, REALLY bad.
  • I understand the importance of confidence and bravado in sports, but man is it tough to see Arrieta talk such a big game sometimes and lay a hot steamy dump on the mound. He talks and acts like he's the same pitcher from the second half of 2015, but he is absolutely not that guy. He's not even the Arrieta we saw in 2014. He's not even Jason Hammel over the last half a season. Over his last 16 starts (which doesn't even include one good postseason start and last night's hot fart), Jake has a 4.44 ERA and has walked 3.7 batters per 9 innings over that time, which is awful. I know that Smoltz went on and on last night about how sometimes Arrieta's control can leave for a bit and the window of time before he gets it back is the opportunity to score, but I don't think that's the case. It's not that he loses control for a bit, it's that he only has control from time to time. The majority of his second half starts, Jake's mechanics just look awful. And yes, I know next to nothing about mechanics and hitches in deliveries and what not, but you can't watch Arrieta pitch and say that he looks like he's doing a fluid and effective pitching motion. From the first batter of the game, his fastball location was way off from where Montero was positioning himself.
  • Remember how last year's Cubs were susceptible to power pitchers who could rack up strikeouts and then they just so happened to run into a Mets team that had 4 guys like that in their rotation? We're looking at a same song, different verse this season. I know that a lot of analysts have mentioned that the Cubs are one of the better hitting teams against lefties this season, but that includes all lefties. If there's one thing we've seen so far this playoff series, it's that this is a team that is built to struggle against elite lefties with high strikeout rates. "Well how many of those are out there?" is a valid question, because there aren't a ton. But we've managed to face them in 4 of our 7 playoff games (Bumgarner/Moore/Kershaw/Hill). For a team that gets torn apart by elite left handed pitching, that's no good. Did I mention that 75% of the Dodger rotation is left handed?
  • The number of hard choices that need to be made against left handed starters is a domino effect of garbage. Do you keep Heyward in the lineup, knowing that you're trading 9 innings of awesome fielding for an 0-4 day at the plate? Do you put in Jorge Soler knowing that he's ice cold and not that great a defender?
  • I'm finished with the "Montero needs to be Arrieta's personal catcher" bullshit now too. Jake is terribly slow to the plate and Montero absolutely has the worst arm of any catcher on the roster. Even if the steals don't show up in the box score, the constant threat from the runner at first (added to Jake's shaky mechanics) is enough of a distraction to affect the game.
  • The bottom line is that right now, there are 2 slumping parts of the lineup that have shown at least some signs of life (Rizzo, Zobrist) and a whopping 4 players (Russell, Heyward, Montero, pitcher's spot) that look absolutely lost right now. When 4 lineup spots contribute nothing and two others are barely doing better than that, you're not going to score many runs against ANYONE, let alone a handful of the best pitchers on the planet.
  • I know that by the strict definition, tonight's game isn't a "must win" because it's only game 4, but every Cubs fan knows that with Kershaw ready to go tomorrow night in the case of a 3-1 Dodgers series lead, the Cubs have to win tonight to get back in this series. And they have to do that with John Lackey, who was brought in to win these exact types of games except for the fact that he looks super worn out right now and is on a super small sample size streak of 2 straight bad playoff starts.

Who needs a drink?

Ok, so as much as I want to just sit here and wallow in the reverse shower of anger and gloom, there are a few things to keep in mind:
  1. The Cubs had to come back and win 3 out of 4 games to beat the Cardinals in the playoffs last year. Granted, the Cardinals didn't have Clayton Kershaw, but it's not like they haven't been in this position before.
  2. To really emphasize just how NOT deep of a hole the Cubs are in right now, if they win tonight (against a rookie), they will not only be tied with the Dodgers 2-2, but they will also have homefield advantage back for the remaining games. Yes, with just one win.
  3. Yes, it is a SUPER SUPER small sample size, but the Cubs are slashing .359/.405/.995 against Urias.
That's all I can think of. Feel free to get your Cubs hate out in some way or another and come into tonight's game in the right mindset.

I hate baseball so much right now.