Archive for June 9, 2019

Cubs end wait for long-suffering fans, from the anonymous to the famous

Written by Nadia Chalkley on . Posted in Latest News

One of the coolest things about the Cubs winning the National League pennant Saturday was, of course, the reactions of the fans. Decades of frustration and despair were blown to the Windy City skies in a full-throated roar. Everyone had a reaction,from WrigleyField ushersto franchise legends tocelebrity die-hards.MORE: Must-see photos from the NLCSCelebrities such as . . .Bill Murray, because of course :We are all Bill Murray tonight. Can you believe it? The Cubs are in the World Series! #Cubs Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) October 23, 2016You know it’s a big party when Eddie Vedder shows up! #Cubs #postseason FS1 (@FS1) October 23, 2016Cubs masterful tonight…chicago glows…unreal John Cusack (@johncusack) October 23, 2016PHOTO: The moment Hillary Clinton learned that her beloved Chicago Cubs are heading to the World Series https: // ABC News (@ABC) October 23, 2016MORE: Own a piece of Cubs history with NL championship gearAnother cool thing about the night is that, at least according to early reports, the celebration was largely peaceful, even if it was clearly raucous. The A sociated Pre s reported one arrest early Saturday of a person who climbed a traffic pole, and “a couple others . . . taken into custody after shooting off fireworks.”We’ll see if that total changes by dawn’s early light, but for now, congratulations and well done, Chicago fans.

Pirates’ rookie Josh Bell keeps mashing, but few seem to notice

Written by Nadia Chalkley on . Posted in Before you apply

PITTSBURGH Josh Bell’s choice of pregame attire Thursday got compliments from teammates and media members alike. His shirt was a Dave Parker cla sic: a form-fitting black T-shirt announcing,If you hear any noise, it’s just me and the boys boppin’.”Bell has been compared to Parker multiple times this year by manager Clint Hurdle, and the rookie sure has been boppin’ like him. He leads all National League rookies in hits (124), doubles (24), triples (6), walks (58) and games played (139).He also set a new National League record for Carlos Lee Jersey home runs by a National League switch-hitter Monday with his 24th long ball of the season, breaking the 22-year-old mark held by Chipper Jones.Bell is also just three home runs shy of the major league record,shared by Eddie Murray (1977) and Tony Clark (1996).In a normal season, he would be in the mix for Rookie of the Year. But the best-case scenario for him this year is to finish a distant second behind Cody Bellinger. AmongtheDodgers’ superstar, Aaron Judge of the Yankees, the Cardinals’ Paul DeJong and Ian Happ of the Cubs, Bell seems to be the forgotten slugger in what could be a legendary group of rookie home run hitters.We’re making a name for ourselves, and hopefully we continue to do so, Bell said.MORE: Six questions about the suddenly struggling DodgersBut while Judge and Bellinger have cooled off after their torrid starts, Bell has improved in the second half. Being healthy has a lot to do with it. Bell needed a knee procedure in February. While it did not require a trip to the disabled list, it did take a chunk of his spring away and set the pace for a sluggish April.I felt like I was so ready, Bell said. I made all the decisions I needed to in the offseason to prepare myself. … I wasn’t able to jump forward the way I wanted to at the beginning of the season. But hey, it’s a learning experience.Bell hit .239 with 16 home runs in the first half, recording a 105 wRC+. He’s only gone deep eight times in the second half, but his .294 average and 126 wRC+ has made him a more integral piece in a Pirates’ lineup that needs a masher.He has always been projected as Evan Gattis Jersey a power hitter, but his home run totals in the minors were underwhelming, never hitting more than 14 in a season. Those years were just laying the foundation for what was to come. Max Moroff has been a teammate with Bell since they were both in Double-A in 2015. There, they invented for themselves a game within the game: hardest-hit ball. The objective was self-explanatory, and Bell often came out the winner.It’s really cool to see how far we’ve come, Moroff said.As a younger player, Bell said he looked up Jones’ swings on YouTube several times, trying to di sect his mechanics. While breaking Jones’ homer record was cool, it was not something on which Bell focused.I try not to think about records. I didn’t come into the season thinking about anything like that, Bell said.While Bell has already set one record and has another in his sights, he also has some competition. Happ, another switch-hitter, is only a of couple of home runs behind him, and Bell is loving the competition.I beat Chipper Jones, but Ian is three homers behind me,” Bell said.”So it will be a fun little race watching him the rest of the year, keeping that in the back of my mind.”

Dexter Fowler intrigue ultimately no big deal for Orioles or Cubs

Written by Nadia Chalkley on . Posted in Apply

Dexter Fowler in backing away from Baltimore and returning to Chicago changed his mind. And yet, nothing changed. Not really.Seeing the reaction to Fowler’s decision, a news item buoyed by the calm quiet of baseball in February, one might a sume a contract dispute has resultedin Orioles lo s and Cubs gain. But Fowler, ultimately, has more power in swinging his allegiance than he does in swinging his bat or swinging either team’s season, for that matter.MORE: Candidates to become baseball’s next star | Key players on new teamsFowler is good-not-great, defined. A player who has consistently hovered around league-average WAR output. A batterwhose career OPS+ of 104 suggests he’s just above the mean. An outfielder who rates as a net-negative on defense, and thus, offers no little added value or Kyle Schwarber-security with his glove.He’s not without his merits, obviously. His .363 career on-base percentage is an excellent a set, especially if he can more efficiently translate his speed into stolen bases and good base running (his 69 percent stolen base rate ranks 409th all time). Given that the Orioles ranked 24thin team OBP last season, any additional base-runners were welcome, especially on an affordable contract.But, ultimately, Fowler is a piece, not a solution, to either team’s puzzle.The Orioles despite spending some dough this offseason remain a team that’s top heavy on offense and fair-to-middling on the mound. Fowler does not po se s the bat or legs to single-handedly reverse this roster’s offensive reality: They finished 2015 ranked 13th of 15 AL teamsin walk rate, 12th in hits, 12th in OBP, last in stolen basesand 13th in suffered strikeouts.Even giving Baltimore the number of wins their run differential predicted in 2015 (83), adding a two-win player like Fowler to what is, otherwise, e sentially the same team, likely leaves them on the outside-looking-in come October. It may seem callous, but on Thursday, they lost Fowler, and saved a little money.If Orioles fans had any reason to believe Baltimore would spend it well, it’s enough money to allocate to players who could, altogether, replace Fowler’s production.Similarly, the Cubs’ season and Albert Pujols Jersey World Series dreams do not hinge on Dexter Fowler’s return. Yes, two wins can swing a pennant race or mark the difference between a division win and a wild-card death match. But Fowler offering two wins of productionthisseason, onthisteam, feels optimistic.He joins a roster on which any combination of he, Jason Heyward, Jorge Soler, Matt Szczur, Javier Baez and Ben Zobrist can man outfield spots. Even if Fowler isdesignated an ever-present piece of that platoon, even if a player like Soler is moved in a subsequent transaction, it seems unlikely that Fowler will once again play 156 games as he did in 2015 or offer improved production.It was the first time he’d played more than 120 games since 2012. And while his body cooperated, Fowler still displayed some signs of decline as he enters his age-30 season. Granting thatmost of his careercontaineda heavy diet of Coors Field, Fowler has never hit for worse batting average and on-base percentage than he did in 2015. His OPS+ dropped 13 points from the season before, his OBP 29 points; meanwhile his strikeout rate increased and his walk rate declined.An optimist might point to his batting average on balls in play, which fell 40 points below Fowler’s average BABIPup to that point in his career. To his career-highs in home runs and walks. A pe simist might point those believers to sample size; Fowler had never compiled so many plate appearances. And pe simists mightremind them that, even at his best, Fowler has never moved the needle.Fowler moved the needle on Thursday, if not with his play, with his circumstance. The mystery theater surrounding Fowler’s Baltimore backout and subsequent Chicago reunion suggests something is ami s Darin Erstad Jersey . Something more sinister or interesting, perhaps, than an opt-out clause.When something seems so certain, the usual truth is this: The media did not mishear or mis-report. Orioles like Adam Jones weren’t misled. What once was true, changed. And we may never truly know why. It’s much easier to make sense of dotted lines, signed, than changed minds.MORE: Ranking the all-time best MLB player to wear each number, 1-99It’s good Twitter fodder. A catalyst for speculation and jokes about Baltimore’s inability to rise above the muck of mediocrityinto which they so often sink.But ultimately, Fowler was not their ready-made solution; his absence won’t be their problem. That much goes deeper, and it stinks.And the Cubs, newsflash, have one helluva roster, barely bolstered by Fowler’s return more a testament to their team-a sembly as it is a slightto Fowler’s solid, if not star-level, production.Fowler changed his mind. In an alternate universeof photo-shopped offseason reality, he changed his uniform. But these teams are right where he left them.

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