It’s been a long offseason and, as a die-hard Cubs fan, it’s taking longer than normal to get psyched up for this season. I was more optimistic than normal last year and vested much energy into the Cubs playoff run only to see my Cubs swept out immediately. No consolation that the Dodgers knocked them out — I like the Dodgers but that doesn’t matter when they’re playing the Cubs.
Today is the first spring training game for many teams. Coincidentally the Dodgers are playing the Cubs. This year MLB is touting their new MLB network as the place to see all games — even the blacked out Saturday Fox games. BUT, the MLB Network is only available to DirecTV and Time Warner Cable subscribers, leaving Dish Network and AT&T U-Verse subscribers in the dark. Worse yet, MLB.TV — the online stream, will continue to black out these games in addition to the World Baseball Classic. What’s a fan to do?
How will you follow your favorite team this year? Who will the Cubs beat in the 2009 World Series? Will MLB continue their restricting online media outlets and photographers from media access and privileges?
It doesn’t get any more exciting, especially in a sport that often drags on and on for 5 1/2 months. But this year might see — for the first time ever — 2 (and possibly a third) one-game playoffs for the final two spots (the NL Wild Card and the AL Central Division Title) in the playoffs.
UPDATE: The Brewers beat the Cubs and the Marlins beat the Mets, so for the second straight year, the Mets have been shut out of the playoffs on the last day of the season. The Brewers will play the Phillies in the NLDS beginning Wednesday and the Cubs will host the Dodgers Wednesday in that NLDS. The White Sox must beat the Tigers in a make-up game Monday to face the Twins in a playoff Tuesday for the AL Central Crown and a spot in the playoffs vs. Tampa Bay (starting Thursday).
I’m listening to WGN Radio’s broadcast of the Cubs vs Brewers, where the crowd is decidedly split, but while the Cubs are starting one-time prodigy Angel Guzman (who after all these years is still 0-7 and awaiting his first major league victory), The Brew Crew sent out CC Sabathia for the third time in 10 days. I’m watching the scores on the Mets/Florida game very closely, as well as the Sox/Indians and Twins/Royals.
AL Central: If the Chicago White Sox (86-74) and Minnesota Twins (87-74) are still within a half-game of each other after play is completed Sunday, Chicago must make up a rainout against the Detroit Tigers on Monday. If the White Sox and Twins finish with the same record, they would play a tiebreaker game Tuesday in Chicago.
NL Wild Card: If the New York Mets (89-72) and Milwaukee Brewers (89-72) still have identical records after Sunday, they would play a one-game tiebreaker Monday in New York.
Amazing night at — of all places — Miller Park. Much will be said about this night, and personally, I’m elated at the moment. But in the interest of getting out of the house, I’m going to post the audio highlights c/o WGN Radio, Pat Hughes, and Ron Santo. Yes, The Chicago Cubs, on the back of Carlos Zambrano — who nearly no-hit the Astros in the past — pitched his first career no hitter, the first no hitter by a Cubs since Milt Pappas in 1972.
Manny Ramirez became a Dodger, Ken Griffey, Jr. became a White Sox, and the Chicago Cubs completed a four-game sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers all within a matter of a long lunch today. The sweep was the perfect punctuation to a few key acquisitions made by Jim Hendry, weeks before today’s trade deadline. Jim Edmonds had 5 RBI including a grand slam, and Rich Harden continued his mastery of the NL, with 9 K’s, allowing just one run (as a Cub, Harden has 39 strikeouts in 24 innings with a 1.11 ERA).
I love it. Hoping to see an appearance from Manny at the game tonight (Dodgers v. Diamondbacks). Tomorrow I’m off to Lollapalooza for the weekend, with an afternoon at Wrigley scheduled for Saturday (Zambrano Lilly on the mound). See you in Chicago?