Saturday, October 22, 2016

Wrapping Up Heritage

When I picked up the last two Heritage Minors stickers, I was able to consider Heritage done for the year.  Between Heritage, the High Numbers, and Minor Leagues, I ended up with 58 different cards.  That is a new Heritage record for me.

Of those 59, 46 were of major league players.  And of those 46, every single player represented was still on the Cubs 40 man roster at the end of the 2016 season.  After several years of constant roster turnover, things have stabilized. Winning 103 games in the regular season tends to do that.  And the deals the Cubs did make during the season cost them prospects, not major leaguers. That's another positive sign.

Of the players, the one that had the most cards was Jake Arrieta.  He showed up on eight cards...the base, three league leader cards, Award Winners, Then and Now, Now and Then, and Cubs Combos.

Take a look at a tile of all 58 cards:

Friday, October 21, 2016

One More Win For the Pennant

One more win for the pennant.  I say this excitedly; I say it nervously.

As a Cub fan I have now been able to say it three times in my lifetime.

The first two times (1984 and 2003) did not turn out well.

Here's hoping (praying) that the third time's a charm.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Other Russells

I was looking over my Cubs checklist and found that I have cards of a few other players with the last name of Russell besides Addison.

James Russell, him I knew.  He was with the Cubs for parts of six different seasons.

But there are two more Russells in my collection and I'd never heard of either

Rip Russell was with the Cubs from 1939 to 1942.  He was the Cubs starting first baseman in 1939 but had more limited duty the other years.  He lost what should have been his peak career years to World War II.  After the war he spent parts of 1946 and 1947 with the Red Sox.

Pitcher Jack Russell spent two seasons with the Cubs, 1938 and 1939.  The '38 season saw him record a record of 6-1 with an ERA of 3.34 for the pennant winning Cubs.

Jack is the only one of the four Russells to play for an NL champ Cubs team.  I hope Addison becomes #2. It was nice to see his bat wake up last night.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

2016 Topps Tribute Billy Williams

Topps Tribute came out in July but somehow I missed it and I missed the fact that Billy Williams was on the 90-card checklist.  Here's the card:

What's most amazing about this is that none of the other 387 Billy Williams cards in my collection have this picture.  An original to go Topps!

Just don't use this card on the next ten Billy products.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

NLCS Game 1: A Couple Things I'd Change

I certainly wouldn't change the outcome of the game.  If Chapman hadn't blown the save we wouldn't have had Montero's grand slam.  Or even if we did, it wouldn't have meant as much.

But I've got two things I would change, and they are both because of MLB and their money grab.

Change #1 - The pace of the game.  The game was too long.  MLB keeps talking about ways to speed up the game, but they are the reason for the long games.  Between each inning there was a break of 2 minutes and 55 seconds.  Pitching changes lasted two minutes.  Those added up to nearly an hours worth of stoppage.  Shorten those and you shorten the game. But of course you would decrease commercial revenue, so you know that will never happen.

Change #2 - Let the teams publish their own programs and/or scorecards.  I was really looking forward to adding a postseason scorecard to my collection.. I bought the book as soon as I entered the park.  This is what I got:

A generic MLB program that cost ten bucks.  It will be the same book at Wrigley as at Dodger Stadium.  How expensive and boring.  Again, I know that MLB will not do away with the revenue from the book, but what a shame that I can't have a Wrigley Field scorecard.  The NLDS has Cubs produced cards, but from the NLCS and up, MLB takes over.  Too bad.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

NLCS Game 1...What A Night

We got home around 3:30 a.m on Sunday morning., excited, but very tired.

I've been to a ton of games, but nothing came close to the atmosphere at Wrigley Field on Saturday night.

We got to the ballpark very early to avoid the crowds and traffic. There was a 2½ hour ride from home to Chinatown, and then a ride on the Red Line to the Addison station.  BeCause we got there so early, we had time to walk around the neighborhood and have a beer and a burger at a Wrigleyville establishment, Yakzies.  We also took a couple laps around Wrigley.  It's my first time there since all the renovations began.  The work done so far looks great.  I really like the new front entrance.  Its too bad that they need metal detectors, which really take away from the old-time Wrigley vibe.

The gates opened two hours before game time and we were right there when they were rolled up.

This is a view from our seats when we first got there.  We had a nice look at everything and the post didn't make much difference.

By 7:00 p.m. the park had filled.  I do mean filled.  The railing along the ramps was filled with standing room people.  And then it was game time.

I've never stood up so much at a ballgame.  We were up and down more than at church this morning. We were up for strikeouts, for hits, for runs, for great defensive plays...for just about everything.

Jon Lester was good but not great.  He had control issues and was hit hard, but had the Cubs flashing some serious leather behind him.  Giving up just one run in six innings was a more than acceptable outcome.

The first two Cubs hitters of the game had hits and already the Cubs had the lead. Two more Javier Baez runs in the second gave the Cubs a lead that they held through the eighth inning.

The bullpen gave up two runs in the eighth as the Dodgers tied the game.  You could feel the nervousness in the stands as everyone started thinking about the lead getting away.

Miguel Montero had different thoughts.  His two-out pinch hit grand slam in the bottom of the eighth caused Wrigley to erupt into absolute pandemonium.  42,000 people, including yours truly, were screaming at the top of their lungs.  What a feeling.  And we got to do in again when Dexter Fowler launched the next pitch.  I'm typing this 24 hours later and my voice has still not returned to normal.  I hope I'll have it back for school tomorrow.

Hector Rondon made things interesting, but even Hector wouldn't blow a four run lead.  We stood for most of the top of the ninth and then let out one last roar when the game ended on a double play.  Nobody left early, and all 42,000 gleefully sang Go Cubs Go!

I am so thankful for the chance to experience a post-season game at Wrigley.  It was all I could have imagined and more.

What a night!

I'm typing this in the car in the way home from Wrigley.  

It was the most amazing experience.  The roar when Montero hit the grand slam was the loudest noise I've ever heard.  Unbelievable. 

I'll post pictures and more later in the day.  First I need a little sleep.