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WHAT’S THE OVER / UNDER FOR WHEN MANFRED SKATES ON TONIGHT’S CUBS-CARDS OPENER?

· 2017 Cubs, Instant Replay, Joe Sez · , , , , , , , , , ,

NIGHTENGALE-MANFRED-TWEET

Hey there, sponge cakes. Welcome to Opening Day — not Opening Week, as baseball has taken to calling it. That’s gotta be a Manfredism. Speaking of which … Bob Nightengale reports that commissioner Rob Womanfred will be in attendance at the Cubs opener in St. Louis tonight. My question is: When does he adios the game? I figure it’ll be after the 7th, cuz that’s how long he thinks major league games oughta last.

I tend to pick on commissioners, and Manfred is no exception. But, hey, they bring it on themselves. Bud Selig, for example, decided to end the 2002 All Star game in a tie. It’s baseball. There are no ties. And that “World Series home field advantage to the league that wins the All Star game” rule was his, too. I’m tellin’ you … listening to baseball commissioner ideas is like walkin’ your dog — you gotta bring a plastic bag along to pick up all the turds. I’ll give this to Manfred: the guy flushed the ASG/World Series advantage brain fart. But that’s it on the plus side of the Manfred board. Everything else he wants to do — most of which revolves around makin’ games shorter — screws with the fundamentals of baseball.

Some people want shorter games. Yeah, I read about that all the time. But I ask: Who are these people? Are they millennial types raised on iPhones, video games, and blaring music so loud during any break in the action that it makes my toenails hurt? I think maybe so, cuz I don’t hear people my age complaining about watchin’ a game for 3 hours. (Except for Mr. “if it ain’t broke, fix it anyway” Womanfred.) I’d even be willin’ to bet that it was Robbie’s idea to broom the nudie pictures from the pages of Playboy — another institution that didn’t need to be “improved.” I’ll tell ya … if congress wants to investigate something that’s truly un-american … that would be it, my friend!

Point is, maybe it isn’t baseball that needs fixing. Instead, maybe it’s the binge-watching, instant-gratification, short-attention-span generation that can’t spend four seconds away from their social media feeds without breakin’ out in a sweat that needs fixing. Baseball has been around for like a million years, and other than stupidly not lettin’ black players in until Jackie Robinson, it’s pretty much been perfect. It doesn’t need the pathetic DH. It doesn’t need instant replay … especially when the umps still can’t get it right. (See today’s Yankees-Rays opener.) Baseball doesn’t need a fake intentional walk, or a protective bubble around middle infielders, or a special purpose rule puttin’ a guy on second in extra inning games. And it SURE as hell doesn’t need two innings clipped off the tail end. If anything in baseball needs to be clipped, it’s Rob Manfred’s self-important wings and Noah Syndergaard’s goldilocks. Other than that, unless you wanna make American League pitchers man up and take their swings, or turn that F-ing head-banging noise off between batters, or hire the displaced Playboy models as bat girls, we should just leave baseball the hell alone, pallie.

Of course, I could be wrong. But I’m not.

Joe

I PITY THE FOOL THAT GETS IN OUR WAY. INCLUDING KLUBER.

· 2016 Cubs, Joe Sez, The Playoffs · , , , , , , , , ,

CUBS-INDIANS-GAME-1

Hey there, wing nuts. Well, watchin’ Game 1 was about as much fun as gettin’ a colonoscopy from the Tasmanian Devil. Things didn’t go well from the start. The “start” being the stupid friggin’ Bud Selig All Star game rule which takes World Series home field advantage away from the team that actually earns it. So let’s see, Bud … Umm, a game that doesn’t count at all steers the direction of the most important series in the entire baseball season. Great friggin’ idea, ass hat. We shoulda been in Chicago last night for the opener. Period. Would it have made a difference? Well let me put it this way: If it doesn’t make any difference, why then are the best teams in every sport in the known universe (except for baseball) ALWAYS given home field/court/ice/pitch (whatever you wanna call it) advantage in a championship series? If it were up to me, I’d throw Selig in a poorly lit basement with Marsellus Wallace, the Gimp and a blow torch. Maybe a pair of pliers, too. That rule has gotta be flushed.

Anyway, let’s take that outta the equation. It still didn’t start out well. I mean it did, but then it didn’t. Lester threw 5 pitches and had 2 outs in the bottom of the first. Total cruise control. And then it started raining dirty diapers on us. When you’re the Chicago Cubs, Lester is on the mound, you’ve got two outs, and the bases are 100% Indian-free … you oughta get outta the inning unscathed. Not last night.

On top of that, Kluber Lang struck out almost everybody in the first 3 frames. What a fascist. Reminded me a lot of NLCS games 2 and 3 when the Cubs pretended they couldn’t hit. They did a convincing job, too. We snuck a few in last night, though, and had some excellent scoring opportunities, especially against Andrew Miller, that sky scraper they brought in for Kluber. Even Schwarber, who’d had 11 at bats all season before steppin’ into the batter’s box in the 2nd, smacked a double. On balance, though, we looked like Tim Tebow at the plate.

And … AND … the home plate ump had two strike zones — one for Kluber and another for Lester. It was as plain as the blank stare on Bud Selig’s face. Seriously, the quality of the umpiring in the playoffs — at least the games I’ve been watchin’ — is like it was made in Taiwan. Pathetic.

We got KO’d by a team that’s not nearly as good as we are. Personally, I don’t think that’s gonna happen again. We didn’t win 103 games by accident, my friend. As nice as Cleveland’s story is — gettin’ to the Series with so many injuries and all, and not even being in the thing for 68 years — I just don’t think it’s gonna hold up against the Cubs. We only have to do one thing — play like the 2016 Chicago Cubs instead of the Wexley School for Girls.

Joe

BASEBALL IS FULL OF SIGNS, RIGHT? TODAY, LOS ANGELES GOT ONE FROM GOD.

· 2016 Cubs, Joe Sez, The Playoffs · , , , , , , ,

BASEBALL-SIGN

It rained in Los Angeles today. Normally that’s not exactly a film-at-11, David Muir-esque breaking news kinda thing, but then it hasn’t rained in LA since May 5th. (By the way … what the hell does Muir put in his hair … glue? You could do a reverse 3-1/2 somersault off of that do.) Anyway, until today it had been 165 consecutive days without so much as a peep from heaven, unless you count Kobe retiring and takin’ his .350 field goal percentage with him. Not every sign from God is a good one, though. Sometimes it’s more like a No Trespassin’ sign, or a Keep The Hell Off The Friggin’ Lawn sign or, in this particular case, a Closed For The Season sign addressed to the Dodgers.

I found it interesting that today’s sprinkles came right on the heels of last night’s prognostication, in which I predicted a wicked Chicago storm is about to blow through Tinseltown this week. I was talkin’ about the Cubs, of course, but I think the chocolate mess that a few raindrops made outta LA’s freeways today was definitely a sign of what’s about to happen to the Dodgers. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

And they totally deserve it, too. Why? Dave Roberts’ laugh. Last night, when Baez flew out in the 7th about 3 eyelashes from the wall, Roberts unleashed a laugh that coulda gotten him the roll of #1 understudy for Dr. Evil. Michael Clair called it “maniacal,” So true. And I ask you, do normal people laugh like that, or just the possessed, mad scientists, and devil incarnates in the form of Major League managers? I think we all know the answer to that one.

Don’t be surprised if there’s an eclipse or somethin’ over Chavez Ravine tomorrow, or maybe some sort of pagan sacrifice bunting or somethin’ else on the part of the Dodgers designed to conjure the demons of baseball — like Bud Selig — in an effort to skew the game’s outcome through satanic influence.

Joe

PS. By the way, cry me an LA River on the 165 day thing, Los Angeles. You wanna talk drought? I give you the Chicago Cubs, who have gone somewhere in the vicinity of 39,420 days without a ring.

CLINCHIN’ THE DIVISION: SWEET. DOIN’ IT IN ST. LOUIS; PURE COTTON CANDY.

· 2016 Cubs, Joe Sez · , , , , ,

MCGWIRE-SOSA

Hey there, corn nuts, Joe “I can’t stand the friggin’ Cardinals” Schlombowski here to remind you that we start a 3 game series against the Redbirds tonight. I bring this to your attention cuz if we broom these cupcakes we claim the Division title for the first time since 2008. I’d call that pretty sweet … but doin’ it against the Cards? Well, that’s more like cotton candy pancakes smothered in whip cream covered Snickers-infused molten chocolate syrup. With an Old Style.

Clinchin’ in St Louis has a much higher calorie count cuz of the long history of discontent between the Cubs and the Cards. It’s like the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s, Ali and Frasier, Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner. Takin’ the title on the Cards’ home turf would have the added benefit of rubbin’ their noses in somethin’. I’ll leave that to your imagination.

Anyhoo … this reminded me of Sosa and McGwire — two guys that, back in 1998, became a microcosm of this long standing rivalry. That was before they became a microcosm of the cheatin’, roided-up jaggoffs who crapped all over the game of baseball. That aside, their chase for the single season dinger record seemed other-worldly at the time, and it probably did a lot to help bring the national pastime back out from the shadow of the players’ strike, which cancelled the 1994 World Series and part of the next season as well. Assholes.

Seriously. How the hell do you strike when every guy in your industry is makin’ mad money for playin’ a game?! That drives me friggin’ bat guano. Of course the owners pretty much brought it on themselves, and much of that can be laid at the feet of Captain Lame with Lame sauce. Uhh, that would be Bug Selig.

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THE ALL-STAR GAME: THE GOOD, THE “BUD” AND THE UGLY.

· 2016 Cubs, Joe Sez · , , , , , ,

ALL-STAR-GAME

When it comes to All-Star Games, Major League Baseball kicks football’s, basketball’s and hockey’s asses. No question.

And football? Pffft. The Pro Bowl ain’t even played until the season’s over; we’ve slept through a playoff system that includes, like, every stinkin’ team in the league; and nasty Miss Jackson’s boobs have already exploded from her Super Bowl outfit. I mean, after that, who the hell gives a crap about football?

That said, MLB’s All-Star Game ain’t exactly a chew-on-your-fingernails, glued-to-the-chair, don’t-miss-a-pitch event. It’s a vehicle for sellin’ beer and cars and Viagra (Oh … and just for the record, there have been 6 phone calls from the Schlombowski household seeking immediate medical attention, but each has been 100% attributed to the God-given charms of Mrs Schlombowski.) to the average couch potato like me, sittin’ at home takin’ in the spectacle or pageantry or whatever the hell Joe Buck will undoubtedly call it. Point is, the All-Star Game may not be as riveting as the missus, but I haven’t missed one since I was old enough to pee. I have no idea why … I mean, why give a crapola about one game that doesn’t really count and is wedged into the middle of 162 that do?

No clue.

So let’s put things on the Schlombowski Scale and see where the pros and cons net out.

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DID SOMEBODY CUT THE CHEESE, OR WAS THAT ROB MANFRED WITH HIS 30-SECOND CLOCK?

· Baseball Rules, Joe Sez · , , , ,

ROB-MANFREDs-30-SECOND-CLOCK-STINKS

Tighten up, melon balls.

I got a craw, and there’s something jammed in it pretty tight. Actually, really tight, you know? Like pickles. Sardines. Like a Krakus canned ham. Know what I’m sayin’?

It’s called the Commissioner’s Office and it’s got me feeling a little salty.

Far be it for yours truly to criticize the genius sitting in that particular ivory tower, but didn’t Bud Selig retire? I kinda hoped when he broke wind in his high-back leather chair for the last time he’d be taking his ham-fisted decisions with him. (Can anyone say inter-league play, and a 7-7 tie in the FRIGGIN’ ’02 ALL-STAR GAME?!)

No such luck, pallie. It seems while I was outside grabbing some air after Selig finished crop dusting the room, Rob Manfred stepped in to give us — after, like, nine hundred years of sports perfection — a clock on the field to limit, of all things, the time a coach takes to start and finish a mound visit. I’m sorry, cheese doodles, was that a problem? I got news for Robbie: the only thing wrong with the game is the amount time I spend waiting for the Old Style vendor to reload. Other than that, the game’s fine. Leave it alone.

Let me spell it out for you, sports fans: the commissioner is going to make the game better by speeding it up. And the way he’s going to do that is by starting a 30-second clock when the coach leaves the dugout on his way to the mound? Hey, I’m all for fast games — win or lose inside two-fifteen, I say. Nobody likes their infielders falling asleep, and since they stop pouring beer in the eighth … well, I start to get a little parched. Know what I’m sayin’? But is making a coach run to the mound and back really the answer? Hey, Robbie, you think for two seconds how much time it will take for the paramedics to resuscitate Chris Bosio when he collapses on the infield grass? Hell, Lou could light up a pitcher for thirty seconds before he crossed the foul line. Makes no sense to me.

Want to make the game faster, Robbie? Lose the DH in the sissy league, instant replay, and inter-league play. And for God’s sake stop letting TV dictate when the next pitch is thrown.

Joe