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I DON’T KNOW WHAT NUMBER THIS CLOUD IS, BUT IT’S GOTTA BE A LOT HIGHER THAN 9.

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

I don’t know about you, but I got one question: Where in the hell did all these people come from?! I ask in that particular way cuz there are definitely some major league ice sickles hangin’ off of Satan’s ass today. Yup. The biblical equivalent of a large Canadian low swooped down and turned the lake of fire into somethin’ the Blackhawks could win another Cup on. But, whew … Cloud 9? (Or whatever number it is.) It feels way more like Sardine Can 9 to me. You’d think Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump made simultaneous announcements to drop outta the race for Idiot in Chief. Nope. It was the Chicago Cubs winnin’ the last game of the last series of the 2016 baseball season.

That’s right, pal. After sufferin’ through 108 years, 19 days, 2 world wars, 1 billy goat curse, Steve Bartman and the Kardashians, the Chicago Cubs are finally sittin’ on the very tip top of the baseball world. If I was friggin’ Shakespeare I still couldn’t find words to explain how good this feels. I think it’s in the general vicinity of playin’ hide the sausage with the missus, but with mustard, relish and some cheesy fries. I can tell you this, whatever this feelin’ is … I’m not alone, cuz it appears as though I’m celebratin’ with 15 or 16 million of my closest friends.

CUBS-WIN-STILL

At the risk of stating the obvious, I don’t know when I’ve seen a better World Series. I know. That’s a little like saying, “Those are some major league yabbos, you got there, Dolly,” to Ms Parton. Sometimes, though, you just gotta say stuff, even if it doesn’t need sayin’. Of COURSE I haven’t seen a better Series than that. Anyone who saw the previous one ain’t breathin’ anymore.

But Wednesday night … holy CRAP, was that nail-biting or what?! I created a new divot in the edge of the Schlombarcalounger from being perched there for 4 hours. Comin’ back from a 3-1 series deficit, and givin’ away a 5-1 lead in game 7, and going extras, and the whole “did Joe overtax Chapman by using him needlessly in game 6” thing … it was a baseball thrill ride of Magic Mountain proportions. Havin’ an umpire crew from the Stevie Wonder school of rock was like the whip cream on top of this extra large tension sundae, too. I didn’t much like it, and it’s definitely a good reason to keep the Second Amendment intact, but the umps did, in their own pathetically incompetent way, make things interesting. Of course, some people find reality TV interesting, so I think “interesting” is in the eye of the beholder. Except for umpires, cuz their eyes don’t work much).

If I could change anything about Game 7 (besides me havin’ front row seats with Bill Murray) it would be to bring Harry back from his skybox to call the game … for two reasons. 1) Harry was the definitive, quintessential, beer-drinkin’ Cubs fan, not to mention the voice of the team for like a million and a half years. He had more Cubbie blue in him than the Chicago River does today, and … AND … I was walkin’ outta the Ambassador East, where Harry lived during the season, and where I used to get up for the game, and he took one look at the missus and me and offered us a ride to the ballpark. No shit! Of course I think he gave us the ride so he could enjoy ridin’ with the missus for 15 minutes. Anyway, reason #2 is that if Harry woulda been doin’ the game, no one’s ears — mine especially — would have been assaulted by the moronic commentary of one Joseph D. Buck. (That’s a D for douche bag.) He’s like a friggin’ Ken Doll, except he’s not as knowledgeable about baseball. Obviously, I’m not the only one with this fantasy, cuz Budweiser did a pretty good job of showin’ us what it woulda been like if Harry had called the game:

Anyway, I could go on and on, but it’s taken me 2 days just to stop celebratin’ enough to write this little bit down. Bottom line is the Cubs are world champs, which has put grins the size of the Sears Tower on about 30 million people. Enjoy the parade, baby!

Joe

PS. I believe the groundbreaking ceremony for the Theo wing in Cooperstown will be underway soon.

HOLY COW! FINALLY, JOYFULLY, THE CHICAGO CUBS ARE GOIN’ TO THE WORLD SERIES!

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

CUBS-WIN-2016-NLCS

“This is it! This is it! It’s two, they’re gonna turn two! Eeeaaaaaahhhhhhh!” The moment the ball was hit to Russell, I jumped outta my chair, screamin’ like a banshee. I don’t really know what a banshee is, but it’s gotta be loud and somewhat unhinged. (That would make my sister in law a banshee.) I bear hugged the missus who was already workin’ on a full set of raccoon eyes. If I was a woman, or Johnny Depp, I woulda had ’em too, cuz I realized she wasn’t the only one cryin’. That’s what happened at the Schlombowski household Saturday night. And I’ll tell ya … except for the Swedish Bikini team servin’ me beers without their bikini’s, blubberin’ like a newborn was the last thing I expected to happen. I guess the Cubs going to the Series means more to me than I thought it did … And believe me, I thought it would mean one helluva lot.

More than anything else, I feel gratitude towards Mr Ricketts who, as the Cubs owner, sorta takes a back seat to Theo, Jed and Joe in terms of getting credit for puttin’ this club together. But if it weren’t for Mr Ricketts, none of those guys would be here and, in all likelihood, our season woulda been over by the mid-season classic, like usual. So … thank you, Mr Ricketts. On the 10 million to 1 chance that you’re readin’ this, I want you to know how grateful I am that you brought Major League Baseball to Wrigley Field. Yeah, there’s always been some sorta reasonable or unreasonable facsimile, but until you started signin’ the checks, it’s never been anything like this. Thank you for givin’ so much joy to so many people who have patiently waited for so very, very long. We do, however, need a sit down about concession prices, my friend.

Full disclosure: I was more than skeptical at times over the last 5 years. 55 seasons of nothin’ will do that to a Cubs fan. So for me, bringin’ in Theo wasn’t an instantaneous Kyle Schwarber moon shot. Not that I didn’t wet myself with excitement when Theo first signed. I mean he came with the Red Sox miracle on his resumé, which was huge. Still, it took a while before all the ingredients started to come together. That’s when the intoxicating aroma of Theo stew with Maddon sauce started wafting out over Wrigleyville, and I realized that Mr Ricketts was really baseball’s Charlie Trotter. So sue me if I’m a little slow on the uptake. Nobody except Javi Baez is perfect, pal.

“Try not to suck.” That was the mantra this year. A Joe Maddonism that’s Yogi-esque in its utter simplicity and purity. And the Cubs lived up to every bit of it. They did not and do not suck, my friend. The same can’t be said for the Dodgers. Sorry, it may be unsportsmanlike to kick your opponent when he’s down, but somethin’ has got to be said about what happened to the Dodgers and their messiah, Clayton Kershaw.

Personally, I wasn’t surprised in the least. Kershaw had squeaked by with a 1-0 victory in game 2, in spite of the fact that the Cubs couldn’t hit water if they fell out of a boat. Goin’ into Saturday night, though, with the Cubs’ bats turned up to the 50 megaton level the previous two games, it seemed obvious that Kershaw could be in trouble. Of course this was the last thing most people expected. Why? Cuz of the sycophantic baseball writers and broadcasters, who for a week had been pourin’ Kershaw syrup all over everything. Especially Joe Buck, whose lips have gotta be surgically attached to Kershaw’s buttox. I got sick and friggin’ tired of hearin’ about some new, lower delivery angle and how devastating it was gonna be on our guys. “When?” I ask. Best pitcher in baseball? Once, maybe. Unhittable? Like your mama. I’ll take Hendricks, Lester or Arrieta over fuzzy wuzzy any day of the week. And twice on elimination days. Between Kershaw and Hendricks, the latter was the superior pitcher this year, in every respect, most especially when it really mattered. So baseball press, can we please shut the hell up about Jesus Effing Kershaw, and how Dave Roberts is such a genius manager? It’s nauseating.

One last thing on this point: Hendricks pitched to the minimum number of batters. As did Chapman. Meaning game 6 was only the second time in playoff history — the other being Don Larsen’s 1956 World Series perfect game — that that’s been done. So, again … zip it on the Kershaw blather.

I know everybody is lookin’ forward to tomorrow night, but I think some of the fun and games from Saturday bear repeating here:

Toles hits the first pitch of the game into right for a single. The Dodgers were jumpin’ around in their dugout like a bunch of Girly Scouts who just got their first training bras. Two pitches later there were two outs and the bases were empty, and Javier Baez was tucking his cape in. LA took the field in the bottom of the 1st with a goose egg on the board.

In our half of the first, Fowler says hello to Kershaw with a ground rule double, and Bryant brings him in with a shot down the line. 1-zip, Cubs. In a Rorschach moment, the non-abbreviated version of F-U Dodgers blurted outta me. Don’t know what the psychology behind that is, but it felt like it needed to be said.

Somebody in the booth mentions that the Cubs are  47-13 when Fowler gets on to lead off a game. I’m guessin’ that Toles had his rabbit ears on when they said it, cuz instead of makin’ a routine catch, he channels Keith Moreland and drops Rizzo’s routine fly. We end up with guys on 2nd and 3rd. A sac fly by Zobrist scores another run. 2-nothin’, Cubs. Time for another Old Style. We leave Rizzo at third, but at this point in the game, with Hendricks on the mound and the Cubs bats in perfect working order, I’m startin’ to wonder how long it takes the club house crew to prep things for a champagne shower.

In the top of 2, Baez, Mr Steady, blows an easy one. Call me crazy, but I say he did it on purpose so Hendricks could pick Reddick off of first. Which is what he did.

Addi hits the 3rd double of the night and it’s only the 2nd inning. What a shame. Kershaw? More like Kershawshank, and definitely in need of redemption at this point. Instead, Fowler brings in Russell, and I have that same Roarschach moment.

The 3rd. Rizzo. Another double. Uh … that’s 4, so far, right Kershaw? I guess it’s hard to pitch when you’re walkin’ on water.

In the 4th, Joe Buck offers some of his unique wisdom by stating, “This place is crawling with blue.” No shit. It’s the Cubs and Dodgers. Blue is the color for both, you putz! Too bad all the rocket science and brain surgery positions were filled when Buck got outta school. The world missed out.

Contreras goes yard. Rizzo goes yard.

In the 8th, Toles appears to be checking his email on the field. Or maybe checking in for his flight back to LA. Seriously. If you recorded it, go back and look.

When Joe pulls Hendricks for Chapman in the 8th, again, I’m not so sure that’s a good idea. I mean given recent history with that move. But another double play later I understand the difference between the mind of a savvy baseball genius and one that’s under the influence of Old Style. Yes, I started early.

Which bring me back to where I started — a series-ending double play that’s sent the Cubs to the World Series for the first time in 71 years, and me to the bathroom for some tissues. Not to sound ungrateful or appear greedy, but 4 more wins would be nice.

Joe

IS BASEBALL A WHITE MAN’S GAME? YEAH, AND I’M A VICTORIA’S SECRET UNDERWEAR MODEL.

· Joe Sez, News · , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

LILY-WHITE-BASEBALL

I’ve been a Cubs fan since before the Big Bang, so you can imagine how, this year, it’s been pretty friggin’ impossible to wipe the smile off my face. I think it’d take a jack hammer and some C4. Or maybe some earth moving equipment or somethin’. I’ll tell you one thing: it’s thrown the missus off, that’s for sure. Why? Cuz until the 2016 wet dream edition of the Chicago Cubs, nothin’ on Earth (or Mars and Jupiter, for that matter) except the considerable charms of Mrs Schlombowski could give me this Howdy Doody face. Know what I’m sayin’?

We got a 19 game lead over the Cards, who are number 2 in our division. (And when it comes to the Cards, I think you know what I mean when I say “number 2.”) We’ve had the best record in baseball since the opening bell — except for about 5 minutes back in April. And right now, we’re 44 games over .500. If last night’s game hadn’t ended in a lame tie, and we’d have finished off Pittsburgh — and c’mon, is there any doubt? — we’d have won 16 outta 22 series match-ups so far, and 7 of those are sweeps. Point is, this has been a 100%, unadulterated, no-holds-barred, cup-runneth-over baseball season of Cubbie blue bliss. And it ain’t over. In fact, to quote Mr John “Bluto” Blutarsky, “Nothing is over until we decide it is.

Not that a post season run is a sure thing. I mean I’m talkin’ about the Chicago Cubs, here. Actin’ like Theo is gonna sprout a snow white Duck Dynasty beard and come down outta section 503 with “World Series Champions” etched on stone tablets would be pretty friggin’ arrogant. It would also be presumptuous and assholian, which would make me a Yankees fan. Quite frankly, I’d rather bathe in a tub of simmering yak doo than be saddled with that misconception. Anyway, I think you gotta stay grounded. Shit happens, my friend. The last time the Cubs got close enough to sniff a World Series trophy, the air was fouled by Steve Bartman. Remember that? This recurring Bartman nightmare not withstanding, I think you gotta enjoy the best season the Cubs have had in everyone’s lifetime. Stop and smell the ivy, so to speak, like me. I’ve been hangin’ out on cloud 9, the Bowksi-lounger dialed in at a jaunty 73 degree recline, enjoyin’ the occasional frosty, perfectly foamed Old Style, and day-dreamin’ about how I’m gonna fit a goat on the Weber. (I figure I’ll have to Dexter the thing with a hack saw or somethin’.) The Cubs are hot. Life is good. Short of the missus bringin’ me a cigar in her birthday suit, I’m about as happy as Bill Clinton at an intern convention.

And yet what the F do I see when I flip on Baseball Tonight or SportsCenter?! Is it the Cubs? No. It’s Adam Effing Jones playin’ the race card! Callin’ baseball a White sport! Jesus, Mary and Joseph Maddon … Talk about bitin’ the hand that feeds you. That’s like a friggin’ great white shark, pal. Jones is rakin’ in $16 million this year, and talkin’ about white privilege. And droppin’ grenades like 8% of ballplayers are black. Yeah? What about the Dominicans, Cubans, Mexicans and Puerto Ricans? That’s more like 40% people of color. When is Jones gonna talk about black versus brown versus every shade in between? They don’t count? Sheesh. If I said somethin’ like that I’d have the nightly news parked on my lawn. Not only is all this crap takin’ away from the real story of the 2016 baseball season — the Cubs — it’s not even one of baseball’s biggest problems. Race? Really? Are you friggin’ KIDDING me? How ’bout declining attendance, nobody playin’ Little League, rules changes that are dialin’ up the wuss factor … If you’re gonna go all Reverend Wright on us, Mr Jones, pick a real problem. And by the way, if you can figure out how to get Cam Newton, LeGarrett Blount, and Derrell Rivas to play baseball instead of football, bring it the F on! Baseball WANTS those guys! Especially if they end up on the north side of Chicago. You wanna make a difference? Drop one of your sermons on the LeBron Jameses and Antonio Browns of the world that gets ’em to choose a diamond over hardwood or a gridiron.

And then there’s Mr Colin Bench-Me-But-I’m-Still-Gonna-Figure-Out-How-To-Get-On-The-Cover-Of-Time-Magazine Kaepernick. Are you kiddin’ me? I’m clicking around the channels lookin’ for stories about what swamp creature from the Everglades Joe Maddon has brought into the Cubbies locker room to lighten the mood, and I get Colin Kaepernick takin’ a knee during the playing of our National Anthem. Hey, it’s a free country, great, but Colin, write an F-ing op ed piece in the New York Times. DON’T TRED ON MY FLAG. Especially when you’re usin’ $100 bills for toilet paper. Yeah, we have problems, and you donatin’ a million bucks to help is a big deal in my book. Lord knows I can’t do that. But seriously, crappin’ on the stars and stripes just pisses people off (just in case you couldn’t tell). And one more thing … The cover of Time Magazine. Keeeee-ryst. I’ll tell you who should be on the cover of Time friggin’ Magazine. General Douglas MacArthur, that’s who! John Freaking Glenn! Mother Theresa! I’ll tell you who should NOT be on the cover of Time Magazine: NOT a toll collector on the New Jersey turn pike! NOT a pilates instructor from Austin Texas. NOT someone who says the droplets on their windshield formed a perfect likeness of Elvis. Not ANYONE connected with the I. F-ing R.S. And MOST importantly … NOT A SECOND STRING QUARTERBACK who throws as many interceptions as he does touchdowns.

This fall should be about the CHICAGO F-ING CUBS! I want Kris Bryant on the cover of Time Magazine. Kaepernick throws passes at 47 miles per hour. Aroldis Chapman throws the cheese at 105 miles per hour. I want Aroldis Chapman on the cover of Time. You hear me Time Warner?! Put Aroldis Chapman or Kris Byrant or Jon Lester or Joe Maddon on the cover. (But wait until we win the Series please, I don’t want you bubble brains to jinx it. If you get stuck for ideas (Does the Barbie cover ring a bell?) I’m sure the Sports Illustrated guys could send you a swimsuit model or two.)

So, is baseball a white man’s game? NO, IT’S NOT YOU STUPID PUTZ. Is Big Papi white? Is Felix Hernandez white? Is Theo Epstein comin’ over tomorrow to wash my car? Is Giselle tryin’ to make ends meet by workin’ as a waitress at Denny’s? NO is the answer. NO! You hear me, Mr Adam Jones? The Cubs are 19 games ahead of the Cardinals. THAT SHOULD BE THE F-ING HEADLINE.

Alright, I gotta go open another can of my blood pressure medicine. Cheers.

Joe

WHAT’S IN A NAME? MORE THAN YOU MIGHT THINK, PAL.

· 2016 Cubs, Joe Sez · , , , , , , , , ,

BALL-PLAYER-NAMES

“Guess there’s a little Slim Shady in all of us.” — Eminem

Okay, I’ll admit it, sports fans. Rap and hip-hop music sound about as good to me as a shattered glass enema. I graduated high school in 1978 and grew up with an eight-track in the Pinto that I stuffed with Bob Seger, Joe Walsh, and Ted Nugent’s Double Live Gonzo. Look, pal, I don’t know if the real Slim Shady ever stood up or not, but I can tell you this: havin’ a first name you hate so much that you gotta change it to Eminem is tragic. (And, oh, by the way, that whole melts-in-your-mouth-and-not-in-your-hands thing is a load of crap. Holding a handful of those babies for more than, like, two minutes at Wrigley in August will make you stickier than Bill Clinton at a White House intern orientation.)

Which brings me to the point of today’s lesson, Cubs lovers. Take a knee.

In addition to being hard rock axe men who paved the musical way in my hay day, Seger, Walsh and Nugent have something else in common: they all have real, honest, hard first names. Hey, if the name on my birth certificate was Marshall Mathers, I might have a sweet candy alias too. But it’s not. I’m Joe. Joe Schlombowski. And names — front or back — don’t get much harder than that, my friend.

See, you got hard names and you got soft names. Hard names are bestowed on the fortunate sons of men who ignored their wives’ pleas to taint their new bundle of joy with a sensitive ringtone. Hard names, like Bob and Joe and Ted, and like Alex and George and Dan and Mike and Hank, are coughed off the tongue, dripping with masculinity and other admirable character traits. Like John Cusack said in The Sure Thing, “Nick’s the kind of guy you can trust, the kind of guy you can drink a beer with, the kind of guy who doesn’t mind if you puke in his car.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself. Of course, John — uh, yeah, that’s a hard name — is a devoted Cubs fan who’s been known to lead the Wrigley Faithful in Take Me Out to the Ballgame.

Soft names, on the other mitt, reek of maternal coddling. Avery, Ashton, Todd, Caleb, Joshua — all of them conjure up the image of a friggin’ fat kid with a notoriously soft Justin Bieber haircut whose only playing Little League so his overbearing, Boeing Apache mother can bring him a lemon Gatorade and Fruit Snacks in the dugout every other inning. I mean, have you ever heard a coach yell, “Goddammit, get in front of the friggin’ ball, Jasper!” without makin’ Jasper cry? Of course, not! Coach has no time for a kid with a soft name; he wants a dirty, tobacco-chewin’, fist-fighting animal named Rusty who drinks from a muddy water hose only after the game’s over.

The Cubs have a roster chock full of hard first names. Anthony, Ben, John, Joe, Danny: hard, hard, hard, hard, hard. And Jake? Like a ten-peckered billy goat, pallie.

Still, there’s cause for concern.

Kris?

I’m sorry, was it Jesus Krist? Me thinks not. Stop making shit up! Spell it with a C-H as the good Lord intended, and you firm up immediately. Hell, you might hit a hundred homers!

Jonathan?

Please. Using your full first name when it’s got a perfectly good abbreviation is a play made by guys who work at Nordstrom’s makeup counter. You may have been Jonathan at home when you forgot to pick up your marbles, but on the field you’re John — JOHN! with a friggin’ H!

And Addison?

Uh, got a nickname, kid? Like Spike, maybe? Use it. And have your driver’s license reflect the change. By far the softest name on the club.

And then there’s … Theo.

Theo? You guessed it, pal. Softer than Elton John’s bed sheets. An eephus pitch with a little extra taken off. And so close, too, because “Ted” is an unquestionably hard name — one given to some real bad asses, like the aforementioned Motor City Madman, whose guitar is so loud he can knock the balls off a charging rhino at sixty paces (did I mention the Double Live Gonzo album?). Tragically, somebody — perhaps his mother or some spoiled Harvard frat buddy called Skip or Thad or Corbin — somebody thought “Ted” wasn’t cute enough. They got that right, sports fans. “Theo” reminds me of the cotton candy I see meltin’ in the cheap seats. Hey, don’t get me wrong. Your name could be Alice and if you got me to the World Series I’d take a bullet for you. So far, the calls Theo’s made have been remarkably strong and the Cubs have sat on top of the baseball world all season. But I’ll be honest with you, sports fans, I’m about as comfortable as Robin Ventura at a Ryan Family reunion.

Here’s why.

Early this season, the Cubs and the White Sox got out of the gates hot, and it looked like we were headed to the Windy City War this fall. But the Sox, slapdicks that they are, folded like a used condom and are now struggling to stay above .500. Meanwhile, the Cubs marched on to a 12 ½ game lead over the Cards by June 18. Since then, however, a few things have happened: First, we lost four in a row — twice — before losing five in a row. Uh, enough said. Second, Jake’s ERA in July was 5.55, which on paper means the Cubs need to score six runs to win when their best guy is on the bump. That’s askin’ a lot of any team hitting in the Majors today, even the 2016 Cubs. By the All-Star Break, we were still in first place, but the Rangers, Nationals, and — God, I hate saying this — the friggin’ Giants all had more wins than we did. Worst of all, we had won just twice in our last ten games, and the Cardinals were only seven games back. Now they’re just 6 ½ back — well within striking range — with 59 games left to play.

No habla espanol, but with a 104 MPH heater, I’m thinkin’ Aroldis Chapman has a hard first name. Provided Theo’s latest acquisition punches out more opposing hitters than he does the women in his life the Cubs should be headed to the playoffs, where having led bell-to-bell will mean zippo, my friend.

But I digress.

Mama’s, you don’t have to let your babies grow up to be cowboys. But if they do end up riding a ranked bull someday, they’ll have a better chance of hangin’ on for eight seconds if they can say their first name without makin’ themselves sound like, well, a Harvard frat boy.

Joe

WHAT’S THE TRUE COST OF THE AROLDIS CHAPMAN DEAL?

· 2016 Cubs, Joe Sez, News, Trades · , , , ,

AROLDIS-CHAPMAN-TO-CUBS-2

Did you hear that, Cubs fans? That heavy metallic clunk was the last piece of the championship puzzle being lowered into position — the 99.999% pure steel arm of Aroldis Chapman. The first thing I did when I heard the news was call my mother. I wanted to find out how old I was the last time I wet my pants. Yeah … I’m jacked … sorta … and I think this is a kind of a good move. Why? Cuz it’s about FRIGGIN’ time that Binny’s Beverage Depot had an actual reason to be the official champagne supplier of the Chicago Cubs.

You gotta admit, the Cubs appear to be teeterin’ on the edge of a Championship. We’ve led or been tied for the best record in baseball the entire season. Even without Schwarber, and with various injuries plaguing a variety of players, not to mention our coin-toss bullpen, the Cubs are still wearin’ the yellow jersey as the race to the World Series is comin’ outta the back stretch. (How’s that for mixin’ metaphors?! That’s like a metaphor salad, my friend.) Adding Chapman and movin’ Rondon to a set-up position means that Theo is pretty serious about roastin’ some billy goat in October.

Naturally, there’s a Mount Everest sized pile of second guessing goin’ on — everything from Chapman’s domestic violence history to what the Cubbies gave up to get the Usane Bolt of pitchers.

That’s fair. I mean personally, I have zero tolerance for guys with OJ tendencies, so tradin’ for one who was suspended for that very thing, AND it involved a gun … well … that’s a pond I don’t wanna fish in, pallie. Full disclosure — I’m uncomfortable about it. My hope is that Ricketts made it crystal-friggin-clear that crap like that won’t be tolerated. Of course if it happens again it’s already too friggin’ late. There will forever be a link between the Cubs desire to win takin’ precedence over steerin’ clear of a guy who smacks women around. 108 years is a long drought, but is this a gamble you wanna take to put an end to it? Except for the bullpen, we’ve got all the signs of waltzin’ into the Series and maybe winnin’ the damn thing … without Chapman. Besides, the Cubs have never been a “win at all costs” kinda franchise. (No shit.) Does this move forever change their soul; makin’ it as evil and black as the Yankees’ is? Can’t say I like havin’ to even contemplate that. Justification comes in the form of Chapman’s clean record since being reinstated, and sits defiantly under the flag of second chances Ricketts has hoisted. I don’t think there’s any doubt that Chapman improves the pen, thus the team as a whole. But at what cost to their reputation?

There’s also that whole “we kept him from goin’ to a team we might have to face in the playoffs” distorted mindset. That’s pretty Hillary Clintonesque logic. Doin’ somethin’ you don’t believe in, cuz if you don’t somebody else will, is the worst kinda political acrobatics there is. The last thing I want is for the Cubs to turn into the New England friggin’ Patriots.

The other thing that’s gettin’ batted around — and not in a nice way — is that we gave up Adam Warren, minor league outfielders Billy McKinney and Rashad Crawford, and the jewel of the bunch, minor league shortstop Gleyber Torres (the top prospect in the Cubs organization) in exchange for a 2 month rent-a-closer. A lotta experts out there are treatin’ that like the Jim Fregosi for Nolan Ryan deal. Now that was a bad trade, pallie. But talent-wise, the Cubs are like Pacific Ocean deep across the board, so givin’ up prospects — even one with Torres’s potential — doesn’t leave me scratchin’ my head. Or anywhere else for that matter. It woulda been different had we made the deal with someone in our division, but we didn’t.

The main argument against this move (besides Chapman’s violent pinheadedness) is over aggregate value. A conservative estimate for a talent like Torres is that he’s worth 15 or 20 WAR in his first 6 seasons in the Show, while Chapman may be worth just 1 through the rest of this season. Before you even get to Warren, McKinney and Crawford, that makes this deal look pretty bad for the Cubs. But that’s a pretty stupid debate: 1) Torres is 19 and ain’t even in the big leagues yet, 2) WAR is a stupid way to measure closers, and 3) If Chapman can do his 105 mile and hour blind-the-hitters thing, and we win the Series partly because of it, who gives a flying Wallenda if we traded away the farm? The Chicago Cubs will have achieved the be-all end-all of baseball existence for the first time in 108 years!

So … was this a good trade? Was it money and players and conscience well spent? After last night’s bullpen-induced loss against the White Sox, I’m leanin’ in the “yes” direction.

Joe