Language barriers, brawl game jersey auctions, and other fooleries

Did Hall of Famer Schmidt have a point about language barriers, however clumsily addressed?

Did Hall of Famer Schmidt have a point about language barriers, however clumsily addressed?

We should be enjoying things this week. Things like the Astros’ staggering dominance of the American League West and maybe baseball itself, the bombing of Yankee rookie Aaron (Here Comes The) Judge, the near-classic pitching duel between Clayton Kershaw and Stephen Strasburg, the four-homer game of an obscurity named Scooter Gennett, the 600th home run of Albert Pujols.

But no. Baseball is played and governed by human beings, and human beings are only too fallible. Consider:

The thrill isn’t gone for Cub Country, yet

Wrigley FieldDexter Fowler, who hit Game Seven’s fourth pitch over the center field fence? He’s a Cardinal now, having signed with the rivals during the offseason. Aroldis Chapman, gassed at last and serving Rajai Davis a game-tying two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth? Back to the Yankees from whence he came.

David Ross, who atoned post haste for a wild throw and a run-scoring bounce off his catcher’s mask by hitting one out on Andrew Miller’s dime? Retired. Jason Hammell, the missing man of the rotation with an elbow issue? Free agent, not likely to return, joining a small pack of marksmen who think Joe Maddon doesn’t really know as much about handling pitchers as he thinks.

To Game Seven, via the ICU

Chapman in the eighth . . .

Chapman in the eighth . . .

Forget about making things a little more exciting even when they leave themselves room enough to make things simple. These Cubs are just hell bent on keeping Cub Country not on edge, but within easy reach of the intensive care unit.

These Indians seem hell bent likewise regarding the Indian Isles, who must have thought—after the Cubs forced a seventh World Series game—that simplicity is simply not an option anymore.

Chapman, Cubs answer the “big ask”

Eight outs? Sure! Why the hell not?

Eight outs? Sure! Why the hell not?

Something unexpected happened in Wrigley Field Sunday night. The Cubs—the real Cubs, the ones you watched or heard about all regular season long, the ones you remember from their pre-World Series postseason rounds—came to the ballpark.

They left their impressions of Cub calamities past somewhere. Who knows where? Who cares? The hosts who let the Indians make off with the valuables and leave them tied up in the closet didn’t wait for the cops.

A Cub pennant, and a Code Blue World Series

Rizzo raising arms with the pennant-winning double play ball snapped in his mitt: "I'm sleeping with this thing tonight. Are you kidding me?"

Rizzo raising arms with the pennant-winning double play ball snapped in his mitt: “I’m sleeping with this thing tonight. Are you kidding me?”

Apparently, God has a sense of humour, after all. Fathers have been known to use wit to discipline their children, you know. And the Father of fathers sure picked a beauty to teach us a lesson after His foolish American children picked Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton for the White House.

The Chicago Cubs are going to the World Series for the first time since just after World War II. To play the Cleveland Indians, who haven’t won the World Series since just before the Berlin Airlift.

“That history thing” is lost on these Cubs . . . so far . . .

Baez (left) and Russell celebrate after Russell's second two-run bomb in two NCLS nights . . .

Baez (left) and Russell celebrate after Russell’s second two-run bomb in two NCLS nights . . .

You’ve heard it until you’re almost as sick of hearing it as you might be sick of watching Dodgers relief pitcher Pedro Baez pitch. (He takes so long between pitches it’s rumoured the Cubs might pay Mike Hargrove royalties to call Baez the Human Rain Delay.) You know. The Cubs haven’t been seen in a World Series since two months after World War II ended.

The most powerful bunt in Cub history, if not all time

Zobrist dropping the bunt that launched a Cubrising in Game Four.

Zobrist dropping the bunt that launched a Cubrising in Game Four.

Entering National League Championship Series Game Four, even Dodger fans wondered whether the Cubs would bother showing up. By the time the game was over, the set was tied at two games each, and the Cubs finished a 10-2 bludgeoning of the Dodgers, Dodger fans were sorry the Cubs did show up.

Twenty-one straight scoreless innings was more than the Cubs were willing to dine on. And to think the barrage began with a beautifully timed bunt to open the top of the fourth, by the lineup’s number four hitter, one of the Cubs on whose behalf people were ready to send out search and rescue teams to try finding his bat.

The Cubs’ bats can’t wait for another late-game drama

Rizzo and most of the rest of the Cubs' bats need to return from the dead pronto . . .

Rizzo and most of the rest of the Cubs’ bats need to return from the dead pronto . . .

It isn’t exactly time for traditional watchers for Cubs calamity to calibrate their instruments. But the Cubs’ lineup is becoming cause for just a wee dollop of alarm, even as the National League Championship Series shifts to Los Angeles tied at a game apiece.

A team with baseball’s best regular season record who finished third in Show in runs scored on that season should be doing better at getting men across the plate. Even with those late-game dramas that got the Cubs here in the first place.

Let’s Not Put the A’s into the Series Just Yet, Folks . . .

Samardzija to the A's, who may or may not have traded for the World Series . . .

Samardzija to the A’s, who may or may not have traded for the World Series . . .

Eons ago, an anonymous Brooklyn Dodgers executive crowed when the club dealt for Chicago Cubs outfielder Andy Pafko, in June 1951, “Gentlemen, we have just traded for the pennant.” Pafko would provide the Dodgers some much-needed additional pop with 35 runs batted in and eighteen home runs in 84 games, in a season in which he was 3.2 wins above a replacement-level player overall.