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.

Shorten games? Eliminate the eight relief warmups. (No, I’m not as crazy as you think . . . )

When you have Zach Britton warmed up already, does he really need eight warmup tosses on the mound?

When you have Zach Britton warmed up already, does he really need eight warmup tosses more on the mound?

Baseball government seeks ways to reduce the time of games. One of them, reportedly, is going to be tested in the minors, namely that extra innings will begin with each team coming to bat starting with a man on second, on the house. That should be rejected as utter foolishness, of course, but there are ways to shorten games without diluting them.

The Yankees tell Chapman, “Let’s do it again”—and how

Chapman returns to the Yankees on a record-setting deal . . .

Chapman returns to the Yankees on a record-setting deal . . .

The next time the world champion Cubs see Aroldis Chapman will be either in regular season interleague play or in the World Series, assuming the Cubs return within the next five years and face the Yankees. Not that they’re complaining about dealing for Wade Davis, but you suspect in their hearts of hearts the Cubs knew Chapman was a second-half rental.

Aroldis who? The Cubs deal for Davis; the Royals say goodbye H-D-H

Davis, the last man standing on the mound when the Royals won the 2015 World Series . . . now gets a chance to return with the world champ Cubs . . .

Davis, the last man standing on the mound when the Royals won the 2015 World Series . . . now gets a chance to return with the world champ Cubs . . .

Once upon a time, Motown included a venerable songwriting and production trio, Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Brian Holland. Colloquially, they were known as HDH. Half a century later, the Royals had a late-game bullpen corps of Kelvim Herrera, Wade Davis, and Greg Holland. Also known colloquially as H-D-H.

Melancon’s straw stirs the closers’ market drink

Melancon goes to the Bay to begin fixing the Giants' broken bullpen . . .

Melancon goes to the Bay to begin fixing the Giants’ broken bullpen . . .

We talk much, and often hyperbolically, about the worst kept secrets in baseball. But in 2016, the Giants’ bullpen was an easy candidate for the absolute worst-kept secret in the game. In a word, the Giants’ pen was a wreck populated by arsonists.

They went from baseball’s near-best record at the All-Star break to lucky to be in and win the wild card game against the Mets. Few thought they were better than long shots to keep their too-often spoken even-season championship streak alive.

The Cubs. World champions. Signed, Epstein’s mother.

The party's on . . .

The party’s on . . .

Jolly Cholly Grimm started Hy Vandenburg instead of Hank Borowy. The College of Coaches was decertified in its crib. Leo Durocher didn’t burn out his regulars and make nervous wrecks out of his subs and rookies. Leon Durham fielded the grounder. Steve Garvey made a long out. Dusty Baker lifted Mark Prior to start the eighth. Alex Gonzalez fielded the hopper cleanly and turned the double play.

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.