Update: So, the season is over. Swept by the Dodgers. Not much to say, other than this feels familar but suprisingly worse than years past. Hang in there...
Chat will stay up. An update is coming...
It's playoff time! It's been nine days since I've had a Cubs game to be invested in and I have to say I have enjoyed the time off mentally. I was able to enjoy two Bears games (well, I watched two, but I only enjoyed one), keep tabs on the NL wild card race and even listen to a few Sox games (I am a baseball fan after all), all while getting projects done around the house in anticipation of being completely paralyzed the entire month of October. As I sit here writing this, the Sox make up game vs. Detroit is being delayed due to rain. I don't enjoy the Sox position of having two must win games to have the honor playing Tampa Bay in the 1st round...reminds me of the Cubs uphill climb in '98 and we all know how far that went.
But enough of the Sox, this is after all, CubsMagicNumber.com
On to the playoffs!
I am quite pleased the Brewers won the Wild Card enabling the Cubs to play the Dodgers in the first round instead of the Mets. I know not everybody agrees with me on this, but I think the Dodgers are much more vulnerable than the Mets. The other upside is a potential NLCS match up with the Brewers, which would be good for two reasons: 1. I suspect a good portion of any Miller Park crowd in that series would be Cubs fans. 2. The Brewers could actually beat the Phillies in a 5 game series if they can figure out a way to throw CC twice...which is key because the Phillies scare me. I don't think the Brewers are good enough to beat any other playoff team in a seven game series though, especially the Cubs. Who wouldn't want to play this guy in the NLCS?
Back to the NLDS vs. L.A. I really like our chances here. Here are the pitching match ups for the first three games:
Game 1: Lowe vs. Dempster
Game 2: Billingsley vs. Zambrano
Game 3: Harden vs. Kuroda
Yes, all three Dodgers started listed here are good and have impressive stats. BUT the Cubs have owned the NL West in general and the Dodgers in particular all season long (5-2 in '08 vs. L.A.)....and that was before we had Harden. And the Dodgers have lost one of their key bullpen pitchers for the series in Kuo. The Cubs offense lately seems to have had no problem with hitting very good pitchers which is why L.A.'s starters don't scare me too much. And of course, we have home field advantage.
The biggest advantage to the Cubs over the Dodgers, or anybody in the NL for that matter? The overwhelming feeling by everybody involved, players, management, press, fans, broadcasters, etc. that making the playoffs alone isn't good enough this year. The pervasive thinking is that making the playoffs this year was a foregone conclusion. That only winning the whole thing this year would suffice. That these Cubs and their fans have already been to the NLDS, NLCS...been there done that. We want it all now. Lord knows we've waited long enough that we've earned it. We have the best team in the NL and possibly the MLB so it's go time. Best of all, the players seem to think this as well since day one. Remember when Dempster had the balls to say it in Spring Training and he was laughed at? Well, it doesn't look so silly now.
Here are a few key points that will affect the series from the Cubs perspective:
So, that's my take on the series as a whole from a Cubs perspective. I'll be watching game 1 with my Dad, Sister and a few other close friends. I will update this site after every game, so please come back to see updated posts and continue to count down the number of victories needed for the Cubs to win their third World Championship. Remember, all the Cubs need to do is go 11-8 and they will be World Champions!
Monday, September 29, 2008
Update: So, the season is over. Swept by the Dodgers. Not much to say, other than this feels familar but suprisingly worse than years past. Hang in there...
updated at 1:30 PM Posted by Sean Gill
Saturday, September 20, 2008
The Chicago Cubs have fought hard this year. The Cubs have come back to win games that some people felt we had no business to win. We won series after series. Our ace pitcher Carlos Zambrano pitched a no-hitter for the first time in 36 years. This has been a magical ride, but there is still more that needs to be done. Enjoy the champagne Cubs fans. Let's Go Cubs!!! It is time to see baseball played in Wrigley Field, IN OCTOBER!!!
Mister Pickles video from the game:
I highly recommend you go to YouTube to watch my videos as you can select "Watch in Higher Quality" link just below the video to the right which makes a big difference. These clips were all filmed in HD which standard You Tube butchers. Here's the link to my profile http://www.youtube.com/user/fh301
The CLINCH VIDEO!
Cubs emerge from the Clubhouse to celebrate on the field:
DeRosa gets interviewed, Theriot with his bottle:
The Cubs storm the Bleachers with Champagne:
The Cubs come right at me @ home plate. I didn't get wet but I could smell the champagne.
We moved to behind the dugout. You can hear me talk about posting the 0 post. Apparently, ILovLou's computer crashed and she couldn't post in time, so I had to email in a quick update.
Photos from the game where Mister Pickles sat:
Alfonso up for bat
The guy next to me from the Texas Rangers. He happened to sport a 1988 LA Dodgers Championship ring. A commenter to this post identified him as Mel Didier. Interesting bio: Link Here I am, happy to be there!
CUBS WIN!. There's the scoreboard with the Win flag and NL Central Champs on the scoreboard! (Click the image for higher res!)
updated at 5:44 PM Posted by IluvMaddon
Friday, September 19, 2008
updated at 9:00 PM Posted by Mister Pickles
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Listening to this one on the radio (while the TV was on mute) was great! If it's possible to die of happiness, I would imagine you would sound like Ron did during Soto's HR right before you expire.
WOW, what a game. There have been so many dramatic come backs this year, but this is probably my second favorite behind the infamous 8-run comeback vs. the Rockies on May 30. There's the opening day come back keyed by Fukudome's HR (remember when he could hit?), but we ultimately lost that game, so today beats that out.
So, the magic # is down to 2 and the Cubs can clinch as early as tomorrow night after they play a day game vs. the Cardinals. Personally, I like the prospect of the Cubs clinching on Saturday while they are still playing their game (it could happen if the Brewers lose before the Cubs win; both first pitches for the Cubs & Brewers on Sat. are at 2:55). Imagine that scenario...41,000 fans score board watching while the game in front of them at Wrigley is in the 8th and the Brewers game becomes a final? I wonder what the protocol on the field will be? Will the Cubs acknowledge that mid-game? I can't imagine a better opponent to clinch against than the Cardinals and LaRusa.....good stuff. Well, it would be interesting to see, but I won't be disappointed if the Cubs just clinch on Fri. night with a Brewers loss after the Cubs have already won in the afternoon.
- Nice to see Harden bounce back and have a quality game after a very bad 1st inning.
- Too bad Samardzija got tagged for 4 unearned runs after a rare error at 2nd by DeRosa.
- Ramirez remains on fire going 2-4 with a 2B, 1 RBI and a BB(nice to see somebody besides Fielder in the zone).
- Edmonds continues to do well crushing an opposite field HR and an RBI single in the 9th with 2 outs (although it was odd seeing the veteran arguing balls and strikes in the 11th and getting ejected mid at bat. Kind of a rookie mistake if you ask me).
- And of course, Soto continuing his Rookie of the Year season with a CLUTCH, MONSTER smash with 2 outs in the 9th with the wind blowing in.
- The camera panned the park right before the rally in the 9th to show that easily half of the fans had already left. Fools....
Quick side note about the rest of the NL playoff race: I talked to my buddy Nelson who lives in Philly yesterday who is a Philly fan, when it occurred to me that the remaining Cubs schedule really screws the Phillies who are fighting for a playoff spot via either the NL East crown or the Wild Card Spot. The Cubs, who presumably will be on cruise control and resting many of their regulars with the best record in the NL virtually locked up (and home field through the NLCS as a result) still have to play the Brewers three times in Miller Park and the Mets four times in Shea...which happens to be the two teams the Phillies need to beat out for the playoffs. Too bad for the Phillies the Cubs won't be any help...which is fine by me, because of those three teams, the Phillies are the one I would least like to see in the playoffs.
updated at 4:07 PM Posted by Sean Gill
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Here's Nikko and his blankey from LA. His dad, Ron, and mom were transplanted to LA, but they still see their Cubbies when they come to LA and San Diego. Oh, and Nikko was born on January 4th and brings Magic Number 4 good luck!
Justin from Nashville sends up Garrett in his Cubbie Blue! I think I see a dog behind him.
Representing the ladies tonight is two year old Addison who happens to be named after some street in Chicago that may border the Friendly Confines. Here she is at her first Cubs game, actually an Iowa Cubs game! She looks forward to going to Wrigley next year with daddy. Thanks 'Bleacher Creature' Rick for the photo!
Here's five month old Evan with his Cubbie Bear! Thanks Jean!
Grayson from Crosby, ND smiles to all the Cubs fans out there. Grandma Mary is proud to have raised her son as a Cubs fan and to see the legacy passed down.
Arthur from Burbank, CA "Lookin' Cubbie Cool" at 20 months! Thanks Daddy Armen.
Thanks for all that have submitted photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please keep sending your photos with a short story. We may use them later on, perhaps during the playoffs where we count down the wins to a World Championship!
updated at 10:11 PM Posted by Mister Pickles
Monday, September 15, 2008
Cubs win with another starting pitching gem by Lilly! 1H, 1BB, 9Ks in 7IP to go 15-9. Outstanding outing. He had a no-no through 6, so for a while it seemed as though the improbable might actually happen. But I'll take 15 innings in a row of no-hit ball any time. Lilly's curve ball was especially devastating today.
A few other things to note from today's game:
1. The Cubs have that look again in their eyes that says "we own this thing and destiny is in our hands." You don't see it very often (and certainly not on the Cubs), but when you do it's great to see.
2. Lee may finally be breaking out of his power slump with a HR today.
3. Jimmy Edmonds continues to amaze me and defy all St. Louis and San Diego fans. He hit a nice HR today and made a great diving catching in CF today to keep the no hitter alive in the 6th for Lilly.
4. Soto shows once again why he's going to be a lock for RoY. Another great game with a BOMB HR following him calling a no-hitter last night.
5. I wonder if Ramirez hadn't made that error to start the 7th if Lilly would have held the no-hit bid together. I know Lilly is a professional and would never blame such a thing on somebody else, but that HAD to break his concentration.
6. It was also nice to see Howry get a slop inning of work in without getting destroyed with his one good pitch. It would be nice to have him for the playoffs especially with Gaudin going down, possibly for the season for "falling into a dumpster". No, I'm not making that last part up...check out the details here.
Now, back to the real Wrigley tomorrow, not to be confused with Wrigley North where with Dempster, Marquis & Harden scheduled to start against Sabathia, Sheets & Parra, you would hope we can take 2 out of 3. If that were to happen, the magic # would then be 2 and then let the coasting begin....
Also of note, it's the last Cubs home stand of the year before October. So, if you don't have tickets, you may want to look into tracking some down as it may be your last chance to watch them in person (unless you're one of the lucky few to track down playoff tickets).
updated at 3:58 PM Posted by Sean Gill
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Quick update: Watch and listen to the bottom of the 9th here
What can you say about the game tonight? I will try to a few simple things:
1. It dawned on me as I watched with my wife that in ALL the baseball games I've watched or listened to in my life, in person or not, I have NEVER seen a no-no. It then dawned on me that it's because I'm a Cubs fan and the Cubs haven't tossed a no hitter since Milt Pappas threw one 36 years ago vs. SD. Of course, that was six years before I was born.
2. The age of modern communication enabled me to make sure that all my close Cubs-fan-friends (and a few non-Cubs-fans-friends, but true baseball fans that would always appreciate a no-no) knew what was going on via text messages from my cell by the 8th inning. Of course, I still had to actually call my Dad because he doesn't have a cell. (He also doesn't have cable, but thankfully tonight's game was on WGN so he could still watch it). What did people do before cell phones to alert others to put a potential no-no on TV? I can only wonder...
3. If your friend tells you the night before that you should both go to the hastily scheduled Cubs game in Milwaukee the following night....you should listen and go! So to Mister Pickles: I apologize now and forever, in writing, on YOUR blog, for not heeding your call last night and driving up to Milwaukee tonight. What a score card that would have been to have....
4. A rookie catcher called a no-hitter. I haven't done any research on this, but I'm going to say it hasn't happened very often. I will go out on a limb and say that a catcher should get about 33% of the credit for a no-hitter (and for any pitcher's performance, good or bad). So, mad props to Geo.
5. This will make for an interesting trivia question in years to come: On September 14, 2008 Carlos Zambrano and the Cubs no hit the Astros. Where was the game played?
Now as for the actual game, I knew it was going to be a good night when Milwaukee had already dropped their 1st game in a DH vs. Philly and Soriano led of the game with a BOMB HR. (Did you see that Cub fan drop the ball off the upper deck and then jump up and down?? Yes, random Cub fan who had the perfect play on the ball with no one around, you should have caught that!)
Then there was Z hitting 98-99mph on the radar gun. Rumor has it that the radar gun was malfunctioning, but who cares. Z believed it (he mentioned it in his post game interview) and it gave him enough confidence to let loose on the mound. Plus Z only had 1 BB and 1HBP to go along with 10ks. Not only was he dominant, but he made hitters look silly. If you didn't watch the whole game, I hope you saw the montage of 3rd strike calls after the game and saw how filthy he was. It was like watching Marmol when he's locked in, except it was over 9 innings.
Finally, the ultimate icing on the cake...ESPN cut away from the White Sox - Tigers game at US Crappier Field to show the bottom of the 9th in Milwaukee. I'm sure there were more than a few Sox fans out there outraged to have their coverage taken away...and for a Cubs game! Any outraged Sox fans in my book = a good night.
The magic # is 7 and the Cubs have a 7.5 game lead over the faltering Brewers with only 15 games left. So again, per my earlier post, the Cubs WILL make the playoffs. And they will do so with already having had their losing streak and bad play out of the way, and hopefully while being able to coast the last week of the season (presuming they can still count on best record in the NL to ensure home field through the NLCs. According to the standings looks good).
Enjoy this September Cubs fans, because the real season starts in October. This no hitter is just some real nice icing on the cake that I'm elated to have. I hope you are as well.
updated at 9:57 PM Posted by Sean Gill
Phillies sweep the Brewers in a 4 game series. Now, that may be helping the Cubs move their clinch date sooner for the NL Central, but that means the Cubs may be seeing the Phillies in the NLDS. I would rather have the Brewers in and a colder team in the DS...
Not much to write on this. I'm watching the Cubs in Milwaukee beating up on the Astros. (weird)
Mark, the editor of http://www.thetailgater.com/, at a Cubs game @ Shae Stadium with his son.
He wrote, "This is a magical season, but they are scaring the daylights out of me with this last slide".
Well, Mark, the slide is over. Time to march into the post season!
Thanks for the email to email@example.com, Mark! Too bad we can't tailgate before Cubs games.
updated at 9:02 PM Posted by Mister Pickles
Two more drops possible today as the Cubs resume play and the Phillies get another shot at the Brewers and the Wild Card.
Zambrano is on the mound tonight after missing just one start. Let's see how much this tendinitis has affected him. I hope he mans up and brings the win up in Milwaukee. All those that are going to the game tonight, have fun! I'm jealous.
It's Tattoo weekend. From some random dude:
"This is my tattoo I got this year. Obviously Eamus Catuli-Go Cubs
It has a hidden meaning also-
The A is blue (hard to see in the picture but it really is) and the C is red, Anno Catuli-Year of the Cub"
Cubs tattoos are awesome!
Send your Cubs photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. We may post it in a future number drop.
updated at 3:00 PM Posted by Mister Pickles
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Cubs @ Astros Sunday in Miller Park (Millwaukee) 7:05pm
Cubs @ Astros Monday in Miller Park (Millwaukee) 1:05pm
Final game of series only played if necessary for playoff implications.
BREWERS LOSE!Status of the Cubs vs Astros series is up in the air, still. MLB is not making a decision. We know for sure, Cubs @ home on Tuesday. Before that, who knows...
Two-year-old Tyler from Santa Cruz, CA is sporting his Cubs colors. He's hoping for a magical October
This photo was sent to email@example.com. Send us yours and we may post it.
updated at 6:00 PM Posted by Mister Pickles
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Mark from Lindenhurst recently got an Ivy tatoo. He hopes to top it off this year with a "2008 World Champions" banner. We hope so too, Mark! Go Cubs! Oh, and the numbers are not the distance but significant numbers for Mark. He knows there's no 530 mark...
updated at 10:21 PM Posted by Mister Pickles
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Melissa from Charlotte, NC asks the ultimate question that everyone's dying to have answered while at a Braves/Cubs game in Atlanta
updated at 10:03 PM Posted by Mister Pickles
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Good Morning Everyone!
updated at 6:37 AM Posted by IluvMaddon
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Well then. I was ready to post the Cubs win, but nope. KW didn't finish and Cedeno should be demoted.
At least the Brewers are still on their slide too. The Magic Number drops. Thank you San Diego.
What a beautiful day in Chicagoland. I'm enjoying a pint outside at Tommy Nevins Pub in Evanston. Hope you're getting out too on a perfect late summer afternoon.
Go Cubs! We'll win again soon...
updated at 3:34 PM Posted by Mister Pickles
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Praise be to the baseball gods!!! The Cubs have won, and have ended that horrible 6-game losing streak.
updated at 9:29 PM Posted by IluvMaddon
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
MAGIC NUMBER DROPS TO THE TEENS
Another drop due to the Brewers dropping to the Mets. It's coming at a good time due to our sudden slump. Hopefully tonight, the Cubs will salvage one game in the series to avoid the sweep...
And let's hope that Big Z is OK.
Brewers host the Padres for a 4 game set beginning tomorrow.
updated at 4:00 PM Posted by Mister Pickles
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Number drops today! Number drops today!
Mets pull it off in 10 against the Brewers.
Cubs are still tied up as of this post in what at times has been extremely unpleasant and extremely exciting. We stand at the edge of the teens.
So, stay tuned... Or not... We wait another day.
updated at 10:29 PM Posted by Mister Pickles
How The Number Works
The Magic Number is affected by one of two events, a Cubs win or the best opponent losing. The number is 163 at the beginning of the season. When the number hits 0, the Cubs have clinched the NL Central and are in the PLAYOFFS!
This site represents the Magic Number for clinching the National League Central Division . If the Wild Card becomes relevant for getting into the post season, this site may contain both. In that case, the Wild Card number will clearly be denote.
Shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with comments and suggestions. Also, drop a Cubs theme'd photo with a story. It may be posted during future number updates.