So. We meet again, Rich Hill.
When we last saw you, you had what Umbra once described as that “I saw terrible things in the war” look on your face. That was back in 2008, before you kicked around the league for damn near a decade. Before Mike Quade, before Dale Sveum, before the Ricketts and Theo and Jed. Before these Cubs.
To be honest, I ever expected to see you again. In fact, when your name started popping up in Boston, I didn’t believe they were talking about YOU until I saw photographic proof. And yet. Here we are.
You’ve played for nine teams since last we met. NINE TEAMS. I give you credit for hanging in there, that’s for sure. Best of luck tonight, Rich. Here’s to seeing that haunted look in your eyes one last time.
Good news, kids! My laptop is out of the shop, which makes writing headlines & game threads MUCH easier. Alas, I’m headed up to Wrigley at the moment, so I’m still stuck writing this one on my Note 7, which has yet to blow up (knocks on wood). So apologies for the inevitable typos.
Before the game, I’ll be at Nisei Lounge at Clark & Sheffield, doing the time-honored ‘good luck’ shot of Jeppson’s Malort. No, I’ve never tried it. Yes, I know it’s going to be bad. That’s how dedicated to the cause I am.
Tonight we get Clayton Kershaw (blech) and Kyle Hendricks. Cubs didn’t face Kershaw this season, but split two games with him in 2015, beating him at Wrigley. Both Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo homered off Kershaw that year.
I’m not sure how much I’ll tweet / post tonight, as good knows I don’t want to be one of those women who winds up on TV getting made fun of for texting when I’m actually tweeting about what’s going on in the game. But I’ll do my best.
First pitch at 8 pm CT. Lineup to come.
So last night was long, tense, frustrating, sleepy, and long. I did my best to stay awake, but conked out for good sometime around 1am, squinted at the tv, and passed out again. Today, I am extremely tired, but one thing I’m not is worried or upset.
Look, Joe Maddon has won 200 games in the last two seasons playing the matchups. And it almost ALWAYS works. It’s unfortunate that one of the rare occasions that the whole thing blows up happened in the post-season, but what are you going to do? It was a terrific game wherein a bunch of weird things happened. Dry your tears, take a nap, and let’s go again tonight.
One thing that DOES have me concerned, however, is Anthony Rizzo. More to the point, I’m worried about his bat. This postseason, he’s a big, fat 0-for. As in 0 hits, runs, walks, etc. The guy hasn’t been on base (that I can remember). This, my friends, is a problem. Because if they can’t get Rizzo going, the Cubs lose a big cog in their offensive production machine. So let’s all take a moment to pray, visualize, throw a penny in the fountain, bury a statue of St. Anthony upside down in the yard (seriously, my dad’s family used to do this), rain dance, or do whatever is it you do to ask the baseball gods to have mercy on Anthony’s soul. And bat.
I was sort of hoping Joe would bring John Lackey on in relief last night, mostly because I love the idea of a really pissed-off Lackey, mad that he’s being used as a reliever, scaring the bajeezus out of hitters. And, if it works, no one pitches again until Saturday. But no matter, Lackey is pitching tonight. And, make no mistake, games like tonight are exactly the reason Lackey is on this team. He was acquired to pitch in the post-season and pitch in the post-season season he shall. He’ll face Matt Moore, who had a 13-12 record on the season with a 4.08 ERA , and is, inexplicably, one of 27 players on the Giants who bear a striking resemblance to Jaromir Jagr.
Tonight’s game is on FS1 again, for reasons still unclear to me, and it’s entirely possible that one more ill-timed in-game interview precipitates me tossing the TV out the window. Because DEAR GOD is there a lot going on during these FOX broadcasts. It’s like they’re not sure what they’re supposed to do, so they decided to do EVERYTHING. Reminder that Pat and Ron, as always, will be on 670 The Score with the hometown call.
First pitch at 7:30 pm CT. Pass the time until then by drinking in these delicious, delicious Cardinals fans tears.
Dexter Fowler, CF
Kris Bryant, 3B
Anthony Rizzo, 1B
Ben Zobrist, LF
Addison Russell, SS
Jason Heyward, RF
Javier Baez, 2B
David Ross, C
John Lackey, P
(sings the theme from “Welcome Back, Kotter,” realizes she only knows one line).
Well, it’s been a while.
For those of you who are new to A League of Her Own (or LOHO, as we lovingly call her), let me try to explain. Waaaay back in 2006, blogs were all the rage, Twitter hadn’t yet been invented, and I was wearing on onion on my belt, as was the fashion at the time. SB Nation had just launched with six baseball blogs, and we were all hanging out over at the Cubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue.
Only we were constantly getting in trouble for something. Talking about things other than baseball. Our potty mouths. Hi-jacking threads to quote The Simpsons for 75 comments. And so, after a huge blow up with other readers of BCB, we took our ball and came here, to LOHO.
Remember, Twitter wasn’t around yet and Facebook was in its infancy. So this is where we hung out for games. And, as we had no access to the Cubs other than what came through our TVs, radios, and newspapers (paper copies!) we had to make our own fun. We had wacky nicknames for all the players. We had a slew of rally animals (rallymals) that we posted for good luck. We had game threads that went hundreds and hundreds of comments. We made our own fun. Ah, those were the halcyon days of sports blogging. I don’t think Crane will ever forgive me.
Eventually, life got busier. I changed careers. We all grew up, got real jobs, had kids. More demands were made on our time. Twitter siphoned off from the game threads. After 7 years of blogging day in, day out, it began to be more of a job than a hobby. Eventually, I got offered a real job in sports. That was the end of LOHO.
Many of us stayed in touch. Some of us still talk regularly on Twitter. I was overjoyed to re-connect with Oz this year via LinkedIn. Carl and Mark continue to loom large in my life. These days, I work for the Cubs’ flagship station, and I no longer need a blog to connect me, daily, to the team.
But as the Cubs get ready to make an historic playoff push, there is no one I’d rather experience it with than my old pals from LOHO. We lived through Ted Lilly slamming his glove on the mound, Jason Marquis being attacked by a flock of seagulls (not the band), and what we only refer to as “the unfortunate Neifi Perez incident.” Whatever happens this postseason, I want to experience it with you guys.
So for as long as the Cubs are alive in the postseason, LOHO will operate like it used to. We’re still going to post morning headlines and game threads, by design. We’re not going to try to modernize the blog, as we look at LOHO as a time capsule of a really great time in our lives, and we want it to continue to exist as it always was. We hope, for a little while at least, you’ll join us.