Chicago Cubs

2010 World Series: Rated MB for Mind-Boggling

2010 World Series: Rated MB for Mind-Boggling

Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010
3:18 PM
By Joe Collins
CSNChicago.com

Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants, as they ended decades of misery by winning the World Series last night over the Texas Rangers. Their win was the first by the franchise since 1954, when the team was based in New York. Im guessing you noticed this. Maybe? Maybe not?

I like to think that the newsroom chatter at Comcast SportsNet Chicago serves as a fairly accurate gauge when it comes to interest and excitement levels in regards to local and national sports. Here is a sampling of what was said around the water cooler and copy machines Monday and Tuesday:

Can you believe Brett Favre? What a goof!How about that Bulls comeback the other night!?! And did you see what Luol Deng did against Portland?Randy Moss got dumped by the Vikings? My fantasy team is wrecked! Again!The Hawks are going to go on a big winning streak soon.The Tampa Bay Bucs are 5-2? And tied for first? And the Raiders beat the Seahawks 33-3? This year is crazy!

But one comment seemed to resonate louder and clearer above all the others. And its one thats been part of a common theme in the hallways and around the cubicles over the last few weeks or so:

I think I watched about five pitches of the World Series this year.

And you probably havent spent much time watching it either.

Is it just me or has the World Series fallen to insurance seminar-excitement levels? Maybe its because Chicago didnt have a team playing on the biggest stage this year. Or that the two teams duking it out were west of the Mississippi and had less than stellar playoff histories. Or because the two teams dont have Yankees, Red Sox or Phillies attached.

Or maybe its something greater.

To me, the world of sports is like a typical high school dance. Its pretty clear that the cool kids represent the NFL. They dance better, show off more and, naturally, draw more attention. Theyre the popular ones. College basketball, college football, hockey and the NBA represent the middle class: Likable and loyal. And then you have soccer and UFL representing the kids that are considered strange by some, wildly popular by others and simply intriguing by many. And then you have baseballthe kids who used to dominate the hallways and are now just looking up at the bigger, stronger popular kids in football jerseys.

I cannot remember a time where, aside from the onlookers in Dallas and the Bay Area and a few others across the country, that sports fans have cared so little about the game of baseball. The numbers back up a disturbing trend. Take a look at these mind-boggling statistics:

Locally, Mondays World Series clincher was a virtual dead-heat ratings-wise with the regular season Monday Night Football gameColts vs. Texans. Both games peaked at around an 11 (ratings point language). Nationally, although the World Series beat MNF 10.6 to 8.6, the game five rating was down 17 from last years Yankees-Phillies game 5.

On Sunday night, game 4 of the World Series and Sunday Night Footballs Steelers-Saints game went head to head. The World Series game drew a 10.4 rating nationally (which means 10.4 percent of TV households). Steelers-Saints drew an 11.8. The numbers were even more spaced out in the Chicago market. Baseball racked up a 7.26 rating. Football trumped it, scoring a 10.48. At one point (8:45pm quarter hour), football owned a 13.04-6.82 advantage.

Saturdays World Series Game 3 drew a 6.7 national rating, the second lowest rating ever for a World Series contest (game 3 of the 08 World Series, a late-starting, rain-soaked contest between the Phillies and Rays scored the lowest).

What do you think? Have the fantasy footballs and survivor pools of the world eliminated your craving for championship baseball? Is a 3 hour, 15 minute regular season football game just more intriguing than a playoff baseball game of the same length? Is baseball just too slow and boring? Do we not have the patience to sit through, not only a nine-inning game, but a fivesixor even seven-game series? Have you ever thought the day would come where a regular season football game would draw the same or more viewers than a World Series game? Twice?

The scary part of this World Series is that they had the perfect storyline in place: the Giants hadnt claimed a World Series title since 1954. The Rangers havent won anything period. One franchise was going to break through! And they couldnt sell this? Can you imagine if the Pirates and Royals were to shock everyone and get to the World Series? What would happen then?

I think the gap between baseball and football is only going to get bigger. Theyve been the popular kids at the dance for quite some time now. And the baseball kids are looking at their shoes by the punch bowl when a slow song comes on. If only they could get a hot one to come along and ask for a dance.

Or something like that.

The Streak ends as Cubs watch Wade Davis finally blow a save: ‘It’s definitely on me’

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USA TODAY

The Streak ends as Cubs watch Wade Davis finally blow a save: ‘It’s definitely on me’

MILWAUKEE – The efficient, emotionless way Wade Davis did his job helped the Cubs stay afloat during the disappointing first half of this season, a time when late-inning losses could have really damaged the clubhouse and the defending World Series champs might have collapsed.  

Standing at his locker, Davis had the same stone-faced expression on his bearded face after Saturday afternoon’s 4-3 walk-off loss, the third straight 10-inning game the Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers have played at Miller Park. Because Davis had been 32-for-32 in save chances this year, the Cubs could appreciate all the heart-pounding action and how this compared to October.  

“We 100 percent won that game today, it seemed like,” Davis said in his monotone voice. “The offense and everything was incredible, coming back twice. It’s definitely on me.”

It was jarring to watch Travis Shaw drive a hanging curveball over the fence in left-center field and into the Milwaukee bullpen. Teammates waited for Shaw at home plate with Gatorade buckets after that game-winning two-run homer, showering him and tearing his jersey apart amid the mosh pit, the Brewers still clinging to their hopes in the National League wild-card race.

The perfect season already ended for Davis in the ninth inning, when Orlando Arcia hammered a misplaced 92-mph fastball that stayed just inside the left-field foul pole and landed in the second deck.

The crowd of 44,067 watched Davis blow his first save since Sept. 2, 2016, which also happened to be his first game back in the Kansas City Royals bullpen after spending more than a month on the disabled list with a flexor strain in his right elbow.

“There’s nothing to lament right there,” manager Joe Maddon said. “Another intensely good baseball game. And they got us at the end. But there’s no way, shape or form to point a finger at Wade.”

Davis wasn’t pointing a finger at Maddon and doing an Aroldis Chapman impression, but the All-Star closer did admit: “My arm was dragging a little bit.”

The Cubs had used Davis five times within the last eight days, including a back-to-back-to-back last weekend against the St. Louis Cardinals and then asking him to get five outs in Thursday night’s 10-inning comeback win over Milwaukee. Until Saturday’s comeback, the Brewers had been 0-54 when trailing after eight innings.  

“I just made a lot of bad pitches,” Davis said, who had converted his last 38 save chances and set a new franchise record to begin his Cubs career/set him up for a big contract this winter as a free agent.

Maddon, who will face another round of bullpen-management questions when the playoffs begin, had Hector Rondon warming up in the 10th inning, but the right-hander threw a scoreless inning on Friday night, his first appearance since Sept. 8 after getting treated for a sore elbow.

“If we did not score when we scored, I would have brought Rondon into the game,” Maddon said. “But once we scored, I put him back out there. It was a pretty easy equation.

“He’s your best guy. There’s no second-guessing whatsoever. He was fine to go back out there.”

What did The Streak mean to you?

“Not much,” Davis said. “I obviously wanted to win today’s game and put us in a better position than we were yesterday. So it kind of stinks, but, you know, move on from it.”

That summed up the entire mood inside the visiting clubhouse, the Cubs pointing to a dominant Kyle Hendricks start (one run in six innings), Justin Wilson auditioning for a trusted role out of the playoff bullpen (four outs) and a resourceful lineup that manufactured offense without hitting home runs.  

“It’s been a hell of a series so far,” Hendricks said.

The magic number to eliminate the Brewers from the division race remains four, while the Cardinals were at five heading into their Saturday night game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cubs can’t wait to unleash Davis in October.

“There’s no difference between these three games and the games that are going to occur the next month,” Maddon said. “They were absolutely that intense.”

White Sox not exactly sure what’s up with Carlos Rodon, but he’s confident he’ll be back for 2018

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USA TODAY

White Sox not exactly sure what’s up with Carlos Rodon, but he’s confident he’ll be back for 2018

It’s been more than two weeks since Carlos Rodon was shut down for the season, one day after he was scratched from a start with shoulder inflammation.

And while we know Rodon won’t pitch again in 2017 — a season with just a little more than a week remaining for the rebuilding White Sox — the team still doesn’t know, or still isn’t ready to say, exactly what’s wrong with the former first-round draft pick.

“We’re just trying to get it right,” Rodon said before Saturday night’s game against the visiting Kansas City Royals. “Still trying to figure everything out and take everything we can and put it all together to get the most information and do what’s best for me and for this team.”

That kind of non-update might raise some red flags in the minds of White Sox fans, curious as to what is the latest ailment for a pitcher who missed three months this season while recovering from biceps bursitis.

Rodon was slated to get reevaluated shortly after that early September injury. He was, but no news came of it, at least not yet.

“Pretty similar to what our doc said,” Rodon said of that follow-up evaluation. “Like I said, we’re trying to still gather all the information and figure out what we’re going to do from there.”

Rodon ended his third season in the bigs with a 4.15 ERA in 69.1 innings of work. And while the White Sox still believe he’ll be a huge part of their starting staff moving forward, it’s plenty acceptable to wonder what kind of effects this season of injuries will have on Rodon as the franchise’s rebuild chugs along.

“He continues to be a big part of what we believe is the future of the organization,” manager Rick Renteria said after explaining several times that the team is still trying to figure out what’s wrong with Rodon. “Unfortunately, this year he's been down quite a bit. So assuming he comes back in a good situation and is healthy and is capable of going out and performing, he fits into one of the five guys that are going to be out there for us next season.”

For his part, Rodon is 100-percent confident he’ll be good to go for next year’s campaign.

“I just know that I’ll be ready for next season,” Rodon said. “The goal is to be ready for next year and be healthy through all of next season.”

That, though, will be the million-dollar question as the White Sox starting rotation of the future begins to take shape. Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez are already penciled in for 2018, and Michael Kopech’s 2017 campaign in the minors was so sensational, he could potentially pitch himself into that starting five, too. With younger names like Alec Hansen and Dane Dunning also doing work in the minors, someone’s going to be the odd man out.

Rodon still has the confidence of his organization. But will he have the health to make that confidence pay off?