Just a couple of tasty items today:
- One of my favorite BBQ places in Chicago, Smoke Daddy, will be opening at Hotel Zachary, which is currently under construction next to Wrigley Field. Next season's chow options will be that much better, not to mention excellent ribs a 20-minute walk from home.
- Republican US Senator Mark Kirk sparred with his Democratic opponent, US Representative Tammy Duckworth, at the Chicago Tribune's editorial board endorsement session yesterday.
That's it for now. Back to optimizing software.
Today is the last day of the Cubs' regular season, and what a season it's been. Regardless of the outcome of today's game the Cubs will have lost fewer than 60 games for the first time since 1945—the last time the Cubs went to the World Series.
They've also won over 100 games, and will finish with either 102 or 103 wins, the most since 1910. (The last time they won 100 games was in 1935.) Keep in mind, just four years ago they lost 101 games.
And then on Thursday, this happened:
As the Pirates and Cubs discovered Thursday night, there is tying in baseball. Their series finale at PNC Park was suspended and declared a 1-1 tie after being delayed by rain in the top of the sixth inning.
The tie game, the Majors' first since 2005, will not be reflected in either club's record. Major League Baseball deemed the suspended game to be a tie because it won't be completed before the end of the regular season on Sunday and won't affect either team in the standings.
he Pirates' last tie was Aug. 24, 1998, a 5-5 game against the Cardinals at Three Rivers Stadium.
The Cubs last played a tie game on May 28, 1993, a 2-2 decision against the Expos at Wrigley Field. They will finish their season with three games against the Reds in Cincinnati before opening the NLDS at Wrigley Field on Oct. 7.
What a weird season. And the Cubs' playoff run starts next Friday, against whoever wins the Wild Card tie-breaker on October 5th (San Francisco, St. Louis, or the Mets).
I took a personal day yesterday to get my teeth cleaned (still no cavities, ever!) and to fork over a ton of cash to Parker's vet (five shots, three routine tests, heartworm pills, one biopsy, $843.49). That and other distractions made it a full personal day.
So as I start another work day with the half-day of stuff I planned to do yesterday right in front of me, I'm queuing up some articles again:
OK, my day is officially begun. To the mines!
Rolling Stone describes how Wrigleyville became Douchebag Central:
Chicagoans have strong feelings about Wrigleyville. While a local might have more nuanced thoughts on neighborhoods like Logan Square (gentrified, filled with hipsters, great places to eat) or Wicker Park (gentrified, filled with yuppies, great places to eat), say you're going to hang out near Wrigley Field, and you'll probably get a blank stare. You really go out of your way to visit there for two reasons: Cubs games and shows at the Metro, the area's long-running venue that has played host to everybody from Metallica in 1983 to Nirvana in 1989 and nearly every important Chicago band or artist from Ministry at the dawn of the city's burgeoning industrial music scene to Chance the Rapper in 2016. Joe Shanahan, who opened the venue in 1982, remembers a time when he needed to be escorted by security to his car after a late-night. Not so much because of the fans, but because it was a neighborhood in a big city in the 1980s. "It was scary," he says of his early days turning the former Swedish Community Center built in 1927. "But it was inexpensive."
But things change.
You know the story: people living on the fringe make the area seem attractive to people with money, the people with money move in and, soon to follow are the bars with 20 televisions all showing sports. Wrigleyville, already a strange neighborhood because of its cozy little ballpark and the cursed team that plays there, somehow seemed like a decent fit for a bunch of outcasts. It was normal to end up at the McDonald's across the street from the ballpark and see kids from whatever show let out ordering Big Macs alongside sloshed baseball fans. It was awkward, but both groups were strange in their own way: kids with the funky hairstyles and clothes, and the baseball fans that would cheer for a team that they know will only disappoint.
I'm not sure it's the most insightful view of how Wrigleyville has changed, but it's somewhat accurate.
A 12-2 win over the Pirates got the Cubs to their 100th win of the season. This is the first season they've hit 100 since 1935. Even in their pennant-winning 1945 season they only won 98. Could they make history this year? I'm starting to feel more hopeful.
As of yesterday's final home game, the Cubs have won 99 games and lost 56—the best record in baseball this year—including 57 games at Wrigley, which tied the team record set in 1933 and 1935.
There are six games left in the season, so the Cubs won't pass 107 games (last reached in 1907) or their team-record 116 wins (set in 1906). But who cares? The only record that most of us Cubs fans want to see broken is the one for most World Series won in a season, which currently stands at 1 (last set in 1908).
The first playoff game is Friday October 7th at Wrigley, against whoever wins the NL Wild Card.
Four days after clinching the National League Central, the Cubs are still the only team in baseball to have gotten to the division championship, and the only team to have won 90+ games, and the only team to have lost fewer than 60. Hey, it could happen this year.
Of course, the sign on Sheffield still says AC0071108, meaning it's been 108 years since they last won the World Series and 71 since they last won a pennant.
The Cardinals just lost 6-2 to the Giants, eliminating them from the division championship and giving the Cubs their first win since 2008. The game tonight was exciting from beginning to end, starting with some excellent fielding in the top of the 1st and ending with a 5-4 loss to Milwaukee. Tant pis. No fireworks.
The important thing, though, is that the Cubs get to play in October. And they still have the best record in baseball at 93-53.
I'm going to my last Cubs game of the season tonight, and it could be historic. If the Cubs win against the Brewers, or if St. Louis loses their game, then the Cubs will be going to the post-season.
Even without clinching the division tonight, they're still the top team in baseball right now with 93 wins and 52 losses.
Last night's Sox game was more fun than I think I could have there. First, the Sox got 7 runs in the 6th, which kept me in my seat until the game anded. Second, the Sox set the Guinness World Record for most dogs at a sporting event, with 1,122 in attendance:
The Sox needed a minimum of 1,000 dogs in attendance for the record, and the dogs had to remain in their outfield seats for a period of 10 minutes, starting at the top of the third inning, in order for the record to count.
A clock in the outfield counted down the 10 minutes during the third inning, and the Sox announced the record was achieved in the middle of the sixth inning.
“They were a little noisy but it’s kind of fun,” Sox outfielder Adam Eaton said. “It brings a different atmosphere to the ballpark. I think that’s one of the beauties of The Cell, really nothing is off limits.”
Third, the weather was pretty good:
The Cubs, meanwhile, lost to St. Louis last night, keeping their Magic Number at 3 and bringing the Cardinals to half a game behind the Giants for the NL Wild Card. The Cubs play the Cardinals again this afternoon, and I'll be at Wrigley tomorrow night when they beat the Brewers to clinch the division title. I hope.