Cubs

John Lackey stole a base for the first time ever and it was glorious

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USA TODAY

John Lackey stole a base for the first time ever and it was glorious

John Lackey: Speed demon?

After 15 years in the big leagues, 440 appearances and more than 2,800 innings, the 38-year-old Lackey is still setting career firsts.

After singling with two outs off Homer Bailey in the fourth inning of the Cubs' 7-6 win Wednesday night, Bailey stopped paying attention to Lackey and the veteran took off for second.

Here's the full play, with an absolutely epic and perfectly-crafted "Ricky Bobby" reference from the MLB Twitterers:

Hey, if you ain't first, you're last.

"When I got the hit, [Cubs first base coach Brandon Hyde] was like 'you wanna steal a base?' And I'm like 'heck no, I'm tired,'" Lackey said. "But then after the first pitch, nobody was really watching me and it looked like it was pretty easy, so I just went ahead and went."

Lackey later got picked off second base when he apparently forgot what he was doing and took off toward third on the full-count pitch to Ben Zobrist. Zobrist walked and Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart fired to second.

Lackey was initially called safe but a replay proved he was out.

"I made two bets — one worked, one didn't," Lackey quipped. 

Lackey's good buddy Jon Lester stole his first career base earlier in the season and the two may or may not have a wager on it.

"That's none of your business," Lackey said.

On the mound, Lackey had another opportunity to do something else he's never done before — win six straight starts. After loading the bases with no outs in the first inning, he let up only one run thanks to Kyle Schwarber gunning another guy down at the plate. 

Lackey loaded the bases again in the second inning, but got out of that jam, too and wound up tossing six innings with just the solo tally surrendered. He departed with a 6-1 lead, but the Cubs bullpen couldn't hold on, thus ending his own personal winning streak.

Before the game, Joe Maddon was talking about how Lackey may not decide to retire at the end of the year if he finishes strongly. When asked about it after the game, Lackey had his answer ready:

"I didn't say anything about retiring." he said. "Just playing baseball. Taking it one start at a time and see what happens. That'll be a family decision at the end of the year."

One start at a time? More like one stolen base at a time, right?

What Chicago sports fans should be thankful for

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What Chicago sports fans should be thankful for

Families gather and people talk about things they are thankful for on Thanksgiving, but what are Chicago sports fans happy for now?

Raised expectations on the North Side

Got to be thankful that a “disappointing” season is winning the division and losing in the NLCS. The expectations have skyrocketed, and that’s thanks to a ridiculous nucleus of bats and a steady front office. Not many clubs can say that. Also, though, it’s important to be appreciative of the Wrigley bar stretch. They may charge $8 for a Miller Lite, but it’s always a damn good party.

Javy tags, too. Don't forget Javy tags.

Rebuild sparking hope in White Sox fans

Where to begin? Obviously, be thankful for the plethora of young talent that will soon take over the South Side. Be thankful for Avi Time (while you still can). Be thankful that taking your friends or family to a game won’t cause you to take out a second mortgage. Be thankful for the 2020 World Series and, of course, 2020 MVP Eloy Jimenez. But most importantly, be thankful that Rick Hahn’s phone stays buzzing.

Eddie O back in the booth for the Blackhawks

The Blackhawks are having a rough start to the season, but at least Eddie Olczyk is back in the booth. The longtime Blackhawks broadcaster returned to the booth on Oct. 18 after missing time while undergoing chemotherapy treatments for colon cancer.

With some of the key names from the Blackhawks’ title runs either leaving or being unable to play this season (in the case of Marian Hossa), Blackhawks fans are probably thankful to see a familiar face and hear a familiar voice during games.

Lauri Markkanen leading the Bulls rebuild

OK, there’s not much to be thankful for about the current Bulls team. At 3-13, the Bulls are tied for the fewest wins in the NBA (maybe in the long-term that’s something to be thankful for as well). However, Zach LaVine’s pending debut after his eventual return from injury should help create some excitement.

The thing Bulls fans really should be thankful for this year is the play of rookie Lauri Markkanen. The 20-year-old leads the team in scoring (14.6 points per game) and rebounds (8.3 per game) while shooting at a high percentage (34.2 percent on threes and 50.6 percent on twos). It’s only the beginning of the Bulls’ rebuild, but Markkanen is a good start.

Mitchapalooza

If a few things broke the Bears’ way, Chicagoans could have been grateful that the team was finally out of the cellar. Instead, we’ll settle for the fact that there seems to be some building blocks already in place. Mitchell Trubisky, Tarik Cohen, Leonard Floyd and Akiem Hicks seem to fit that category. Also, some may be thankful that this is likely John Fox’s last season at the helm.

Fire ending a playoff drought

After finishing dead last in MLS in 2015 and 2016, the Fire were one of the most improved teams in the league in 2017. After posting the third best record in the league, the Fire made a first playoff appearance since 2012.

The playoff run didn’t last long with the Fire losing a play-in game at home, but the arrival of Bastian Schweinsteiger and the league’s leading goal-scorer, Nemanja Nikolic, helped fill the stadium with six sellouts and gave Fire fans something to cheer for.

Cubs Talk Podcast: Where do Cubs go from here with Jake Arrieta, Wade Davis?

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Cubs Talk Podcast: Where do Cubs go from here with Jake Arrieta, Wade Davis?

In the latest CubsTalk Podcast, Kelly Crull and David Kaplan look ahead to Thanksgiving and discuss the official coaching hires for the Cubs.

They also talk about where the Cubs go from here with Jake Arrieta and Wade Davis, whether Alex Cobb could factor into the rotation plans and Kap goes off on the 11:30 a.m. Opening Day start time.

Check out the entire podcast here: