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Cubs prevail with extra-inning victory

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Cubs prevail with extra-inning victory

Monday, Sept. 12, 2011
Posted: 12:10 a.m. Updated: 1:35 a.m.

Associated Press

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NEW YORK -- Jason Bay and the New York Mets missed several opportunities to provide a special ending to a moving night.It was hard to complain about the outcome, though.Carlos Pena hit a go-ahead single in Chicago's six-run 11th inning, and the Cubs beat New York 10-6 on Sunday night in a game that ended nearly five hours after the Mets held a touching ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11."It was a little bit different today. Obviously, you could tell the atmosphere was a little bit different. But I think most of us have played in emotional games or seesaw games before," Bay said. "It was actually fun because it was different. Obviously, not fun losing. We had chances but it was pretty special to be a part of."The Mets' disappointing finish came with nearly all of the 33,502 fans - several thousand first responders and their families receiving free tickets - long gone from a game that started at 8:20 p.m. There was a 24-minute pregame tribute to victims of the attacks, their families and many of the first responders that worked tirelessly at the World Trade Center site in 2001.Making just his sixth big league appearance, Josh Stinson (0-1), the Mets' seventh of nine pitchers, walked Marlon Byrd to start the 11th and gave up a single to Bryan LaHair. Pena singled for the lead.Pinch-hitter Alfonso Soriano and Darwin Barney each hit two-run doubles off Ryota Igarashi before the first out, and Geovany Soto added a sacrifice fly."You keep grinding and grinding," Pena said. "It's not easy."New York trailed 4-1 after five innings but scored twice in the sixth off Matt Garza. The Mets tied it with an unearned run when reliever Jeff Samardzjia made a bad throw on Justin Turner's infield single.The Mets loaded the bases in the first, ninth and 10th innings but came up empty each time. Ramon Ortiz (1-2) got David Wright to pop out to end the 10th before the Cubs went ahead in the 11th, eliciting mocking calls from the few remaining to bring in an experienced pitcher when Stinson gave up the go-ahead hit to Pena."As we went through the ballgame, we had the guys at home plate we wanted to have at home plate several times," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "But we didn't get it done."The mood was much different before the game. With the stadium lights dimmed and fans holding electronic candles in one hand and many using the other to take photos with their phones, the Mets held a dignified ceremony that included members of the 2001 team that played in the first professional sporting event in New York, 10 days after the World Trade center collapsed.Players from the Cubs and Mets escorted members of "Tuesday's Children," a charity for families affected by the attacks, onto the field, where they lined up among the uniformed emergency-service workers on the first- and third-base lines. A 100-by-300 foot flag was held by 225 first responders and victims' family members from "Tuesday's Children.""It was really, really well done," Collins said. "Even Mike Piazza, standing next to me, said, 'Boy, isn't this beautiful out here. What a nice tribute.' I think he's absolutely right."Marc Anthony sang the national anthem, as he did on Sept. 21, 2001. Piazza, who hit a rousing two-run homer in the eighth inning to help the Mets beat the Atlanta Braves that night, caught a ceremonial first pitch from John Franco, a teammate on the 2001 squad.There was no uplifting ending this time for New York.The Cubs scored late in each of the three games, losing the opener Friday, but winning the last two to take their first series in New York since 2006."We don't do things the easy way, that's for sure," Cubs manager Mike Quade said. "They kept playing, they kept battling."Mets players briefly considered defying Major League Baseball's policy by wearing the caps they wore pregame honoring New York City's emergency-service units during the game."What are they going to do, fine us?" catcher Josh Thole said before deciding against it.Joe Torre, MLB's executive vice president for baseball operations, told The Associated Press the decision was made to keep policy consistent throughout baseball and that "certainly, it's not a lack of respect."Between innings, the Mets played videos on the main scoreboard that paid tribute to the recovery efforts. They also thanked the 2001 squad's manager Bobby Valentine, who was not able to participate in the pregame ceremony because he was part of the ESPN broadcast team for the game.American Idol contestant Pia Toscano sang "God Bless America" during the seventh-inning stretch, standing with several uniformed first responders around Major League Baseball's red, white and blue logo that was painted on the grass in front of the Mets dugout.Mets starter Miguel Batista was with the World Series champion Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001, and made two appearances in the stirring series against the New York Yankees that inspired the city. He threw 7 2-3 shutout innings in Game 5, won by New York in the 12th inning. He also got one out in Game 7.On Sunday, though, the 40-year-old journeyman, making his third start for the Mets, struggled with his command. He walked three in five innings, hit two batters in the third and gave up four runs and five hits.Garza gave up three runs in seven runs, walking three and striking out four.Jason Pridie hit a two-run shot in the 11th.Notes:
Mets reliever Bobby Parnell said his dad, a fire chief in Salsbury, N.C., recently received a piece of steel from the World Trade Center site that will be used in a memorial. ... Quade, who was a coach with the Oakland Athletics when they played the Yankees in the 2001 playoffs, deliberately didn't visit the site on this trip. "I did not want to get angry again," he said. ... Mets LHP Johan Santana will make his third rehab start this week for Class-A Savannah in the South Atlantic League's championship series. He threw three innings in his previous start for Savannah. Collins said he should pitch four innings this time.Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Christian Yelich to Yu Darvish on Twitter, 'Nobody needs help facing you'

Christian Yelich to Yu Darvish on Twitter, 'Nobody needs help facing you'

In the wake of the cheating allegations surrounding the Houston Astros, multiple parties have weighed in with their takes on the situation, and this includes Cubs starter Yu Darvish. He stated that this past season, he had noticed "weird behavior" from batters. Bleacher Nation then tweeted out a video showing Darvish stepping off the mound in a matchup against Christian Yelich and the Milwaukee Brewers, stating that he stepped off the mound because Yelich's "eyes move first...I'm not sure what he is trying to do."

Darvish then went on to elaborate that he wasn't trying to accuse the Brewers of stealing signs, rather that he was just stating what he had noticed in terms of batter behavior. Darvish made a minor grammar mistake, saying "your" instead of "you're" and when he responded to try to clarify that, it may have accidentally caused more confusion, as some mistakenly thought he was saying that Yelich indeed was stealing signs, but this was not the case.

That didn't stop Yelich from sounding off on Darvish with quite a harsh response, a response that was so harsh that some were shocked at the nature of it.

MLB free agent Josh Donaldson chimed in, humorously stating that he could definitely  use some help hitting off of Darvish and jokingly asked for what tips Yelich might have. 

Darvish then retweeted a few tweets that illustrated the point he was trying to make. 

Darvish also responded to Donaldson, saying that he doesn't think the third baseman needs any help hitting off of him either. 

At the end of the Darvish seems to be in a good place, and from his Twitter interactions, it is clear that he was not as upset or offended over the situation as Yelich was. 

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How the Cubs can get a Javier Báez deal done now

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USA TODAY

How the Cubs can get a Javier Báez deal done now

With the MLB GM Meetings now over, the Cubs will turn their attention to seeing how their fact-finding mission will influence their offseason makeover of the entire organization.

As Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reported on Friday, the Cubs and Báez’s camp have begun negotiating a long-term contract extension. While many have speculated that Báez could command a massive salary that would rank among the top of MLB in terms of the total value, the Cubs do have some leverage. Báez still has two more years of club control, which should help to suppress the contract’s total value.

Put yourself in Báez’s shoes. If the Cubs offered you a six-year deal, would you do it? If you say yes, you have lifetime security for you and generations of the Báez family. However, you could be leaving money on the table because you would never reach free agency in the prime of your career.

Rejecting an offer of that size means you would have to perform at a level among the best players in all of baseball for two more seasons, and you would have to avoid serious injury as well. Báez plays with a flair and a passion that also puts his body in harm’s way on a daily basis.

Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts, 27, is two months older than Báez and the highest paid shortstop in baseball at $20 million per season. He signed a six-year, $120 million contract in 2019, which runs through the 2026 season.

Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor — who was selected No. 8 overall in the 2011 MLB Draft, one spot before Báez — will also be a free agent after the 2021 season. He made $10.55 million in 2019 and is projected to make $16.7 million in 2020.

Báez is projected to make $9.3 million.

So, would Báez accept a deal that would protect him against injury and set him up with lifetime security, knowing that with two more seasons before free agency he would potentially leave significant money on the table?

There could be three elite shortstops on the free agent market after the 2021 season: Báez, Lindor and Trevor Story of the Rockies. This may affect what each guy could make on the open market and what they might be willing to accept in a deal now. 

Add in the fact that there will be a new MLB collective bargaining agreement by the time those three stars hit the market, and there should be some impetus for them to get a deal done now. Multiple MLB front office sources expect Lindor to be dealt before he reaches free agency and some of those same sources believe Story could be traded before then as well.

What about a deal that helps the Cubs achieve payroll flexibility in 2020 and 2021 and locks Báez in long-term?

A former high-ranking MLB executive suggested a deal structure that pays Báez $10 million in 2020, $16 million in 2021, plus six additional years at an average annual value of $23 million. That would bring the total value of the contract to $164 million.

Add in two club options for an additional two seasons at $30 million each and it allows Báez to have the largest contract of all active shortstops in MLB. Total value of the deal: $224 million; guaranteed value of the deal: $164 million.

A deal structured like that gives the Cubs certainty with one of their most talented and marketable players and protects Báez from serious injury for the rest of his career.

Would he sign a deal structured like that? I know I would. There is no greater feeling in the world than long-term financial security. A deal structured like this is a win-win for both sides.

If the Cubs won’t give Báez a deal in this ballpark, then they have to think about moving him now. You can’t allow a player of his magnitude to reach free agency and you absolutely cannot lose him to another team. He is on a potential Hall of Fame track and he is one of the most charismatic players in all of professional sports.

This deal has to get done.

If the Cubs can sign Báez for less than the aforementioned deal, then they should consider themselves very lucky.

Either way, get a deal done. Javy Báez has to be priority No. 1.

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