Cubs

On Demand: Cubs-Indians World Series a huge draw for fans, media and celebrities alike

On Demand: Cubs-Indians World Series a huge draw for fans, media and celebrities alike

There are thousands of ways fans can consume video, pictures and text about the 2016 World Series.

Literally.

According to MLB Communications, over 2,100 media have been credentialed to report on the sights, sounds and emotions of this year's Fall Classic between the Cubs and Indians.

"We have people here from about 15 different countries," MLB Vice President of Communications John Blundell said. "We have a lot of media from Latin America and Asia. We have some from the U.K. and some from as far as Australia to cover this series."

Over 42,000 fans per game this weekend at Wrigley Field will comprise a bulk of those sights, sounds and other intangibles. And that number will include scores of celebrities, from Friday's Seventh Inning Stretch singer Bill Murray to the likes of Eddie Vedder, Billy Corgan and various television personalities.

[SHOP: Buy a "Try Not to Suck" shirt with proceeds benefiting Joe Maddon's Respect 90 Foundation & other Cubs Charities]

Blundell's office has helped facilitate several requests from celebrities as well, including a bizarre one from talk show host Jimmy Kimmel. The late night celebrity surprised Cubs fan Ryan Slagle with tickets after a video surfaced of Slagle shedding tears of joy in the waning moments of Game Six of the NLCS.

"His show called us and we secured the tickets so he could take care of that fan, which was a very nice gesture. A lot of {fans and celebrities} want to be here to be a part of history. It's exciting to be around everything."

[RELATED: Paul Pabst takes a hilarious stroll around Wrigleyville before Cubs host World Series]

Although seats at Wrigley Field (or Cleveland's Progressive Field) may be the 'best seats in the house,' fans are seemingly doing just fine watching the games from the comforts of a quiet living room or a noisy bar. World Series ratings are currently the highest they've been nationally since the Yankees-Phillies series in 2009. Those numbers are sure to climb as a clinch nears.

Cubs Talk Podcast: Cubs split Crosstown and Adbert Alzolay is called up

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Cubs split Crosstown and Adbert Alzolay is called up

Kelly Crull and Tony Andracki check in from Wrigley Field after the Cubs split the first leg of the Crosstown Classic with the White Sox.

Kelly and Tony discuss the breaking news of top pitching prospect Adbert Alzolay's promotion to the big leagues and what his role could be with the Cubs (2:15), and assess where the Cubs stand as they continue their long homestand, including the recent offensive downturn and Yu Darvish taking a step forward (7:30).

Cubs Talk Podcast

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Joe Maddon perplexed by the way baseballs are jumping this year: 'It's extraterrestrial'

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USA TODAY

Joe Maddon perplexed by the way baseballs are jumping this year: 'It's extraterrestrial'

On a mid-June night that felt more like the first week of April, the Cubs and White Sox combined for 2,029 feet of homers. 

As Leury Garcia hit Jon Lester's first pitch of the game 429 feet Wednesday evening, the reported temperature was in the mid 50s with winds blowing in from left field at 7 mph. That's not as chilly or windy as some of the games the Cubs have played this season, but it's still certainly not ideal hitting conditions at Wrigley Field.

Yet five home runs peppered the left and center field bleachers in the Cubs' 7-3 victory and prompted veteran manager Joe Maddon to bemuse about the way the ball is jumping around baseball today.

"Difficult conditions, but again — wind blowing in at a gale, it seemed, balls flying out easily," Maddon said after the game. "The home run that [James] McCann hit, my god, that just took off. You could actually see it from the field. You watch the flags [blowing in], it gets there, then all of a sudden it took off like a UFO. It stood still, then it took off. The first home run of the game, the first pitch, I mean my god, that ball went far. 

"I don't know what I'm witnessing. The way the ball is coming off the bat right now, it's extraterrestrial. It's like an ET kind of a thing going on out there. It's crazy. This is my fifth year here and I know what I've seen. Whenever the wind is blowing in like that, you don't see that. You don't see that."

Lester worked around those two homers from Garcia and McCann to pick up his 6th win, thanks in large part to the power supplied from his own teammates. Catcher Willson Contreras mashed his 14th and 15th homers of the season (after hitting only 10 all of last year) and David Bote smashed his 9th. 

Overall this season, the Cubs have been on an insane home run barrage, on pace to blow past the franchise mark for longballs in a year. Contreras reaching the 15-homer plateau puts five Cubs in that club this season. No other MLB team has more than three players who have reached that mark.

"I just know the ball's leaving," Maddon said. "I don't know if it's another year of maturity, but it's not just us. It's industry-wide. So it's hard to just say that we're the outlier with all this going on. I still want to see the better approach with runners in scoring position." 

Six weeks ago, Lester brought up the juiced baseball discussion after a start against the Marlins, saying he and other pitchers would like to know if MLB is juicing the baseballs. The league hasn't openly stated anything is different with the baseballs, though home runs are up at an astronomical rate across the board — in both the majors and Triple-A. And we haven't even gotten into the summer weather yet, when the ball really starts flying on warm evenings.

When asked for his thoughts on the baseballs Wednesday night, Lester shrugged it off.

"No comment," he said. "We can sit here and talk until we're blue in the face about the ball. It is what it is. Every pitcher in the big leagues has to pitch with it. You can comment on it all you want, but it just sounds like an excuse. I don't make excuses. Gotta make better pitches."