Cubs

Speedpass, Yu-san, Hollywood: Cubs Players' Weekend nicknames are out

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USA TODAY

Speedpass, Yu-san, Hollywood: Cubs Players' Weekend nicknames are out

The unique nicknames and uniforms of Players' Weekend are here.

The three-day baseball festivity will take place Aug. 24-26, according to MLB.com, and players will showcase nicknames of their choice on the back of special edition jerseys for this year. The Cincinnati Reds will come to Wrigley Field for the series. 

This season, the Cubs will be sporting strikingly similar threads to the ones they wore last year. The uniforms are royal blue with lightly colored sleeves and white lettering. The numbers are a brighter shade of blue and the Cubs logo will sit on the left side of the chest.

Like last summer, the North Siders will be wearing vivid blue hats with the bear emblem embroidered on the front and a darker blue bill.

In 2017, the jersey’s design was the exact same. 

Cubs players will have the chance to write the name of someone who has influenced them in their lives on a patch stuck on the right sleeve, per MLB.com. The caps and uniforms will have a logo on them that illustrates the evolution of players from Little League to the pros.

But what is Players' Weekend and why do players choose the creative names that go on their backs?

According to MLB.com, this weekend gives players the chance to have fun, show off their personalities and pay tribute to those who have guided them to the major leagues. Players can also put on special cleats, wristbands, sleeves, and batting gloves. They can even use new catcher’s masks and bats.

Here is the complete list of Cubs player jersey nicknames:

Albert Almora Jr.: "TICO"

Anthony Bass: "FISH"

Javier Baez: "EL MAGO"

David Bote: "BOAT"

Kris Bryant: "KB"

Victor Caratini: "VIC"

Tyler Chatwood: "CHATTY"

Jesse Chavez: "DADO"

Steve Cishek: "SPEEDPASS"

Willson Contreras: "WILLY THE BEAST"

Yu Darvish: "YU-SAN"

Brian Duensing: "DEUCE"

Carl Edwards Jr.: "STRINGBEAN SLINGER"

Cole Hamels: "HOLLYWOOD"

Justin Hancock: "HERBIE"

Ian Happ: "HAPPER"

Kyle Hendricks: "HENDO"

Jason Heyward: "J-HEY"

Brandon Kintzler: "SALT"

Tommy La Stella: "LA STELLA"

Jon Lester: "LEFTHANDER"

Brandon Morrow: "B MO"

Mike Montgomery: "MONTY"

Jose Quintana: "LELO"

Anthony Rizzo: "TONY"

Randy Rosario: "PELO FINO"

Addison Russell: "ADDY"

Kyle Schwarber: "SCHWARBS"

Drew Smyly: "SMILES"

Pedro Strop: "STROPY"

Justin Wilson: "J WILLY"

Ben Zobrist: "ZORILLA"

Cubs lead Bears, Bulls on Forbes' Most Valuable Sports Teams 2019 list

Cubs lead Bears, Bulls on Forbes' Most Valuable Sports Teams 2019 list

The Chicago Cubs tied the Washington Redskins for 14th on Forbes' Most Valuable Sports Teams 2019 list with a $3.1 billion valuation. The Cubs' valuation grew by 7% year over year.

The Cubs are the fourth-most valuable franchise in MLB behind the Yankees ($4.1B), the Dodgers ($3.3B) and the Red Sox ($3.2B). Only seven MLB teams made the Top 50.

Two other Chicago teams, the Bears and the Bulls, are tied for 19th on the list with a value of $2.9 billion. The Bears' value grew just 2% while the Bulls' valuation grew by 12% year over year.

The rise of the pro sports teams valued over $2 billion has been pretty meteoric over the past decade. In 2012, only Manchester United was valued over $2 billion and in 2019 that number has risen to 52.

In 2012, only the Knicks and Lakers made the Top 50 list but in 2019 the Bulls are one of nine teams to earn a spot. The Bulls were the fourth-most valuable NBA franchise in 2019 behind the Knicks ($4B), Lakers ($3.7B) and Warriors ($3.5B).

Forbes credits the NBA's international prospects and worldwide revenue growth for the league's rise in the list.

No NHL teams made the list, the New York Rangers were the most-valued hockey team at $1.55 billion, 72nd highest.

Road struggles continue for Cubs in late-game implosion against Giants

Road struggles continue for Cubs in late-game implosion against Giants

It’s no secret that the Cubs have had their fair share of struggles on the road this season. Entering Monday’s game the Giants – the first of a nine-game road trip -- the Cubs held an 18-27 road record, 21st in all of baseball.

Things took a turn for the worse in that department on Monday night.

Clinging to a 4-2 lead in the eighth inning, the Cubs called upon reliever Pedro Strop to shut down the Giants 3-4-5 hitters. Strop, who entered action with a 4.62 ERA in 29 appearances (5.40 in July), surrendered three runs on four hits – including three doubles. The end result was the Giants taking a 5-4 lead, ultimately the game’s final score.

While Strop’s outing will get the most face time due to it occurring in a high-leverage spot, the truth of the matter is that the Cubs struggled for much of Monday’s game. After taking an early 3-0 lead, they couldn’t pull away from the Giants, watching San Francisco slowly close the gap and cut the deficit to 3-2 in the fifth inning.

The Giants actually came close to tying the game at 3-3 in the seventh inning, though Steve Cishek was able to work out of a first and second, one out jam to keep the Cubs ahead. Plus, before consecutive two out singles in the eighth inning – one being an RBI from Anthony Rizzo to give the Cubs an insurance run, the Cubs offense went through a 1-for-15 drought that began with two outs in the third inning.

At the same time, Strop struggling again is quite concerning. The 34-year-old has been the team's most reliable reliever for the past five seasons, posting sub-3.00 ERAs in each campaign from 2014-18. However, he's in the midst of a forgettable month, allowing seven runs on 11 hits in 7 2/3 innings. Strop also surrendered a game-tying home run in the eighth inning Friday against the Padres, though the Cubs were able to bounce back and win. 

Between their road woes and Strop's rough July, Monday's game did nothing to alleviate concerns over two unsettling Cubs trends. If there's one positive to take away from the game, it's that the Cubs were six outs away from picking up their third road win in seven tries this month.

Moral victories count for little when a team is in a heated pennant race, though, especially since the Cardinals took down the Pirates Monday to cut the Cubs' lead in the NL Central to 1.5 games. The Cubs have to find a way to get better on the road, and they have to find a way to get Strop back on track. Fortunately for the Cubs, there's still time to do both, as Strop pointed out postgame.

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