Cubs

Wade Davis saves Cubs: ‘That’s a bad motherf----- right there’

Wade Davis saves Cubs: ‘That’s a bad motherf----- right there’

WASHINGTON – Wade Davis stood on the mound at Nationals Park and suddenly lunged forward – the way someone would throw up in a toilet – and smacked his glove against right hand three times. Davis never looks nervous or shows really any emotions, but the Cubs closer embraced catcher Willson Contreras, twirled around and got swallowed by the mosh pit once it finally ended at 12:45 a.m. on Friday in Washington.

Davis had just struck out Bryce Harper, the Nationals superstar whiffing on a cutter that broke sharply toward the dirt, the last out in a 9-8 rollercoaster and a five-game National League Division Series pushed to the limits.

“That’s a bad mother----- right there,” pitcher Jon Lester said amid the champagne-and-beer celebration inside the visiting clubhouse. “I love that guy. I’ve got to play with a lot of good closers, and he’s a bad sumb----. He proved it tonight.”

Davis already proved it with the 2015 Kansas City Royals team that rode a power bullpen to a World Series title – and during a regular season where he converted his first 32 save chances as a Cub – but even this was next-level stuff.

In an elimination game where Kyle Hendricks lasted only four innings – and in a reversal the Twitter opinion trended toward why didn’t Joe Maddon pull him sooner – the manager cycled through Brian Duensing, Pedro Strop, Mike Montgomery, Carl Edwards Jr. and Jose Quintana, Saturday’s likely NL Championship Series Game 1 starter at Dodger Stadium.

“No, we hadn’t talked about it,” said Davis, the totally low-maintenance closer. “You just kind of figure it might happen.”

Eventually, the all-hands-on-deck strategy just became Davis as the last line of defense, responsible for the final seven outs.

In the same way that Aroldis Chapman gave this team an entirely different dimension during last year’s playoff run, Davis jogged in from the left-field bullpen at 11:47 p.m., inherited two runners in a two-run game and needed only four pitches to strike out Ryan Zimmerman to end the seventh inning.   

“He’s got ice in his veins,” said Ben Zobrist, who played with Davis on that championship team in Kansas City. “He really hung in tough there for us and pulled it off.”

The Cubs acquired Davis during the winter meetings for moments like this, knowing how valuable he would be in October, even if he cashes in somewhere else as a free agent.

Davis walked Daniel Murphy and Anthony Rendon to lead off the eighth inning, but he doesn’t rattle easily, getting pinch-hitter Adam Lind to ground into a double play. After Michael A. Taylor’s broken-bat RBI single, Contreras and first baseman Anthony Rizzo executed a back-pick play to throw out Jose Lobaton and end the threat.

“He does a great job of turning the page,” outfielder Jason Heyward said. “That last inning, in the ninth, I swear (it was like) he had just come out of the bullpen and he was a different Wade Davis. That’s unbelievable.”   

Davis mowed down the top of the Washington lineup and maxed out at 44 pitches, sending Harper and the Nationals home for the winter, because the Cubs felt like they had no other choice.

“I looked down there a couple times – no one was warming up,” Davis said. “I had to. These guys fought so hard, all season long. They fought hard in this game. The offense and the defense – everybody’s been battling – and I really didn’t want to let it happen to us then.”

Willson Contreras, expert at going viral, tells hilarious profanity-laced story from 2019

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USA TODAY

Willson Contreras, expert at going viral, tells hilarious profanity-laced story from 2019

Willson Contreras and viral moments at Cubs Convention go hand-in-hand.

At the team’s annual fan festival in 2018, Contreras stole the show with a story from the 2017 season. During a mound visit against the Cardinals, the Cubs catcher gave profanity-laced advice to Jon Lester, the Cubs starter who rarely throws pickoffs due to a serious case of the yips.

"I went out there and I said, 'Hey motherf--ker, throw the f--king ball to first,'” Contreras recalled in January 2018.

Contreras stole the show again Saturday, telling a story about a moment against the Cardinals — this time from the 2019 season.

“So last year, we were facing the Cardinals and I started talking to [Marcell] Ozuna,” Contreras said. “He told me ‘Just call a fastball right down the middle.’ [And I said] ‘Yeah okay, I will.’ Then I called the fastball and he took it.

“I told him ‘What the f— are you talking about? Just hit the ball, just hit it.’

“He asked me ‘Just call it again.’ And I did it. He took it. Swing the [bat]. I called a third pitch and it was a strikeout. And then next time it was like just ‘Shut up,” or something."

Warning: graphic language

How Contreras will top this at 2021 Cubs Convention is uncertain, but considering he now has two viral moments on his resume, we can be sure the next one will be just as amazing.

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Cubs announce plans for extended protective netting at Wrigley Field for 2020

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USA TODAY

Cubs announce plans for extended protective netting at Wrigley Field for 2020

Baseball fans will be more protected than ever at Wrigley Field this season.

Saturday, Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney announced the club is extending protective netting at Wrigley Field to the elbows of the ballpark. Essentially, it will stretch a bit past where the old on-field bullpens were and stop before the walls in the left and right field corners.

Kenney added the extensions will be ready by Opening Day.

Last month, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced all 30 ballparks will extend their netting for the 2020 season. Manfred didn’t specify which teams would do what, but he said netting at each stadium would extend “substantially beyond the end of the dugout.”

With pitchers throwing harder than ever and batter exit velocities are through the roof, fans have little time to react in the stands when a ball is launched their way. It’s nearly impossible to avoid getting hit, even for those paying attention.

The Cubs have experienced this firsthand. In a game against the Astros last season, an Albert Almora Jr. foul ball struck a 2-year-old at Minute Maid Park. That young girl has a permanent brain injury, her family’s attorney announced earlier this month, an injury that affects her body similar to how a stroke would.

Almora was visibly shaken after the incident and said Friday at Cubs Convention it weighed heavily on him for the first couple of days.

“After that I had no other choice but to move forward,” Almora said. “But I always have that in the back of my mind. Every update that does come up, I am on there and I am seeing all of this."

Almora said he’s tried reaching out to the family but is respecting their privacy. As a father of two himself, he said there’s no reason to even think of his sons getting hurt while attending a game.

“Obviously prayers go out to the family. It’s unfortunate, and like I said before, that should never happen on a baseball field."

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