Cubs

Random News: Tricks, Treats and Travesties

Random News: Tricks, Treats and Travesties

Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2010
10:57 AM

By Joe Collins
CSNChicago.com

Do you remember when Halloween was just about...candy? Some of my favorite childhood memories centered around Halloween. It was candy capitalism at its finest. If Halloween fell during a weekday, the fun would start around noon. The elementary school I went to would always have this campy costume parade followed by a potluck banquet of cupcakes, brownies and other assortments of refined sugars. It was like the pregame ceremony for what would transpire in the neighborhoods at night. And if Halloween fell on a weekend? Hoo boy...take cover. We would start ransacking the neighborhood at 9am, looking for Twix bars, Butterfingers or whatever else we could get our hands on. The best part of it all: it didn't even matter what costume you were wearing. I mean, name another day on the calendar when you can put on a flannel shirt, call yourself a "bum" and start ringing doorbells for candy (another fringe benefit of growing up in the NirvanaSoundgardenPearl Jam "grunge" era). But the best part of all: besides the parents telling us what time to be home, the day was relatively adult free.

Unfortunately, times have changed.

Halloween is rocketing towards New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day in the race for the "Most Annoying Day on the Calendar" award. Adults have wrestled the holiday away from kids and have made it their own. It's a joke. 20 and 30-somethings have turned Halloween into a celebration of ironic humor and debauchery. In today's "grown-up" Halloween world, guys usually gravitate towards celebrating a character from their youth. For instance, if they can muster up a cheap black suit, a fedora hat, a pair of sunglasses and a buddy with the same getup....POOF, you have the Blues Brothers. As for the girls, all they have to do is find an occupation and put the word "sexy" in front of it. Instant costume. Mix all the ingredients at a bar and serve while hot.

But I do realize that this newfangled holiday won't be going anywhere in the near future. It's only going to gain steam until bouncers start fleecing 50 out of people for cover charges to enter costume parties (see: Eve, New Year's). There will be a backlash...but not for a while. So, with that said, I'm going to be a willing participant. Im contributing with a list-- the 10 best sports figures and the costumes they could be wearing on Halloween. A lot of people dress up as their favorite sports figure on Halloween, right? But what do the sports figures themselves go as? I have a few hunches...
Chiefs Offensive Coordinator Charlie Weis: Rodney Dangerfield

Cubs Manager Mike Quade: Fire Marshall Bill

Former MLBer John Kruk: Chewbaca

Olympian Shaun White: The Wendys Girl

Brett Favre: Hans Moleman from "The Simpsons"

(and for those of you who didn't get that reference, click here)
Troy Polamalu: anybody from Twisted Sister

Joakim Noah: Troy Polamalu
Giants Pitcher Brian Wilson: James Brolin from The Amityville Horror
Former Washington Wizard Oleksiy Pecherov: Stewie from The Family Guy

Former Minnesota football coach Tim Brewster: Schleprock

With apologies to the Golden Gopher faithful, I couldnt think of a better cartoon character to represent the current state of the Minnesota football program: Bad Luck Schleprock from the Pebbles and Bamm Bamm show.

And with apologies to every adult who aspires to dress like The Situation from Jersey Shore on Halloween, its time to bag the costumes and turn the holiday back over to the kids. Let them have their holiday.

And go back to planning your New Years Eve party.

Or something like that.

Why what Mike Montgomery did against LA could go a long way toward keeping him in the Cubs' rotation

6-19mikemontgomery.jpg
USA Today

Why what Mike Montgomery did against LA could go a long way toward keeping him in the Cubs' rotation

Joe Maddon needed Mike Montgomery to get through at least six innings given the circumstances presenting the Cubs' manager before Game 2 of Tuesday’s day-night doubleheader against the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

Not only were the Cubs short a man in the bullpen (thanks to Brandon Morrow’s pants-related back injury), but Maddon had to use four relievers — including Pedro Strop for two innings — after Tyler Chatwood managed only five innings in Game 1 earlier in the afternoon. 

So when Montgomery — who had only thrown over 100 pitches once in the last two and a half seasons before Tuesday — saw his pitch count sit at 40 after two innings, and then 63 after three, he knew he needed to regroup to avoid creating a mess for the Cubs’ bullpen. 

What followed was a start that, statistically, wasn’t the most impressive of the five Montgomery’s made since re-joining the Cubs’ rotation earlier this year. But it was an important start in that the 28-year-old left-hander didn’t have his best stuff, yet didn’t give in to a good Dodgers lineup. And holding that bunch to one run over six innings was exactly what the Cubs needed in what turned out to be a 2-1 extra-inning win. 

“Especially when you don’t have have your best stuff, you always gotta — that’s when you really learn how to pitch,” Montgomery said. 

It’s also the kind of start that could be a major point in Montgomery’s favor when Maddon is presented with a decision to make on his starting rotation whenever Yu Darvish comes off the disabled list. Knowing that Montgomery can grind his way through six innings when his team needs it the most without his best stuff only can add to the confidence the Cubs have in him. 

Montgomery didn’t have his best stuff on Tuesday, issuing more walks (four) than he had in his previous four starts (three). He threw 48 pitches between the second and third innings, and only 25 of those pitches were strikes. Of the nine times the Dodgers reached base against Montgomery, six were the result of fastballs either leading to a walk or a hit. 

Even though the Dodgers were able to bother Montgomery a bit on his fastball, Maddon said that’s the pitch of his that’s impressed him the most over the last few weeks. 

“He never got rushed,” Maddon said. “In the past he would seem to get rushed when things weren’t going well, when he spot-started. Overall, fastball command is better — even though he was off a little bit tonight, the fastball command still exceeds what I’ve seen in the past couple of years on a more consistent basis. The changeup, really, good pitch. He got out of some jams but I think the fact that he knows where his fastball is going now is the difference-maker for him.”

Darvish will throw a simulated game on Wednesday after throwing two bullpen sessions last week. Maddon still doesn’t have a timetable for the $126 million right-hander’s return, and said he’s not entertaining what to do with his rotation until Darvish comes off the disabled list. But Maddon did mention Montgomery’s relative lack of an innings load — the most he’s thrown in a season in 130 2/3, which he did in 2017 — as a reason to perhaps not rush him into a permanent starting role the rest of the season. Going to a six-man rotation is a possibility, too, Maddon said. 

But the over-arching point is this: Montgomery will remain in the Cubs’ rotation as long as he keeps earning it. That can be the product of strong outings in which he has good stuff, or games like Tuesday in which he shows the Cubs the kind of resiliency most starters need to get through a full season. 

“I pitch well, good things happen,” Montgomery said. “I’ve always thought that. Opportunities, you just gotta make the most of them.”

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 28th + 29th homers in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 28th + 29th homers in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

For the second time in 1998, Sosa went back-to-back games with multiple home runs. After going yard twice on June 19 of that season, Slammin' Sammy again sent two balls into the bleachers on June 20.

He singlehandedly beat the Phillies that night, driving in 5 runs in a 9-4 Cubs victory.

But that wasn't the most impressive feat of the day from Sosa. His second homer was actually measured at a whopping 500 feet! It was the longest of the season, but not the longest of his career. On June 24, 2003, Sosa hit a homer at Wrigley measured at 511 feet.

The back-to-back big games raised Sosa's season OPS to 1.083 with a ridiculous .685 slugging percentage. He began June 1998 with a .608 slugging percentage.

Fun fact: Kerry Wood struck out 11 batters in 7.1 innings on June 20, 1998 to pick up his 7th big-league victory. As Wood marched to the National League Rookie of the Year that season, he finished with a 13-6 record and 233 strikeouts in only 166.2 innings for a career-high 12.6 K/9 rate.