Los Angeles Dodgers

Remembering Cubs' Rick Monday's flag-saving moment on this day in 1976

Remembering Cubs' Rick Monday's flag-saving moment on this day in 1976

Not all heroes wear capes. Some wear Cubbie blue.  

On April 25, 1976, Cubs outfielder Rick Monday made the play of the game.

And it was for something that doesn’t show up in the box score.

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That afternoon, the Cubs were playing the Dodgers in Los Angeles. In the fourth inning, two people, a father and his 11-year old son, ran onto the field, put the American flag on the ground in shallow left-center, and doused it in lighter fluid. Their first attempt to start a fire was blown out by the wind. They tried again, but before the flag could catch on fire, Monday, who was playing center field, swooped in and took the flag away from the protesters.

Monday ran over to the third base dugout and handed the flag to one of the Dodgers players. The crowd was quiet as security escorted the protesters off the field, but then a group of fans started singing “God Bless America”, and soon the entire stadium joined in.

When Monday came to bat in the top of the fifth, he received a standing ovation from the Los Angeles crowd, and the scoreboard flashed the message “Rick Monday…. You made a great play.”

Monday, who spent six years in the Marine Corps Reserves, asked to keep the flag. And in the years since, he has taken the flag around the country, and in the process raised over $500,000 for military charities.

Monday had a notable baseball career. He was the first overall pick in the 1965 draft. He spent 19 seasons in the majors (five with the Cubs), was a two-time All-Star and was part of the 1981 Dodgers team that won the World Series. But he will always be best known for saving the flag.

And he is perfectly fine with that.

“What happened in my playing career will take care of itself,” Monday told MLB.com on the 40th anniversary of the event.  “The flag represents the rights and freedoms we all enjoy in this country.”

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Yu Darvish thinks Houston Astros should be stripped of 2017 World Series title

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USA Today

Yu Darvish thinks Houston Astros should be stripped of 2017 World Series title

The Astros' sign-stealing scandal is personal for a lot of players, though it probably hits a little differently for Yu Darvish. 

Darvish was a member of the 2017 Los Angeles Dodgers team that Houston beat in the World Series. Darvish didn't have his best performance in the series and when asked about the scandal, the Cubs' pitcher didn't hold back:

It's a weird feeling. Like, in the Olympics, when a player cheats, you can't have a Gold medal, right? But they still have as World Series title. That makes me feel weird. That's it. And one more thing. With [Carlos] Correra talking about [Cody] Bellinger. I saw that yesterday. So they cheat, and I think right now that they don't have to talk. They shouldn't talk like that right now.

You can watch the video of Darvish's comments, from ESPN's Jesse Rogers, it right here.

The comments took on a life of their own, as Astros' soundbytes have been known to do over the last few weeks or so. Darvish was ready for the clapback, though, and delivered a final blow to some poor 'Stros fan who thought he could compete with Darvish on twitter dot com. 

Sign a lifetime contract, Yu. Never leave us.

Related: Bryant crushes Astros for cheating scandal: 'What a disgrace that was' 

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Cubs add another pitcher to the bullpen mix

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USA TODAY

Cubs add another pitcher to the bullpen mix

A few hours before the 2020 Cubs Convention kicked off, Theo Epstein's front office was hard at work adding another pitcher to the bullpen mix.

It's not a big name fans are itching for, but the Cubs acquired right-handed pitcher Casey Sadler from the Dodgers Friday afternoon. The Cubs sent minor-league infielder Clayton Daniel to LA in return. 

Sadler, 29, was designated for assignment by his former team earlier in the week. He has 42 career MLB appearances under his belt, 33 of which came last season between the Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays (1 start). 

Sadler performed well in 2019, posting a 4-0 record, 2.14 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, but only had 31 strikeouts in 46.1 innings. He had more success missing bats in Triple-A, with 12.3 K/9 in 38.2 innings last year.

This brings the Cubs' 40-man roster to 39 with a little less than a month before pitchers and catchers report to spring training. The move fits the theme of the offseason where Epstein and Co. are taking fliers on all the buy-low pitchers they can as a volume-game approach to building a pitching staff.

Sadler is out of minor-league options, so he should get a shot at cracking the big-league bullpen out of camp.

At the moment, Craig Kimbrel, Rowan Wick, Kyle Ryan and Brad Wieck look like the only locks for the Opening Day bullpen, but a host of others will be in the mix in Arizona, including:

Ryan Tepera (free agent)
Trevor Megill (Rule 5 pick)
Dan Winkler (free agent)
CD Pelham (waiver pickup)
Brandon Morrow (minor-league free agent)
Duane Underwood Jr. (out of minor-league options)
Alec Mills (out of options)
Adbert Alzolay
Dillon Maples
James Norwood

There are a lot of question marks building a bullpen out of that group, especially considering the proven names the Cubs lost from last year's club (Steve Cishek, Pedro Strop, Brandon Kintzler).

Daniel, 24, was the Cubs' 31st-round pick in 2018 out of Jacksonville State University. He reached Double-A Tennessee last season and hit .305 with a .799 OPS, 2 homers and 21 RBI in 67 minor-league games a year ago.