Wait, what?

Wait, what?

By Frankie O

One of the occupational requirements of standing behind a bar is that people are going to unload everything thats on their mind to you. Im not an alcoholic counselor so much as a counselor whose patients have been affected by the amount of alcohol, or sometimes not, in their system. One of my favorite comments meant to uplift, or at least to make someone feel a little better, is that no matter what they did, in the scheme of things, it just didnt matter. And if they wait just a little bit, someone would do something worse to make what they did yesterdays news. How cool is that? Really, its as old as time and as short as the next news cycle. For the most part were a world of observers and its fascinating to watch what people will do next.

This week, obviously, depending on your perspective, has not disappointed. Hall of Fame voting controversy? What Hall of Fame? Somewhere, Bud is saying thank you.
Now while Lance nor Manti have stopped in to pull up a chair, that doesnt mean that there hasnt been a lot of advice imparted on their behalf, or judgements being made in the court of public opinion.

As far as Armstrongs revelation, now that was..stunning!!! That he used PEDs? No! Who didnt suspect that? He was the most dominant and successful rider ever in the dirtiest sport ever. The smoke has been raging around him for as long as we can remember. That he finally admitted it, now that is something. Roger Clemens he aint. So the simple reaction isnt surprise, its why? I mean even with all of the findings against him he always remained obstinate, to the point of being delusional. But in this world we live in, even in spite of any mounting evidence, if you remain steadfast and win the press conference (Chicago term) there will be those who remain with you. The thinking then, as always, was that he was doing it for the cash. By admitting his transgressions, he would be on the hook for all kinds of civil litigations, so the admission stands to lose him millions. So again, why?

Well your guess is as good as mine. I think he is as defiant as ever.

(Side note: Does anyone, even your partner, do the look of righteous indignation better than Oprah? I mean really?)

I dont feel an ounce of contrition by Armstrong in any clip of the interview that Ive watched. He seems devoid of any human emotion. The irony here being how emotional so many people are by the seeming virtues he espoused in the face of the ultimate battle. To fight disease in a life and death battle and win is as inspirational as anything well witness. Defiance in that battle is a tremendous asset. But from my small sample size, that hard edge is usually softened on the other side. Staring ones mortality in the face, you would think, tends to do that. Armstrong just got more adamant in his stance. It seemed like almost every guy that raced with him was admitting abuse, in courts of law-this is no small matter- and it just seemed to make him angry. That those guys, broke the code.

I guess admission is the first step on the road to recovery, but if its not sincere
Its hard to imagine a larger fall from grace. Sad.

And now for something completely different, the Manti Teo hoax.

Another example that real life is stranger than anything someone can make up. Um, wait a minute, maybe a bad choice of words. Lets just say that Ive been so desensitized that nothing can surprise me anymore. Well almost anything. When I heard about the Deadspin article on the way to work on Wednesday night, I was like, wait,what?

In this age of the internet I guess we better get used to stuff like this. I thought this kind of thing was done with the Tom Hanks movie, Youve Got Mail. Call me old fashioned.

I just found the article amazing. The reaction being: How could this happen? The next question: Whos lying? Its hard to refute the timeline of the story since just about every part of it is documented in print or on videotape. Crazy.

I was reminded of a scene in one of my all-time favorite movies, North Dallas Forty. In the scene Mac Davis, as Seth, (Why he never got more acting gigs off that role is beyond me.) is describing to Nick Nolte, as Phil, about the previous nights debauchery in great detail. At one point Phil is like whoa and Seth says, Wait, I didnt get to the weird part yet. And Phil responds, The weird part? The weird part?!! To which, Seth replies, Yeah, it got weird. Classic. And prescient.

The thing that gets you is that even with all of the information put right in front of your face, it makes your head spin. (A Deadspin head spin?) Even better yet, there is a term for what allegedly happened to Teo: Catfishing. Thats based on the alleged documentary Catfish. I tried reading the plotline to the movie and it gave me a headache. But it must have struck a nerve since there is now a TV show by the same, MTV, but still. This is definitely not Kansas anymore.

What it has taught us is that on-line romance trickery is pretty complicated. That is, if thats what truly happened here.

But its so hard to connect the dots without looking first at Teo.

Again with the larger-than-life hero not being who we think he is, or should I say who we want him to be.

I know that Notre Dame came out last night with a statement and press conference, but who knows? What do they really know?

There are so many unanswered questions from beginning to end, its hard to give anyone the benefit of the doubt, no matter how admired.

All I know is that this story is going to be the topic of the bar for the foreseeable future.
And in another weird part, my inner cynic is not ready to pounce, yet.

Maybe Im just too confused, or its just my logical side telling me it might be a little early to drop the hammer.

For most of us to decide, Teo is going to have to come clean and explain a lot of things.
For all of our sakes, lets hope its not with Oprah. As weve seen before, and again now, that usually doesnt have a fairy-tale ending.

Jake Arrieta full of appreciation in return to Wrigley mound: ‘I’ll never forget this city’

Jake Arrieta full of appreciation in return to Wrigley mound: ‘I’ll never forget this city’

The last time Jake Arrieta pitched at Wrigley Field, his night ended with Cubs fans giving him a rousing standing ovation. The former Cubs right hander tossed 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball, leading the Cubs to victory in Game 4 of the 2017 NLCS—their only win against the Los Angeles Dodgers that series.

Arrieta returned to Wrigley Field as a visitor on Monday night, making his first start against the Cubs since joining the Philadelphia Phillies last season. Ironically, Arrieta’s counterpart for the night was Yu Darvish, who ultimately replaced Arrieta in the Cubs starting rotation.

Despite now donning Phillies red, Cubs fans once again showed their love for Arrieta, giving him a lengthy standing ovation ahead of his first plate appearance. Darvish even stepped off the mound in respect for the moment.

“I loved it, absolutely loved it,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said to reporters postgame. “[I’m] very happy that our fans would acknowledge him like that. Yu stepped away from the mound nicely. Jake deserved it.”

Arrieta tipped his helmet in appreciation for the crowd, taking in the moment for more than 30 seconds before stepping into the batter’s box. After the game, he told reporters that moment brought back memories of his time with the Cubs.

“That was something that really brought back great memories of getting that same sort of ovation pretty much on a nightly basis,” Arrieta said. “[I’m] very appreciative of that. I can’t say thank you enough to the city of Chicago, I really can’t.”

Arrieta took fans back to his Cubs tenure on Monday, throwing six innings of one run ball in the Phillies’ 5-4 10-inning win. Although the 33-year-old didn’t pick up the victory, he matched Darvish—who threw six innings of three-run ball—pitch by-pitch.

Phillies manager Gabe Kapler noted how well Arrieta handled his emotions throughout the night.

“I thought he handled the emotions really well. I thought he was in control of the game even when we were down,” Kapler said to reporters. “He always maintained his poise and he just got stronger as the outing went on and that’s why we were able to have him take down the sixth inning for us.”

It’s well-documented how Arrieta’s career improved for the better after the Cubs acquired him in a trade with the Baltimore Orioles in July 2013. When the Cubs acquired him, Arrieta held a career 5.46 ERA in 69 games (63 starts). He finished his Cubs career with a 2.73 ERA in 128 regular season starts. He also won five postseason games with the Cubs, including Games 2 and 6 of the 2016 World Series.

Despite moving on in free agency, Arrieta spoke highly of his time with the Cubs, their fans and the city of Chicago.

“Cubs fans all across the country, all across the world, they really respect and appreciate what guys are able to do here for them,” he said. “It means a lot, it really does.

"I’ll never forget this city, the fan base, the organization, everything that they did for me. It was 4 1/2 incredible years of my career.”

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Yu Darvish crashed Jake Arrieta's party, but Cubs bullpen falters

Yu Darvish crashed Jake Arrieta's party, but Cubs bullpen falters

Yu Darvish was one pitch away.

Holding onto a 1-0 lead with two outs in the sixth inning, Darvish threw Phillies catcher JT Realmuto a 2-2 cutter. It made sense - Darvish had been spotting that pitch well all night, and the Phillies were averaging a paltry 79.8 mph exit velocity against it.

With one strike standing between Darvish and a 6-inning shutout, Realmuto took Darvish’s cutter and sent it back up the middle for a game-tying RBI single. A 2-RBI triple from César Hernández followed. In the blink of an eye, what was shaping up to be one of Darvish’s finest moments in Chicago was instead reduced to yet another start spent searching for silver linings.

“Really good. He was outstanding tonight,” Joe Maddon said. “He pitched really well.

“He had really good stuff. He had command of his stuff, he had command of himself. I thought he was outstanding - even better than what he looked like in Cincinnati. I thought that was probably his best game for us to date.”

Darvish has continued to lean heavily on his cutter this season, more so than any year prior. After throwing it 13 percent of the time last season, he’s going to that pitch almost 25 percent of the time now. If that holds, it’d beat his previous career-high, set in 2013, by six percentage points.

All things considered, that pitch has actually been good for him this season. It’s his go-to offering when he needs to induce weak contact, and batters are hitting .125 against it so far. He gets batters to chase cutters 29.5 percent of the time, the most of any pitch he throws. While he has admitted in games past that he relies too heavily on his fastball, Maddon sees no issues with the new trend.

“I have no concerns with that whatsoever,” he said. “There’s different ways for pitchers to attack hitters, and if it's successful, I really would not change a whole lot.”

Though the night was dedicated to celebrating one of the franchises most beloved pitchers, it was one of their most maligned that continued to show signs of figuring it out. He’s put together back-to-back starts with three or less walks for the first time this season, and has allowed two or less runs in three of the last five.

The pitcher even stepped off the mound during Arrieta’s first at-bat, in order to let the standing ovation continue on.

“He’s is a legend in Chicago,” Darvish said after the game. “And I pitched against him and pitched pretty good, so it makes me confident.”

The bullpen again struggled on Monday night, as the trio of Mike Montgomery, Brad Brach, and Kyle Ryan allowed two runs on five hits, including the game-winning solo home run from Realmuto in the 10th. For a moment it looked like the Cubs had a win wrapped up when Brach got outfielder Andrew McCutchen to bite on a two-strike slider, but was (probably incorrectly) called a checked swing.  He would eventually draw a walk, leading to Jean Segura’s game-tying single.

“On the field, I thought for sure [that McCutchen swung],” Brach said. “Looking at the first base umpire, I was a little taken aback. That’s why I went off the mound - just to regather myself, because I didn’t want to let the emotion get to me there.

“It’s a 50-50 call, and unfortunately it didn’t go my way.”


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