Here’s The Thing – Belated World Series Wrapup

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
PSDC Funnyman And Brad Pitt Doppelgänger

I’m Stephen Thomas with Here’s The Thing.

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Well hello there, friends and inmates, it’s good to be back. Due to travel, heavy drinking and the agony of defeat last week, I wasn’t able to pass along my World Series wrap up. Since I know you all plan your lives based solely on my opinions like I’m Miss Cleo, I thought today I’d ease your pain. (That’s a very subtle Field Of Dreams reference right there, so let’s talk some baseball)

See, Here’s The Thing; It was a fantastic World Series, with everyone including God himself pitching in to make it memorable. (Hey God, the rain delay at the end of Game 7, extending the championship drought of both cities just a little longer, was pretty funny. Cruel, but funny.) Hopefully the drama of this series shuts up the “Baseball is slow” crowd, but as I’ve always said if it doesn’t, then good riddance to them – we don’t need their A.D.D. butts around the National Pastime, anyway. Naturally, as a Cleveland fan I didn’t like the outcome, but for a team picked third in their division, missing their 2nd and 3rd starters and their best position player, to get within 1/2 inch of a championship against a great team like the Cubs was a helluva run. This series had everything but Morganna, Fan Man and Barry Bremen. Masterful starting pitching. Ridiculous bullpen arms. Clutch swing after swing after swing from bat after bat after bat. Brilliant plays. Unspeakable errors. Two of the best managers in the game, pulling every lever on a near-perfect level. All of it leading fans in both cities through a seven game emotional zipline over shark-infested waters, down to the final out and literally the last man on the Indians bench. If Naquin had caught that ball in the 1st in Game 6 … If Kipnis had taken the walk Chapman was desperately trying to give him in the 9th of Game 7 … nah, not going to do that. As normal and familiar as it feels as a Cleveland fan to play the gut-wrenching “What If” game, I’m just going to enjoy the 2016 World Series for what it was: perfection.

Look, congratulations to Cubs fans, I know exactly how you feel ending a sports curse: the joy and exhilaration matched only by the indescribable sense of relief. Enjoy your history. For Cleveland? Only about 95 days until pitchers and catchers report.

Find my Twitter, Facebook Fan Page, comedy schedule and buy my CD all on my website at MiddleAgedMarriedGuy.com. For Project Shanks, I’m Stephen Thomas, and that was The Thing.

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It Is Still Baseball Season

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

Hi everyone, my name is Joe and I’m a Cub fan. (everyone) Hi Joe.

Photo Credit: USA Today

Photo Credit: USA Today

By now you are all familiar with the history. 107 years without a World Series championship. The black cat. The billy goat. (Which is an awesome Chicago tavern if you are ever in town)

Bartman. Poor kid. It wasn’t his fault. Get over it Cubs fans. The error on the double play ball by Alex Gonzalez opened the floodgates on that chilly October night. And Mark Prior’s weak mental makeup. [Read more…]

Baseball Thoughts Entering the 2015 Playoffs (or how the Cubs can win the World Series)

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

I’m sitting in the ProjectShanks.com home office in Longview, Texas, six feet to the left of my slave-driving boss, Chris Stuckey. Talk about pressure.

But I surge ahead, determined to transfer these thoughts I have from my brain to keyboard, whether a thousand miles away at home, or at headquarters.

Photo Credit: USA Today

Photo Credit: USA Today

In case you haven’t noticed, the Cubs have the third best record in baseball. It is typical, that in such a case, the two better records belong to teams in their own NL Central Division; the Cardinals and Pirates. With only a couple of games this weekend to settle the dust and seal the postseason awards, the National League playoffs are set. The Cubs and Pirates will play the one game wild card game in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night, TBS the dutiful portrayer of the game. And don’t the playoffs just scream TBS? They broadcast an excuse me game every now and again, I was surprised to find late in the season that Ted Turner’s network even continued to broadcast baseball, with the superstations TBS and WGN dumping the local team coverage in the last few years, they being the Braves and Cubs. But that’s a conversation for a different column. [Read more…]

Major League Baseball’s Review at the Two-Thirds Point

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

Mike-Trout

Major league baseball is at the 2/3 mark of the 2015 season and begs for a review. These are the dog days, heading into mid-August with sellers selling and buyers hoping to rent their way to top of the heap. Re: Toronto Blue Jays. [Read more…]

A Slice of Baseball History

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

Excited as always about heading to Wrigley Field for a Cubs game, I make the hour and a half journey via I-90. Cubs and Phillies. Arrieta vs. Hamels. The Cubs are in playoff contention, the Phils own baseball’s worst record. What could go wrong?

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Well, we all know how that worked out.

Having had a day or two to digest the historic game when soon-to-be ex-Philly Cole Hamels twirled the first no-hitter against the Cubs since Sandy Koufax was perfect against them in September of 1965, two things are forefront in my mind. First, if my beloved Cubs are to lose a game that I go to, witnessing history is a pretty good consolation prize. Second, with Philadelphia still dangling Hamels, he came up with a hell of an audition. [Read more…]

Cubs and Cardinals Rivalry Renewed

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

My stomach is churning. Flipping and flopping. The Fourth of July has come and gone, falling on a weekend for the benefit of those craving a long one. The USA lady footballers pummeled the Japanese to the delight of flag wavers everywhere. The Cubs took two of three from the Florida Fish, which leads me to the source of my discomfort.

A couple of weeks ago, the Dodgers came to town for a four-game set. Conventional wisdom held that with Los Angeles pitching Clayton Kershaw and Zack Grienke the first two games of the series, the Cubs would do well to somehow split those two games, then try to take advantage of the back end of a weakened Dodgers rotation to take the series. [Read more…]

Major League Baseball Quarter-Pole Report

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

Memorial Day is roughly the quarter pole of the Major League Baseball season, and along with July 4 and Labor Day, holidays that not only mark progress for your favorite team, but offer All-American encouragement to eat copious amounts of food and to drink until death. So assuming you haven’t taken the last suggestion literally, you can read here my observations of the first quarter of baseball season. Please keep in mind I am a Cub fan so therefore distracted with visions of Bryant and Lester leading fantastic post season charges, culminating with topless women in the streets of Chicago. I may not be completely objective.

Kris-Bryant-Chicago-Cubs

One overriding observation from the beginning of the season is that in the wake of the retirement of Derek Jeter, the game is in good hands of youngsters such as Mike Trout, Joc Pederson, Anthony Rizzo, Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant. It’s difficult for me to remember an era when such a plethora of young, accomplished star players has taken a toehold in the majors. Each of the names I mentioned is appointment viewing for fans. If you are more a fan of dominant pitching, Matt Harvey and a couple of his mound mates in New York should satisfy your appetite. Big free agent signees Max Scherzer and Jon Lester squared off yesterday at Wrigley with Scherzer getting the better of it. This time. Compelling matchups abound in baseball this year. Chris Sale of the White Sox faced off against reigning AL Cy Young winner Cory Kluber last week in one of the most fun and interesting pitching duels I’ve ever seen. Though the Indians lost 2-1, Kluber was dominant and left me to wonder, how the hell did he start the season 0-5 as he did? There hasn’t been a better time in recent history for baseball fans. Do yourself a favor and catch a few of these matchups. [Read more…]

My Most Excellent Cub Game

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

Those of you who read my work with regularity know I am a huge, die-hard Cub fan. It’s either a curse or a privilege, depending on your point of view. So when I get the opportunity to head into the city and see a game at iconic, pastoral Wrigley Field, I leap at the chance. Friday was such a day.

Joe-Hines-Wrigley-PSDC

For those of you who have never been to the friendly confines, so named by Cubs legend Ernie Banks, God rest his soul, allow me to paint a picture of its setting. [Read more…]

Just Call Me Jinxy

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

A funny thing happened to me yesterday. I was watching the Cubs play the Reds, much like any other day. Reds pitcher Mike Leake had retired the Cubs without a baserunner once through the order. Being acutely aware of jinxes and things of that nature in the world of sports, I posted the following as my Facebook status at the end of the third inning…No-hitter alert in Cincinnati, Reds pitcher Leake has given up no hits through three. The first batter for the Cubs in the fourth inning, Dexter Fowler, laced a base hit to scuttle the no hit bid, and it occurred to me, I might be on to something here.

Photo Credit: SI.com

Photo Credit: SI.com

You see, it isn’t the first time that’s happened. It isn’t even the first time this year. In the Cubs 2nd game of the season against the Cardinals, an identical scenario presented itself. I posted the no hitter alert and the Cubs lead off hitter in the fourth, it escapes me now who it was, led off the inning with a hit. The power to curse potential no-no’s is within me, and now I need to figure out how to make it work best for me. [Read more…]

2015 MLB Predictions

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

mike-trout

Baseball season kicks off on Sunday night with the Cubs and Cardinals in the first ever opening night game at Wrigley Field. The Cubs are teeming with hope this year, as with every year. This year though, the hope actually has some actual talent with which to base itself on. This isn’t another Cubs story though, these are my predictions for the upcoming baseball season. Division races, wild cards and the World Series. As a bonus I’m throwing in the individual postseason awards. So sit back, take a look and then let me know what you think. Play ball! [Read more…]

Kris Bryant…For Those Paying Attention

By Joe Hines
PSDC Rock Star

Do you know what you do when the Blackhawks are getting outskated by the inferior Columbus Blue Jackets? If you are like me, your mind wanders to the Cubs, and more specifically, the often debated subject of whether the Cubs should break camp with Kris Bryant on the roster or send him down to AAA Iowa to start the 2015 season.

Kris-Bryant-Chicago-Cubs

As usual, I try to think outside the box a little and pay attention to what the principals are saying. Just play along with me while I lay out a case that I haven’t seen yet from anyone. Not national, not local. Just here. [Read more…]

Chicago Cubs Prospect Kris Bryant is on the Clock

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

One would think that after 107 years, 11 days wouldn’t matter much in the grand scheme of things. I’m here to explain why they do in the world of the Chicago Cubs and us fans of the moribund crew.

Kris-Bryant-Chicago-Cubs

You see, among many highly-touted prospects in the employ of the Chicago National League franchise, none comes with more promise than slugger Kris Bryant. Here is the reason those 11 days matter for Cubs Nation and for Bryant. During the course of a major league baseball season, there are 183 service days on average. If a player accrues 172 of those days in a season, you have a full year of service time in the eyes of MLB…171 and you don’t. The significance lies in the fact that six full years of service time gets a player to free agency, and ostensibly the huge contract that surely awaits for even the most mediocre player that is serviceable enough to have lasted six years. [Read more…]