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WeekEnd HaloLinks: Lester is more. Cubs left LA behind.

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The Cubs have climbed back on top in the NLCS 3 games to 2. Clayton Kershaw is coming, but the Cubs have the hot bats AND still have some strong starters they can bring to the mound.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Oh, damn. There goes Dave Roberts overusing his bullpen and screwing up all the momentous gain that had been made for intelligent baseball through the earlier rounds of these playoffs. Two games in a row now, pull the starter in the 4th, and run through the long list of temps. Then watch as one of them, randomly, collapses in a heap under the accelerating barrage of the Chicago offense.

Playoff baseball is different from the long grind of a regular season. It was never going to be that collaborative pitch responsibilities would survive for the regular season. The pitchers themselves have spent a lifetime training themselves to perform in the more traditional way, and this is the kind of thing that athletes need to be trained into.

But I fear these last two games will have all the wags a wagging. It's what they do.

Cubs win 8-4 and, again, it wasn't that close. It was 8-1 going into the bottom of the 9th. On to Chicago, land of frozen blizzards coming off of windy lakes, sweat-smarming summers, deep-pocketed politicians, and really crappy pizza. On the other hand, they have some most excellent blues.............

Enjoy your weekend, people. World Series starts Tuesday and I will see you all on the flip side. Nibble on some Links:

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2016 PLAYOFFS ON DECK

No games today. Take the day off....


Everywhere In Baseball

Angels Minor League Prospects of the Year: Matt Thaiss for position player, and Jaime Barria for pitcher...........

It's time to deal with it, folks. With Cleveland finally getting onto the highest and rightest of sporting stages with a world turned far more politically correct, this issue of their iconography and name will be discussed. No sense pretending it won't be. NBC Sports does their attack at dawn....Also, TheSportingNews joins the battle.....Personally, I would suggest the franchise merely revert to a prior name, the Cleveland Spiders, and get the chance to sell all new merchandise. It's not an original thought. But the reason it works so well now is that, yes, it is historically accurate for the franchise but it also lives large with graphic artistry in today's superhero world..............

Let's stick with Cleveland. They are, for the vast majority of you, immortalized solely because of one of our very bast baseball movies, Major League......So the call has been put out for Charlie Sheen to make his dramatic entrance and throw out the first pitch.....Sheen, to his credit, is totally up for it!..............

We didn't want to see him go. We had him first, and foremost. And we knew better than those paid to make these stupid decisions that so many bad things were forced on us as a result. Well, everybody but TheBigTizzle, and where is he? Too bus trying to down all that crow? But it's a story that just won't let go of us. Just keep rubbing it in our noses, baseball. Just keep rubbing it in............Maybe I get lucky, though, and cross paths with him partying hard. I am thinking about Vegas in early November............

Trevor Bauer and his Halloween Finger are expected to be ready for his start in the World Series. Kinda takes all the fun out of it, though............

Time to move on. Perhaps dwell upon the Blue Jays for a bit.....Losing, as wrote the other day, probably means the closing of their window.......Time marches forward, and this day was coming all along..........And the outcome was an open and shut case............So, POINT: the Blue Jays should rebuild...........On, wait, no, COUNTERPOINT: the Blue Jays should not rebuild............The wheels are already in motion, formal rebuild or not, so let's ponder where a Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion will land? Quickly, to any possible AL West contender except the Oakland A's, and us. We two clubs with moths buzzing out of our pockets............

The downside to having a local team on the national stage is that the national stage gets a close look at the local sports scene. And ours has Bill Plaschke. And, yes, Bill Plaschke is a professional knucklehead............

Padres G.M. A.J. Preller comes back to work after MLB suspension to find that his boss has been canned and he now reports directly to the guys who own the franchise he embarrassed. And now his bosses are to trust him to rebuild the mess he created, by using his fine skills to negotiate with peers who will be delighted to ignore whatever he says?...........

The Cincinnati Reds signed a new TV deal, and they are happy about it. I guess it's all relative. A 15 year deal that is an increase from their current $30 mill per year? Even if it's doubled it's only $900 million. The Angels signed a 20 year deal for $3 billion. So, yeah, it pays to exist in a larger market. The Reds and Angels won't be expected to pay different amounts for the same player when they compete for a Free Agent. It's good to get something, but if the wealthy teams are intelligent and careful with their resources that kind of contract won't catch the Reds up with the upper half of the league...........

You will soon need to update your Contacts list for a new address when sending in your boxtops to Commissioner Manfred. MLB is moving to a new office in NYC..............

Braves' prospect Matt Marksberry is having some serious medical issues and deserves our happy thoughts............

Sports Biz: Yeah, unless sports owners want to start buying brand new emporiums for all of us to run our businesses, we need reports like this where a Bill Simmons goes on an HBO rant. We need a lot more reports like this..............Cord cutting might not be such a trend beyond the community of cord cutters, after all, Too much current evidence to the contrary............

More Sports Biz: Al Michaels and Bob Costas lament the modern era, where fans have direct access to media channels and the sports world is so broad and deep that it no longer works well for one person to lead the broadcasting in multiple disciplines. Once again, here is your 60-year old (well, almost) host calling bullshit on old geezers whining about how good things were back when things were not nearly as good. So I gotta rant. If you don't want to read it, go ahead and skip down and start posting all your comments...........Back as late as the 70's and 80's the only feedback that announcers got from the larger sports community would come from those few who leaped the high hurdle of handwriting letters and figuring out the correct address where they should be manually posted. And then they arrived and were treated as junk mail, to be sampled. Or, some such minimal sample would be published once a week in a newspaper or magazine, two or three entries pertinent to a topic that would rarely touch upon a broadcaster. So, for starters, broadcasters used to have no idea what the masses actually felt about their work. Who is to say that it was any different back then? Michaels and Costas are looking back fondly at a time when they were living in a bubble. It's not that we were more adoring and obedient, but that they were ignorant of our collective voice. Those days are gone forever. Grow a backbone...........Next, I was sitting in a grill earlier this week for lunch and made comment that even with baseball playoffs, NFL and college football in full swing, NHL hockey and NBA basketball firing up, there was still demand for European soccer on one of the TV's. The scene is HUGE nowadays. So (1) even covering multiple sports at the modern pace would be superhuman. And (2) who has ability to do the prep before a broadcast in the windows now so short between events AND the volume of information needed to stay ahead of fans plugged directly into the Internet?? Why settle for one person being spread too thin? We need a host more competent than we observers, and we observers spend a shitload amount of time in our corner of sport. So, no, I don't want to go back to a time when one person could do all, and I don't want to be hosted by some person trying to do too much. Curt Gowdy was great but it ain't 1966 anymore, and we have more than 3 content providers giving us the same one sport at a time..........

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