The Rundown: Short Stories from a Long Game

  • To call Sunday night’s 18-inning loss to the Yankees a marathon would be an insult to Eliud Kipchoge’s recent feat. In fact, you could have stacked three of his world-record setting (sort of) 26.2 mile races inside the Cubs/Yankees game and still had time to watch Usain Bolt run a few sprints. The physical and mental agony of being forced to run that far at one time, though, that’s about what it was like to suffer through the game.

When you play 365 minutes of baseball you’re bound to have some interesting events and/or trivial facts spring forth from the marrow of the belabored contest. For instance, this was the first time Wrigley Field had seen a 17th inning since the Cubs lost to the Montreal Expos 3-2 on August 11, 1992. The box score for that game is a wonderful trip down memory lane for anyone who’s been following baseball since at least the early 90’s.

Greg Maddux actually started that game and issued an uncharacteristic four walks to help the Expos push two runs across in the 4th inning. They wouldn’t score again until the 17th, when Jeff Robinson — who followed Paul Assenmacher, Bob Scanlan, Chuck McElroy, and Jim Bullinger — finally allowed another run on a Delino DeShields RBI single.

That game also featured 27 strikeouts, a total that pales in comparison to the 48 (26 for the Cubs, 22 for the Yankees) posted last night/this morning, the first time such a high number has ever been seen. They set the record with 44 punchouts, which included a run of 10 straight by both teams combined at one point, and added to it late. Ah, futility.

Yet another dubious first occurred when Aaron Boone declared on air in front of the entire viewing audience that Joe West is a great umpire. I’m not sure whether Booney’s attempting a comeback and is hoping to curry favor when it comes to the zone being called against him, but that’s kind of an odd thing to say. I know announcers, particularly the national ones, aren’t supposed to be sharing opinions on the aptitude of various umpires, but to call West one of the best? Oh well, I don’t even have the energy to worry about this any longer.

X-rays on Rizzo’s arm negative

Anthony Rizzo took a 99 mph Aroldis Chapman fastball off the arm in the 9th, a move that completed the Cubs’ 9th-inning comeback but could have drastically impacted their season. Rizzo remained in the game and collected a double and three walks from that point on, but it was still nice that the X-rays eventually came back negative. Remember when Mike Olt got hit in the hand and remained with the team, only to find out he did have a broken bone?

Go west, young men!

Perhaps the worst part of the whole ordeal last night is that the beat writers had to reschedule their flights in order to make it to Denver for the series that starts tonight. Or maybe that the Cubs had to do the same. I’m sure there are those out there who will say something about chartered jets and millions of dollars and blah, blah, blah, but it’s not an easy thing to stay up until Tommy La Stella and then hop on flight and try to recalibrate your body in time to play another game.

It’s kind of inevitable when you’ve got Cubs/Yankees, but you’d think MLB could do a better job of scheduling these Sunday Night Baseball games so that they don’t bump up against immediate cross-country travel. Denver isn’t an awful flight for the Cubs, and they do get an hour or two back, but you get the point. The Yankees had only an hour-long flight to Cincinnati,¬†where they start a series Monday night. And even that is unenviable.

Kyle Schwarber’s catch

Just watch.

More news and notes

  • Absent for today, last night’s game took it out of me.

Feat. image via Jesse Rogers Twitter

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