Before I get started, I have to wish godspeed to Eddie Van Halen (January 26, 1955 – October 6, 2020), the heir to Jimi Hendrix. His guitar riffs will always be a warm reminder of the 1984 Cubs, making that fantastic season all the more special. We all remember the Cubs running out to field their positions with Jump being played (yes, that was Eddie on that opening synthesizer, too), and though his solo on the bridge of that song is so on point, it was a far cry from the mastery he displayed in so many wonderfully loud and legendary performances.
The word “incendiary” is thrown around far too loosely by rock critics, but if any guitarist is the definition of that type of white-hot intensity, it’s Van Halen.
How about a six-pack of some of my favorite EVH guitar solos?
- Eruption/You Really Got Me
- Panama (a love song to his favorite car, a Plymouth Panama Prowler)
- Runnin’ With the Devil
- Girl Gone Bad
- Right Now
— valerie bertinelli (@Wolfiesmom) October 6, 2020
As a guitarist, Mr. Van Halen ranks among the best of all-time, including rarified axemen Hendrix, Jimmy Page, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. The world is a sadder place this morning and, for all of us who remember that 1984 Cubs season so fondly, just a little bit smaller.
Cubs News & Notes
- Our EIC Evan Altman started his offseason wishlist, ever mindful of expected budgetary constrictions, of course.
- Theo Epstein’s offseason goal is to improve the team’s dismal offense.
- Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic wonders if Anthony Iapoce could be in danger of being fired ($). I’ve called for his dismissal since early September, but Sharma indicates the problem goes way, way deeper than just coaching and instruction.
- The future of the Cubs rotation is Adbert Alzolay, and if his last two starts of 2020 are any indication, the young man is ready to start on his path to staff ace.
- Secondary to offense, the Cubs would like to upgrade the pitching staff. José Quintana and Tyler Chatwood are free agents, a decision on Jon Lester needs to be made, and though Alec Mills, Brailyn Márquez, and Azolay have promising futures, Epstein would like to add depth to the rotation.
- Charles Schwab has finalized its purchase of TD Ameritrade, the company started by Joe Ricketts, for $22 billion.
Apropos of Nothing
Did you prefer the David Lee Roth iteration of Van Halen or the years with Sammy Hagar? I’m probably in the minority but I thought Eddie and Sammy complemented each other perfectly.
Odds & Sods
We used to play a game called Would You Rather, a game familiar to many, I’m sure. Would you rather the Astros win the 2020 World Series or be forced to do a fully nude strip tease every time you hear “Take Me Out to the Ballgame?”
— Houston Astros (@astros) October 6, 2020
Yes, the Astros now have a commanding 2-0 lead over the A’s in their best-of-five ALDS and Oakland needs a win today to avoid elimination. Houston has reached the ALCS in three straight years, winning the World Series in 2017. George Springer hit two long flies in yesterday’s 5-2 win, passing Babe Ruth on the all-time postseason home run list.
The Rays and Yankees are tied 1-1 in their series after Tampa Bay outlasted the Bronx Bombers 7-5. Tyler Glasnow punched out 10 New York batters and the Rays got home runs from Randy Arozarena, Mike Zunino, Manuel Margot, and Austin Meadows.
Bad blood between the Marlins and Braves resurfaced yesterday as Ronald Acuña Jr. was hit by a Sandy Alcantara fastball in the 3rd inning with the Marlins up 4-1. The center fielder had homered to lead off the game in his previous at-bat and celebrated by flipping his bat. The Braves came back to win the game 9-5.
Thanks in large part to 10 free passes, the Dodgers jumped up 1-0 on the Padres in their division series with a 5-1 win. San Diego starter Mike Clevinger made it only two pitches into the 2nd inning before leaving with the same elbow injury that sidelined him during the first round.
How About That!
After the game, Acuña, who became the youngest player (22 years, 293 days old) in postseason history with a leadoff home run, tweeted that “they have to hit me because they can’t get me out.”
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History special “Is Rock ‘n’ Roll All About Reinvention?” featuring Mr. Van Halen with Denise Quan is a must see if you have an hour to spare.
This is genuinely unbelievable.
Final drawing: "Taking Flight"
Size: 22" x 30"
Medium: pencil on paper
This piece was – by far – the most ambitious project I've ever taken on, and ultimately took over 250 hours to complete.
— Keegan Hall (@KeeganHall) October 6, 2020
They Said It
- “[Poor hitting] was not from lack of effort, it was not from lack of attempted adjustments or lack of creativity. We’ll go through our normal process. We have not had exit interviews yet. Given how hard it was on everyone to be away from their families, we didn’t keep everyone around a couple extra days to have exit interviews. We told everyone to get back with their families as soon as possible and as safely as possible and to take a week to digest the season. Then we would have some Zoom exit interviews going forward. We have to hear from Rossy. I know as a general rule he was thrilled by the work of the coaching staff while also recognizing where we fell short. We’ll put our heads together on that and move forward.” – Theo Epstein
Wednesday Walk Up Song
Holding Out for a Hero by Bonnie Tyler – Somebody wake up and derail the Astros.
BTW, props to Tyler in this video for covering all the signature interpretive moves: two-handed reach for the sun, shoulder shimmy, semi-reverse waterfall, exasperating drop-to-the-knees followed by the salvation-lean-back, and the exploding supernova.