It’s been a hell of a week Cubs fans, most importantly on the list Jake’s second no hitter in as many years. But really it’s been a solid week all around in addition to that incredible feat of pitching.
The boys in blue began the week in St. Louis at Busch Stadium; this was Jason Heyward and John Lackey’s first time at Busch since leaving the Cardinals for the Cubs this winter. Lackey, in his first career start against the Cardinals struck out 11 batters and went for 7 innings to shut down the Cardinals offense. The Cubs offense, setting the tone with lead off man, Dexter Fowler’s double in the first and solo home run in the 6th, scored 5 runs which the Cardinals left unanswered. Jason Heyward’s first day back wasn’t as memorable as Lackey’s, though he did help get three outs in the game. What was likely more memorable was the taunting he received from his former fans. More proof that as Billy Murray says Cardinals fans are in fact “Satan’s messengers on earth.” Aside from booing and taunting, which is to be expected to a degree, there were numerous reports in the twitterverse of the N word being thrown around quite a bit, while there have been no credible confirmations there were plenty of folks accusing Cardinals fans of referring to J-Hey as such…fascinating since there were also reports of Cubs fan’s being turned away at the gates because “the man” found their Joe Maddon “try not to suck” t-shirts uncouth….right…stay classy St Louis.
While we are on the subject of disgraceful fans let’s sidebar from baseball for a moment to talk about Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love, and how ridiculously terrible all of their fans are. Eagles, Phillies, and most integral to this talking point…Flyers fans. On Monday night in game three of the playoff between the Flyers and Capitals, the Flyers organization was making a valiant attempt to honor a founder Ed Snider, who had recently passed away from bladder cancer. In addition to Philadelphia fans usual boorish behavior they couldn’t even make it through a moment of silence for one of their own without shouting expletives at the Capitals and their fans. In addition the Flyers organization gave out bracelets in honor of Mr. Snider, most of those ended up being thrown onto the ice by cranky Flyer fans, one hitting Capital’s defenseman Dimitri Orlov in the face while he was getting medical attention on the bench. Social media was all over it, but we need not be reminded by Twitter of how the people who repeatedly throw batteries at opposing team’s players and who once boo’ d Santa Clause.
Back to baseball….the Hulk, tweeted from his post surgery hospital room on Wednesday a thank you to the fans, luck and encouragement to his teammates. By all accounts his surgery went well and he is in full recovery mode, while it is highly unlikely that Cubs fans will see Schwarber back in action in 2016, even late in the season, he remains an integral part of the team off the field as a fervent fan for his teammates and as an example of hard work and genuine love of the game. We wish him well.
The most important moment this week, Jake Arrieta’s no hitter. A support group hit social media, started by the Dodgers and joined by the Reds on Thursday night after the Cubs trounced the Reds 16-0. Jake’s mystical beard powers and pilates training brought him his second career no hitter. As both a way of joking and congratulating the Cubs Ace, the Dodgers tweeted “Hey @Reds, the Arrieta no-hitter support group meets on Mondays” The Dodgers were no-hit by Jake last August. Arrieta joins a pretty small group of pitchers, the likes of Nolan Ryan, Sandy Koufax, and Cy Young (lest we forget Jake is the reigning Cy Young award winner) with more than 1 no-hitter in their career. In fact Jake became only the 30th pitcher to do it, and he’s only the 4th who is still an active pitcher, which means…well I won’t say it out loud or even dare to write it, but you all know what that means. Not to take any attention away from Jake ever, but the offense also scored 16 runs that night, Bryant in the 1st with a two run HR, Zobrist with a solo HR in the 2nd, Ross scores on a ground ball hit by Fowler in the 2nd, Ross scores again in the 4th after a throwing error and a single by Arrieta (he can hit you but you can’t hit him), Top of the 6th Ross with a solo HR (he went 3 for 4, scored 3 times, 2 hits and a walk, and caught his first career no-hitter, not a bad day for Grandpa Rossy), Rizzo then followed with a 3 run homer in the 6th, Bryant with a GRAND SLAM in the 7th, Heyward scores on a Szczur single in the 9th and Rizzo scores again by a Zobrist double in the 9th. I mean…I can’t even imagine how high the boys must have been feeling after that. As I said….it’s been a hell of a week.
One final thought, I think I found my soulmate. There was a Cub fan who rushed the field, and even made it into the celebratory group hug the Cubs were having to celebrate their win and Jake’s no-hitter on Thursday. Sir, if you are reading this from a holding cell in Cincinnati or if you’ve been released on bail, give me a call sometime, our mutual love of the Cubs may hold us together despite any future time you plan to spend behind bars.