This and every a.m., let's rise and shine together with the grandest, slammest, ManRamest action in the most major of all the major leagues, that of baseball. Today's Roll Call starts at Wrigley Field, where Aramis Ramirez swung and the crowd sung, "Go, Cubs, go. Go, Cubs, go. Hey, Chicago, what do you say? The Cubs are gonna win today." The Cubs are gonna win today, the Cubs are gonna win tomorrow, they're gonna win the National League and go to the World Series and there ain't no men alive who can stop 'em. Such a proposition really worries some folks, too.
Game of the Day: Cubs 6, Phillies 4
Another Cubbie Occurrence: The Phils were going along, minding their own business with a 4-1 lead when the Cubs — bam! — put down a five-spot down in the bottom of the eighth. Li'l Mikey Fontenot, the 4-foot-12 pinch hitter, started the insanity. The biggest tipper: Aramis Ramirez with a booming, no-doubt, don't-even-turn-around, Shane-Victorino (he didn't) go-ahead blast into the center field party zone. The bedlam was merely practice for what is to come. The Cubs have bigger Phish to phry than the second-place team in the NL East.
The inescapable truth: I recently was chatting online with a good friend of mine, let's call him "Howie." He is a White Sox fan, and despite his team being in first place with an excellent chance to reach the playoffs, Howie's mind sometimes wanders over to Chicago's other team. Here's what he said, verbatim and word for word with the capital letters all out of whack: "I just know those Damn cubs are going to the world series this year. It is going to be awful." Howie's angst over the Cubs (and their cadre of worshipers) is typical of many a South Sider. Just, though, consider the first part of his equation. The (damn) Cubs are going to the World Series. Just try to get your head around it. You can't stop it. You can't handle it, either, can you?
New tradition: A goat supposedly stopped them in '45. A cat supposedly stopped them in '69. A Bull supposedly stopped them in '84. A dude wearing glasses and headphones supposedly stopped them in '03. The truth, then, was the Cubs weren't good enough. No matter what species tries to stop them this time — be it Desert Snake, be it Beer Creationist, be it City Dweller, be it Misspelled Female Horses, be it the State Bird of Illinois, the Cubs have an advantage over all of them. They are better. Deal with it, NL!
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Feelin' Rundown (Thursday's other fun & games):
Yankees 3, Red Sox 2: Anyone hear this cuckoo story about this being the last time the Red Sox visit Yankee Stadium? They always meet in the playoffs. Dumb interweb rumor.
Nationals 11, Dodgers 2: Get out the $6,000 vacuums (it IS Washington) to celebrate a sweep, along with Cristian Guzman's cycle and Elijah Dukes' two-homer game. The Nats actually have baseball players who can do, you know, baseball things.
Astros 3, Reds 2: Two homers for Ty Wigginton. I am always so tempted to put another "G" in there to make it "Wiggington." Stop seducing me, G! ... Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News reports that Dusty Baker figured out, again, why the Reds are so bad. "If you win most of your getaway-day games, you'll be in the hunt," said Baker, whose team is 8-13 in the last game of a road trip. "Winning on the last day sometimes prevents sweeps, sometimes puts you in a sweep position, but most of the time it determines whether you win or lose a series because most series are three games."
Braves 4, Marlins 2: Great leaping catch by Brandon Jones (they know how to get their Jones on in the ATL), prevents Hanley from tying the score. The Marlins need to tell their delegates to start backing either the Mets or the Phillies.
Angels 7, Rangers 5: Wasn't this supposed to be the Rally Monkey's walk year? Walk, swing, whatever monkeys do. Must be nice for the Angels, the best team in the majors, to still have a Simian Response ready when you fall behind 4-0 in the first.
Athletics 3, Twins 2: As if the Yankees-Red Sox item wasn't enough to scoff at, can you believe the rubes who have the Twins on some two-week road trip because of the Republican National Convention? There ain't no Republicans in Minnesota. Hubert Humphrey. Eugene McCarthy. Walter Mondale. Prince. Lefties. All of 'em.
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Photo of the Day: A McMahon for All Seasons
"I'm the punky staff ace, known as McMahon, when I hit the hill, I've got no plan.
I just throw my body all over Wrigley Field, I can't bunt, but I can hurl the pill.
I motivate the Cubs, I like to tease, I pitch so cool, I aim to please.
That's why you all got here on the double, To catch me doin' the World Series Shuffle."
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Wigginggtong (Astros) 2-4, 2 HR
Guzman (Nats) 4-5, 1B, 2B, 3B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI
Dukes (Nats) 2-3, 3 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI, SB
Edwin Jackson (Rays) 7 IP, 6 H, ER, 220BB, 2 K, Win
RamRamRam (Cubs) 1-4, HR, 4 RBI
'Stache (Yanks) 2-2, HR, 3 RBI
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Clayton Kershaw (Triple-A) 2 1/3 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, Loss
Anibal Sanchez (Fish) 5 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, 2 K, Loss
A-Rod (Yanks) 0-4, 3 K
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Words of Mouth
"We saw the rally monkey come out, and knew it was time." — Angels batter Juan Rivera, whose three-run double helped spark a comeback.