On Saturday, two hours before the scheduled 1:20 p.m. first pitch, the Cubs prematurely postponed the game at Wrigley Field due to the supposed threat of rain that never hit the ballpark following a super-soaked Friday loss to the Brewers. I heard of the postponement about an hour before first pitch as I left a South Side graduation ceremony — in the rain. The fix was clearly in on a Saturday that featured “The Final Out” bobblehead giveaway that was sure to pack the house. We know that the uber-rich Ricketts family probably used several of those bobbleheads to smoke a kangaroo or something at the family compound while 40,000 dejected fans shuffled away and care less about the hit at the gate that calling the game resulted in.
Let’s call a spade a spade here: The Cubs are cheaters. And as such, serious consideration needs to be put into adding an asterisk to both their 2016 World Series championship and the one they’ll probably win in 2017. This isn’t darkening up the ball with spit and dirt or putting bowls of amphetamines in the clubhouse or excluding African Americans — which was all previously acceptable across all MLB organizations and created a level playing field league-wide. The weather forecast is sacred in baseball. And the Cubs deflated it. “Clearly, the Cubs were looking at a weather forecast that made them think it was going to rain,” Stearns said Sunday. “Our weather forecast did not indicate that. I think there were five or seven other forecasts that also did not indicate that. Ultimately, it’s the Cubs’ call. “We were a little surprised the game was called as early as it was. I’m sure they had their reasons to do it. Obviously, it didn’t rain. So, from our standpoint, we would have preferred to play yesterday. I talked with some guys with the Cubs. They knew how we felt. That’s one of the earliest games I’ve ever been involved with that was called. That surprised me a little bit.” It shouldn’t surprise that Cubs manager Joe Maddon — a individual who has turned to pitchers playing the outfield to win games — would play fast and loose with the forecast. “I didn’t know that at the time because I was still in the apartment,” Maddon said, per the Journal-Sentinel. “But it’s just like the day before. Everything indicated it was going to be exactly like the day before. “So, that’s the beauty of weather forecasting, and around here it’s very difficult.” As a fellow Italian, I can interpret what Maddon meant: “Ey, yo, wuddya talkin’ about? Da rain musta got lost in transit on da Lufthansa. Yo fuggettaboutit (grabs crotch).” It adds a lot more meaning to Maddon’s comment after Friday’s sloppy, delayed mess: “That was a very awkward day to play baseball.” Be a shame if it were to happen again. “I’m not privy to their forecasting methods or what service they use,” Stearns said. “All I know is what they told us at the time they canceled the game. They certainly knew we preferred to play. We’re of the opinion if there are playable conditions, we’d like to play. It was out of our hands yesterday.” What’s in commissioner Rob Manfred’s hands is declaring all of the heart-warming Cubbiness over the past year to be tainted. What they pulled is an affront to the game, filling a needle with lies and injecting it right into America’s pastime. “Their explanation was the weather here is tough to predict,” Stearns said. “If that’s true, I’m even more confused as to why it was called so early, if the weather here is truly that tough to predict. “It seems like it would have made a lot more sense to wait and see what actually happened with the weather. If there were other reasons the game was called, that’s something that MLB should look into.” Darn right. There were Wrigley “rainouts” last year, too. One was in chilly late April when bats tend to be at their coldest and rescheduled for a split doubleheader in August. How convenient. Who knows what’s on the up-and-up at the Friendly Confines anymore? “Friendly” like a silent business partner, if you know what I mean. Fitting that the bobblehead giveaway — “The Final Out” of the 2016 World Series — was reneged. Everything that statuette represents is a sham. The joy of last season has been “rescheduled” in my heart. The championship flags that fly at Wrigley are banners of shame. The new bullpens are built on a foundation of lies. “I feel bad for their fans,” Counsell said. “A lot of people came to a game and expected good weather. We saw them walking all around Michigan Avenue yesterday afternoon.” No doubt a few of them were confused children. I mean, what am I supposed to tell my kids, if I had any, about dishonesty like this? My childhood itself has been shook irreparably by the Cubs’ dishonesty. When I was a boy, I would wake up before the crack of dawn to beat my dad to the newspaper on our porch. I’d slide it from the protective plastic sheath (great journalism has always been mindful of wetness) and go immediately to the weather forecast, poring over it for hours because I’ve never been a strong reader. I knew at a young age that there’s a sacred symbiosis between the sports and the weather, and man has no right to play God between the two. Because weather isn’t a game. Tim Baffoe is a columnist for CBSChicago.com. Follow Tim on Twitter @TimBaffoe. The views expressed on this page are those of the author, not CBS Local Chicago or our affiliated television and radio stations.
By Nick Shepkowski–
(CBS) A quick look at the record books shows a pretty lame history between the Cubs and Brewers.For starters, the Cubs’ main rival has been and always will be the Cardinals, and the Brewers would say the same about the Twins or White Sox. For a couple of teams so close in proximity, the Cubs-Brewers matchups up until now have been pretty uneventful. They were each other’s first interleague opponents in the summer of 1997 when the Cubs took two of three from a Brewers squad then residing in the AL Central, and a year later Sammy Sosa would hit 12 of his 66 home runs against the new addition to the National League. Save for a Brant Brown dropped fly ball though, the Cubs and Brewers hardly had any real drama. Heck, it took until 2005 for the Brewers to even have their first .500 season as a National League team. Briefly in 2007 and 2008, the two showed a threat of a new rivalry as a young Brewers core jumped out to an 8.5-game lead in 2007 before fading post All-Star break. In 2008, Milwaukee made its first playoff appearance of any kind since 1982, winning the NL wild-card as Chicago won the division. But the rivalry that appeared to be growing stopped as soon as it got started. The Cubs quickly got old and bad, forcing a complete overhaul of their front office. The young Brewers that appeared destined to be a threat in the division for the foreseeable future would make just one more playoff appearance with that core, in six games to the Cardinals in the 2011 National League Championship Series. Those same Cardinals became the class of the NL Central for the next half-decade. Sure, Bob Uecker will take a sideswipe at Cubs fans at just about any opportunity he’s given, and Ryan Braun will get booed as loud as any opposing player in Wrigley Field, but in terms of an actual rivalry, this one has left plenty to be desired. There’s some jabbing between fans at each ballpark just like anywhere else, but in a competitive, meaningful sense? Not at all. At least, until 2017. In April, Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio made headlines for questioning why Brewers first baseman Eric Thames was making such a splash and showing so much power to the opposite field, insinuating he was using performance-enhancing drugs. Cubs starter John Lackey offered a couple of winks when asked about the oppo-taco as well. There was finally some life into this matchup, which I hesitate to even call a “rivalry” until now. Then this weekend happened, which featured Saturday’s postponement two hours before first pitch. It was a rainout, except the rain never came in the afternoon. Perhaps there was residual anger on the Brewers’ part because of the Thames comments made by the Cubs earlier this season, but they were nonetheless upset with the postponement. Before Sunday’s series finale, Milwaukee general manager David Stearns questioned the decision, while manager Craig Counsell mentioned it was the first time players had came to the park with sunburns the day after being rained out. The Brewers had been red-hot entering Saturday, winners of 10 of their previous 12, while the Cubs hadn’t been playing to their potential quite yet, even after sweeping the Reds earlier in the week. In the Brewers’ eyes, it was the Cubs dodging their hot bats and getting rest for a team that only has one off day before mid-June. Both left-handers in the Cubs bullpen, Mike Montgomery and Brian Duensing, were expected to be unavailable Saturday after long outings Friday. And on top of it all, the Brewers have been among the biggest surprises in the NL, playing division-leading baseball nearly two months in. I still doubt their staying power for 2017, but it does appear Stearns has the Brewers headed in the right direction, one I’d assume they’ll continue to head in for years to come. And the Cubs, coming off of their first World Series in 108 years, are seeing what life is like when you’re no longer the “Loveable Loser,” a tag so many have wanted to lose for so long. These first couple Cubs-Brewers series of 2017 have felt different than almost all the series of older days. Maybe the Brewers fade out and aren’t a player in the NL Central in even a couple of weeks or maybe they stay hot and hold our attention until August or September. I don’t know how it plays out, otherwise I’d be in Vegas getting rich off of it. What I do know is that with the anger shown between the two early in 2017 and with both fighting for a division lead, I can’t help but think back to the early days of Bulls-Pacers, White Sox-Twins or Blackhawks-Canucks and think we might be seeing the newest meaningful rivalry for a Chicago team. Nick Shepkowski is a weekend host at 670 The Score and produces The Bernstein and Goff Show each weekday from 1 p.m.-6 p.m. You can find all of his work here and follow him on Twitter @Shep670.