I rip reporters when I think they go off track on the steroids business, most recently with Mark McGwire, so it’s only fair that I point out when someone stone-cold nails it, as Buster Olney did with what he wrote today regarding McGwire (and Tiger Woods):
Why would Tiger Woods need to say he’s sorry out loud? Isn’t that
something that should really be reserved for his family? If Tiger Woods
wanted to bare his soul for the benefit of the public he felt he
betrayed in some way, he’d take all and any questions. If he doesn’t
feel that way … isn’t this whole process all a charade concocted for
the consumption of the media that must be fed? . . .
. . . Mark McGwire has made it clear that he doesn’t feel like his use of
performance-enhancing drugs helped him as a player, and whether we
agree with that or not, this is his stance, which he reiterated
Wednesday. So why would he apologize out loud? Really, it was fairly
evident that his remorse is built in disappointing his father, his son,
Tony La Russa, and others close to him.
But McGwire did his
thing, and now Tiger Woods will follow, in the confessors’ version of
the media perp walk. None of it speaks well of where we are in 2010, in
this business of truth-seeking.
McGwire had to be at least somewhat forthcoming simply because he was asking for a job, and MLB probably wouldn’t have approved of it if he didn’t say something,* but I think he’s said all we can expect of him. But Buster is absolutely right that this ongoing drama, such as it is, is more about the media’s sense of self-entitlement than it is about remorse, real or imagined.
*Woods, on the other hand could easily issue a press release that says “I have made apologies to those who are entitled to them, and will say nothing further about my family or my personal life in public from now on. I will resume playing golf in the ThusandSuch Invitational this April. Any questions that aren’t about golf will be ignored. Thanks.” In fact, I hope he does something like that and transforms this into a full-blown pro wrestling-style heel turn. What will people do? He’s Tiger Woods. Golf needs him more than he needs it right now.
After 71 years, the Cubs are headed back to the Fall Classic.
The dominance with which Clayton Kershaw attacked the Cubs in Game 2 of the NLCS was nonexistent in Game 6 as the Dodgers’ ace loaded the bases to start the first inning and scattered five extra bases and five runs over five frames. By the time Dave Roberts pulled his starter in the sixth inning, Kershaw was sitting on a Game Score of 33, the lowest he’s mustered since the start of the 2015 season. Only one of his strikes came via curveball, and whether he was having difficulty locating his off-speed stuff or felt more confident with the fastball-slider combo, it was the fewest curves he’d seen land for strikes all year (per David Adler).
Where the Dodgers were able to give Kershaw the edge in Game 2, they found themselves powerless against opposing hurler Kyle Hendricks. Hendricks turned out 7 1/3 scoreless frames with two hits and six strikeouts, preserving the Cubs’ second shutout of the postseason and the first since they bested the Giants in Game 1 of the NLDS. After his 1-0 loss to the Dodgers early in the NLCS, seeing the MLB ERA leader turn out a gem was a relief for the Cubs, especially one as spectacular as an 88-pitch two-hitter.
With Hendricks effectively stymieing the Dodgers’ best attempts to get on base, the Cubs played to their strengths at the plate. Kris Bryant and Ben Zobrist cleared the bases in the first inning for a two-run lead, followed by a Dexter Fowler RBI single in the second. Willson Contreras came through in the fourth inning for the Cubs, lifting an 87 m.p.h. slider to left field for his first home run of October, while Anthony Rizzo hit his second homer of the postseason on a 1-1 fastball in the fifth.
Neither bullpen allowed a single run from the sixth inning onward. Dodgers’ right-hander Kenley Jansen took the ball from Kershaw in the sixth, scattering four strikeouts over three innings and denying the Cubs so much as a single baserunner through the end of the game. Aroldis Chapman, meanwhile, issued just one walk in 1 1/3 scoreless frames, inducing a Yasiel Puig double play to clinch the Cubs’ 17th franchise pennant.
With the win, the Cubs will face off against the Indians in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday at 8 PM EDT. And, in case you needed a reminder:
So much for Clayton Kershaw posing a threat tonight. The Cubs got their knocks in early and often against the Dodgers’ ace during Game 6 of the NLCS, racking up three runs in the first three innings before rookie catcher Willson Contreras unleashed his first postseason home run in the bottom of the fourth inning.
According to MLB.com’s Phil Rogers, Contreras became the 10th Cub to homer in the 2016 playoffs, following big hits by Addison Russell, Anthony Rizzo, Dexter Fowler, Miguel Montero, David Ross, Jake Arrieta, Kris Bryant, Travis Wood, and Javier Baez. Of the ten home run hitters, Contreras joins catchers David Ross and Miguel Montero as yet another backstop capable of driving the long ball (and, less importantly, as another player capable of a sweet, sweet bat flip).
Rizzo, whose last homer was a deep drive to right field off of Los Angeles right-hander Pedro Baez in Game 4 of the NLCS, piled on Kershaw’s five-run outing with another home run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Kershaw called it a night after five frames, and the Cubs currently lead the Dodgers 5-0 in the sixth inning.