“Theo Epstein is trying to save the world again”

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Over at The Big Read, Joe Posnanski talks to Theo Epstein about The Cubs Way and how, once again, he is trying to save a franchise which is more famous for its futility than its glory.

There is a lot of good stuff in here, as it pretty much covers Epstein’s entire career. Just one of many interesting passages comes when he compared Boston and Chicago:

“Anyone who has spent time in both places will tell you that there’s more of an edge in Boston. Maybe it goes back to our puritanical roots, I don’t know. There’s just an innate cynicism. Even when things were going well, there was a sense of ‘when’s the other shoe going to drop?’ … In Chicago there seems to be a little more optimism. You see it at Wrigley Field. Even in a losing season, a player makes a nice catch and everyone is up, cheering and lifting their beers as if there’s no better place in the world at that moment. I just think there’s more optimism, more belief, less dread than in Boston.”

Block off a chunk of your morning and check it out.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.