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Video: The Cubs sing and dance on SNL

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Winning the World Series comes with its share of perks: city-wide parades, trips to the White House, appearances on late night talk shows and so forth. The Cubs have already gotten a taste of the postseason festivities with their record-breaking parade on Friday and an appearance on Saturday Night Live.

Anthony Rizzo, David Ross, and Dexter Fowler repped the Cubs during the fifth episode of SNL, first appearing as a trio of male dancers who are hired for the bachelorette party of an unconscious 83-year-old grandmother, as portrayed by SNL repertory player Aidy Bryant. The players got up close and personal with Bryant’s character when one of the other dancers (SNL featured player Mikey Day) offered the grandmother a complimentary performance from the “World Series champion Chicago Cubs.”

Fowler: “What’s up, girls? Who wants to hit a ‘granny slam’?”

Ross: “Don’t worry, Grandma, Grandpa Rossy’ll take good care of you.”

Rizzo: “It’s your lucky night, we’re about to pull a triple-header.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BvTLBgpSxQ

The three Cubs later returned for Weekend Update, during which Update co-anchor Colin Jost congratulated the trio on becoming the first-ever winners of Weekend Update’s “The Voice” competition. Jost was quick to press them for their reactions to the news:

Rizzo: “It’s unbelievable.”

Ross: “I can’t describe it.”

Fowler: “This is the best thing we’ve ever done.”

Resplendent in boater hats and monogrammed sweaters, the Cubs were joined by Bill Murray for a lively rendition of “Go Cubs Go,” accompanied by a troupe of back-up singers that they “didn’t know was against the rules.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Og_oKpMfvoA

The Cubs will return to late-night television on Monday evening, when Rizzo, Fowler, and World Series MVP Ben Zobrist are scheduled to appear on “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon. Ross and Kris Bryant will make an additional appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” on Tuesday.

Young Blue Jays say they aren’t intimidated by top seed Rays

Blue Jays roster and schedule
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) When the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays opened the pandemic-delayed season a little over two months ago, there was little to indicate the AL East rivals might meet again to begin the playoffs.

While the Rays launched the truncated 60-game schedule with expectations of making a strong bid for their first division title in a decade, the Blue Jays generally were viewed as an immensely talented young team still years away from postseason contention.

Tampa Bay didn’t disappoint, shrugging off a slow start to go a league-best 40-20 and claim the No. 1 seed in the AL playoffs that begin Tuesday.

Lefty Blake Snell, who’ll start Game 1 of the best-of-three wild-card series against Toronto at Tropicana Field, also isn’t surprised that the eighth-seeded Blue Jays earned a spot, too.

The Rays won six of 10 games between the teams during the regular season, but were outscored 48-44 and outhomered 17-11.

And while Toronto (32-28) lacks the playoff experience Tampa Bay gained last season when the Rays beat Oakland in the AL wild-card game before falling to Houston in the divisional round, the Blue Jays are building with exciting young players such as Cavan Biggio, Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

“They’ve got a lot of young guys who can ball over there,” Snell said. “It’s going to be fun to compete and see how we do.”

Rays defensive whiz Kevin Kiermaier said Tampa Bay, in the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the second time franchise history, will not take the Blue Jays lightly.

“We know we’re playing a real good team,” Kiermaier said. “It’s not going to be easy, regardless of what a team is seeded.”

The Blue Jays, who’ll start right-hander Matt Shoemaker, aren’t conceding anything.

Bichette said he and his teammates respect how good Tampa Bay is, but are not intimidated by facing the No. 1 seed.

“I would say that we didn’t care who we played. I would say that we didn’t mind playing Tampa, that’s for sure. We’re familiar with them. We’ve played them well,” Bichette said.

“I think we’re confident in our ability against them. Our talent matches up well,” Bichette added. “We think if we play well we’ve got a good chance.”

NO FANS

The stands at Tropicana Field will be empty, leaving players to wonder what the atmosphere will be like for the playoffs.

Tampa Bay routinely rank at or near the bottom of the majors in attendance, but usually pack the stands in the domed stadium during the postseason.

“It will be different,” Bichette said. “Normally when you think of your first postseason you think 40,000, you think about not being able to think it’s so loud, stuff like that.”

The Blue Jays open the playoffs near where they hold spring training in Dunedin, Florida. It’s been a winding road for Toronto, which played its home games in Buffalo, New York, at the site of its Triple-A affiliate after the Canadian government barred the Blue Jays from hosting games at their own stadium because of coronavirus concerns.

CONFIDENT RAYS

Tampa Bay’s five-game loss to Houston in last year’s divisional round was a source of motivation during the regular season.

“It definitely lit a fire under everybody. It really showed us we belong. … We gave them a tough series,” second baseman Brandon Lowe said.

“We won the wild-card game. We belong in the postseason. I think that did a lot for us to understand that we should be in the postseason and we can go a lot farther. We know what to expect this time around. I think everyone in our clubhouse expects to be playing until the end of October,” he said.

CLOSE FRIENDS

Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash has the Rays in the playoffs for the second time. His close friend and former Rays third base and bench coach Charlie Montoyo is in his second year as manager of the Blue Jays, who last made the playoffs in 2016.

“Pretty special,” Cash said of his relationship with Montoyo.

“I really learned a lot from him being around him. The way he carried himself. His hand print is throughout this organization,” Cash added. “A pretty big impact and a positive one. … When they clinched I talked to him, we face-timed at 1:30 in the morning. I’m so happy for him.”