It’s a big weekend in Tiger sports.
The football team is heading to Aberdeen to face yet another chance to put an end to years of losing to the Cavaliers, while the Lady Tigers are getting ready to take another run at winning their own tournament.
But I have to tell you that right now, I am scoreboard watching. It’s September and the NL Central race is hotter than hot. My Cubbies hold a three-game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers and a 4.5-game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Cubs have dropped two in a row to the Brewers, so no one is ready to start dancing in the streets in Wrigleyville. At least not yet.
Even though the Cubs have the best record in the National League, it has not been an easy season. The Cubs have never really looked like the best team in the Senior Circuit. It goes to reason that they, even though a very young team, are not always playing like spring chickens in baseball’s war of attrition. The Cubs sent to the NL championship series on 2015, won the World Series title in 2016 and then went to the championship series again last year. Going into this fourth year, the Cubs have played a whole lot more baseball than any team in either league.
They are still winning, and winning at a good clip, but they are showing the wear and tear the last few years have taken. Kris Bryant, the 2016 MVP, just got back after missing a month with an ailing shoulder. Anthony Rizzo, the heart and soul of the team, looked like every day was a struggle until after the All-Star break. Ace pitcher Jon Lester has been up and down despite building a 15-5 record.
Here’s to hoping the boys in the blue pinstripes can take advantage of a good schedule the rest of the way. After tonight’s game in Milwaukee, the Cubs do not have a single road game left against Central opponents. The Brewers will be at Wrigley Field next week. The Cubs and Cardinals do not play again until the last series of the regular season. Fellow Central foes Cincinnati and Pittsburgh will also be in town, but probably with their bags packed and plans made for their offseason vacations. The Cubs also have to play the NL West leading Diamondbacks in Arizona and they have three games coming against their crosstown rival, the White Sox.
It is not going to be easy pickings for the Cubs. If they want to do what no other Cubs team before them has done and win the NC Central four straight years, they are going to have to clear some hurdles.
Until then, pardon me if I’m scoreboard watching.
Okay, let’s talk about Nike and its Colin Kaepernick campaign.
Here’s my thing. Nike is getting what they wanted, I think. What they wanted was an ad campaign that put them at the front of everyone’s mind. But sports and politics have never made good bedfellows and it’s never been good for the one making the political statement.
We’ll see where this goes. It is reported that Nike made $43 million yesterday, but it is also reported that their stock dropped two points. They are in the public consciousness, that is for sure.
I don’t care which side of the political spectrum you are on. As you can see by my column, that the Cubs, Tigers and Lady Tigers all matter more to me.
But here are a couple of thoughts. Even if you are angry as can be, don’t go burning your shoes. I’ve seen a few shoe-burnings on the Internet. No one is burning their new $140 Nikes. They are just digging into the closet and burning the ones they forgot to throw out. I’m not a Nike wearer, but only because my feet don’t like them.
My other thought is, if I were another shoe company, I would take advantage of this hoopla. Don’t you think it is a great time for a company like Adidas or New Balance or Puma to come out with an ad campaign like this?
BALL FIVE: Pardon me if I’m busy scoreboard watching
It’s a big weekend in Tiger sports.