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Kris Bryant is the Clear Choice for NL MVP

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Just as Bryce Harper was the easy choice for the NL MVP Award last season, Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant is the obvious choice this year.

The Cubs are on pace to win over 100 games this season. They’ve already clinched the NL Central and currently own the best record in the MLB. A big reason for their success has been Kris Bryant and what he’s been able to do offensively.

Bryant, 24, is in his second year in the majors. He had a very impressive rookie season with the Cubs last year. He batted .275 with 26 home runs and 99 RBIs. He also had a .488 slugging percentage. This stellar season earned Bryant an All-Star appearance, as well as the NL Rookie of the Year Award. The Cubs made the playoffs and eventually lost to the New York Mets in the NLCS.

Just like his team, Bryant had very high expectations going into the 2016 season. He showed a lot of potential during his first year. Looking at how he’s performed in 2016, he’s definitely been able to live up to those expectations.

Bryant has undoubtably put up MVP-caliber numbers. He’s hitting .295 with 38 homers and 99 RBIs. His on-base percentage is .387, and his slugging percentage is up to .564. He has scored an NL-leading 117 runs. Back in July, he started at third base for the NL All-Star team. This has been a season to remember for Bryant.

On a team loaded with offensive talent, Bryant has managed to stand out. The entire starting infield for the NL All-Star Team this year was made up of Cubs players. Bryant, Addison RussellBen Zobrist and Anthony Rizzo were all starters for the NL. All four are extremely talented players.

Not only has Bryant been able to stand out on a very good Chicago Cubs team, but he’s also been able to separate himself from other top players in the NL. His main competition for NL MVP right now includes Washington Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy, Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager and Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado.

Murphy is probably the only one out this group that has a real chance to catch Bryant. He’s hitting .347 with 25 home runs and 104 RBIs. He’s second in the NL in batting average and tied for second in RBIs. It’s sort of odd that Murphy and not Bryce Harper is the Nationals player that has a chance to win MVP this year. No one really expected Murphy to have this kind of season when Washington signed him this past offseason.

Arenado has put up the stats to compete with Murphy and Bryant for MVP. He’s batting .292 and leads the NL in home runs and RBIs with 39 and 128 respectively. The only problem is that he’s on the Rockies. Colorado is currently under .500 and has already been eliminated from playoff contention. Usually, the MVP goes to a player on a team that reaches the postseason. Last season was an exception, as Bryce Harper won the award even though the Nationals did not make the playoffs. This was really because there was no other player in the National League in 2015 that had comparable stats to Harper.

In the end, it will probably come down to Bryant, Murphy and Arenado. Murphy and Bryant have an edge because they are on teams that are going to the playoffs. Even though Murphy has had a really impressive season, Bryant is the clear choice for NL MVP. He has stood out on a Cubs team that has the best young talent in the sport. That’s no easy feat.

 

Aspring sports broadcaster/writer. Freshman Television-Radio major at Ithaca College. Die-hard Mets, Giants, Nets, and Devils fan.

Chicago Cubs

MLB Investigating Racist Social Media Messages Sent to Cubs’ Carl Edwards Jr.

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Major League Baseball is investigating racial messages sent, via social media, to Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Carl Edwards Jr. prior to his demotion to the Triple-A Iowa Cubs back on April 6th.

According to The Athletic’s Patrick Mooney, the messages have caught the attention of both the Cubs and the MLB Players Association, leading to the launch of the investigation.

Mooney had been a solid bullpen option during the last few seasons, but had a nightmare start to the 2019 season posting a terrible 32.40 ERA in just 1.2 innings of work over four appearances.

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Chicago Cubs Signs Big Name Free Agent

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Over the weekend, the Chicago Cubs announced that they have signed MLB free agent and Japanese Phenom Yu Darvish from free agency according to multiple sources.

Before joining Major League Baseball, Darvish was playing in the  Nippon Professional Baseball League with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters down in Japan. After spending six years with the team, many MLB scouts tapped him as being one of the top Major League prospects in several years.

In 2012, Darvish signed with the Texas Rangers. Yu Darvish played with the Rangers four full seasons and half of the 2017 season with the Texas Rangers and the Los Angeles Angels. In his five year MLB career, he has a 56-43 record, as a starting pitcher, 1,021 strikeouts, and a 3.42 ERA.

Now, Darvish is going to start the 2018 season playing for the one of the most historic teams in baseball history… The Chicago Bears.

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Steve Bartman Issued World Series Ring By Chicago Cubs

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One fateful night at Wrigley Field.

October 14, 2003.

The Chicago Cubs were five short outs away from their first World Series appearance since 1945. With a 3-0 lead against the Florida Marlins in the eighth inning of Game 6 and Mark Prior dealing on the mound, thousands of fans throughout Chicago were on the brink of celebration.

Until one play—one infamous play—changed everything.

After a one-out double by Juan Pierre, Luis Castillo comes to bat against Prior. Castillo works the count full, and on Prior’s 113th pitch, hits a foul pop-up down the first base line. Left-fielder Moises Alou seems to be in position to make the play as he times his leap while reaching into the stands, until a fan—wearing headphones while sporting a Cubs hat—appears to interfere with the ball. Alou’s visibly angry after failing to make the catch, glaring at the fan as he makes his way back to his position in left.

That one fan’s name was Steve Bartman. And from that point on, his life had changed forever.

On the next pitch and ninth of the at-bat, Castillo walks as Pierre advances to third on a passed ball. Ivan Rodriguez’s up next. Prior gets ahead 0-2, but hangs a curveball as Rodriguez promptly slaps a single to left to make the score 3-1. Up steps 20-year-old rookie Miguel Cabrera. On the first pitch, he hits a grounder that shortstop Alex Gonzalez boots. Everyone’s safe. Bases loaded and one out now. Up next is Derrek Lee, coming off a career year in 2003 up to that point. Prior’s at 118 pitches. Kyle Farnsworth is loose in the pen. Manager Dusty Baker leaves Prior in. On the first pitch and Prior’s 119th of the game, Lee drives a fastball to left to drive in two runs.

Tied at three. Prior’s night is done. Here comes Farnsworth.

Intentional walk, sac fly, intentional walk. Here comes the light-hitting righty Mike Mordecai to hit with two outs and the bases full of fish. All Farnsworth has to do to keep it a one-run game is get him out. Keep it close and within reach. But it wasn’t to be, as Mordecai rips a double in the left-center field gap. Three runs score, now the Cubs are down 7-3. Exit Farnsworth. Florida scores one more that inning, wins 8-3, wins Game 7 to advance to and eventually win the World Series, and the rest is history.

And who were Cub fans most angry at?

You already know.

Soon after the floodgates had opened in that disastrous eighth inning, Bartman had to be escorted out of Wrigley Field by security personnel soon after fans began chanting and pointing. Drinks and other debris were thrown at him, insults were hurled his way left and right, and his life was never the same. Following the incident, personal information about him was released on online-message boards. Cruisers even had to surround his home for his own safety. It wasn’t too pretty.

Bartman was Chicago’s public enemy #1, as many Cub fans associated him with the Curse of the Billy Goat.

However, that curse finally ended last season, as the Cubs won their first World Series since 1908 to put an end to the longest championship drought in professional sports.

Two days ago, Monday, Cubs owner Tom Ricketts handed out World Series rings in his office to players and other team members.

And none other than Mr. Bartman himself.

In a statement from Ricketts, he said: “On behalf of the entire Chicago Cubs organization, we are honored to present a 2016 World Series Championship ring to Mr. Steve Bartman. We hope this provides closure on an unfortunate chapter of the story that has perpetuated throughout our quest to win a long-awaited World Series.”

Bartman also made a statement, breaking his silence:

“Although I do not consider myself worthy of such an honor, I am deeply moved and sincerely grateful to receive an official Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series Championship ring. I am fully aware of the historical significance and appreciate the symbolism the ring represents on multiple levels. My family and I will cherish it for generations. Most meaningful is the genuine outreach from the Ricketts family, on behalf of the Cubs organization and fans, signifying to me that I am welcomed back into the Cubs family and have their support going forward. I am relieved and hopeful that the saga of the 2003 foul ball incident surrounding my family and me is finally over.”

If this is how the Cubs organization saw fit to finally put an end to the “Bartman play”, then great. I can dig it. One can’t help but feel for Bartman. He made a mistake. Since that night he hasn’t made any appearances at Wrigley, has declined interviews, and for the most part has been out of the public eye.

Even though it was just one play, it’s not the reason the Cubs lost that game or the series. It changed the course of the game for sure, but Chicago just couldn’t seal the deal. Prior hung an 0-2 pitch to Pudge, Gonzalez boots a ball, Farnsworth doesn’t do his job, Cubs can’t win Game 7 which was also at Wrigley. The Cubs made mistakes, but of course, it was easy for their fans to create a scapegoat.

But it’s all over now.

Who knows, maybe a first-pitch at Wrigley will be in Bartman’s near future. We’ll see.

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