Grand Avenue in Gurnee to temporarily close beginning Dec. 1 – Chicago Daily Herald

As part of ongoing improvements on Grand Avenue between Skokie Highway and Waveland Avenue in Gurnee, the Illinois Department of Transportation will close Grand for nearly a week, weather permitting, beginning Dec. 1.

The closure is necessary to demolish the Union Pacific Railroad temporary bridge.

Starting at 7 p.m., Grand Avenue will be fully closed at the railroad bridge, just east of Skokie Highway, until 5 a.m. Dec. 7, weather permitting. A detour will direct traffic to Skokie Highway, Washington Street and Green Bay Road. Temporary pavement will be constructed between Skokie Highway and Waveland Avenue.

The week of Dec. 7 until early spring, Grand Avenue will be two lanes in each direction. In early spring, it will return to one lane in each direction to accommodate work.

The overall project consists of removal and replacement of the bridge, new sidewalks, curbs, retaining walls and storm sewers. It also includes widening Grand Avenue and is anticipated to be completed in the summer.

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Grand Avenue in Gurnee to temporarily close beginning Dec. 1 - Chicago Daily Herald

What It Looks Like When a Cubs Position Player Stagnates, Jed’s Good Trade, and Other Cubs Bullets – bleachernation.com

Im still trying to get my feet under me after yesterday, and the weeks that preceded it. I know we can get a little overwrought and maudlin in these situations its just sports, folks but, first of all, its OK to feel what you feel. Thats just a life thing. Dont ever let anyone tell you that your feelings are bogus, and also dont do that to yourself. It only makes it worse. Second of all, for me, once I get past thefeelings, it still takes me a hot minute to actually plant my feet in whatever new world has sprung up around me. Doing a set of normal Bullets, for example, just feels so bizarre when theres so much changing in this organization, and the way we fans will experience it. To say nothing of, you know, the pandemic that is still a thing.

All right lets try this out

Maybe there are some lessons to be learned from how things played out with Albert Almora, the first draft pick of the Theo Epstein era, who was non-tendered this week. Bryan dropped a note on Almoras adjustments in the big leagues or, more precisely, his inability to adjust to the pitchers clearly making a very obvious adjustment and it got me digging in a little more:

That is, of course, not a bizarre situation most hitters come up better prepared to hit fastballs than MLB-caliber breaking stuff. Whats striking with Almora is just how extreme and linear and obvious the leagues adjustment was and how Almora never improved. Consider his whiff rate and his expected wOBA against breaking pitches:

2016: 34.0%, .2152017: 39.0%, .2122018: 39.3%, .2232019: 35.3%, .2142020: 40.9%, .158

Those are just such terrible numbers (particularly the xwOBAs), and completely stagnant despite the fact he was seeing those pitches more and more each year. Almora could always hit fastballs and changeups, but as pitchers learned (1) how to better locate those pitches to take advantage of his contact ability and poor pitch recognition, and (2) to just throw him more curves and sliders, his offensive trajectory tanked. Maybe theres a one-neat-trick to helping him better recognize and attack breaking pitches, but thats outside the scope of my knowledge, especially when its five years in a row that look like that. The Cubs had reasons to keep Almora up with the big league team because of his glove and because they convinced themselves he was a righty bat who could hit lefties, but you just wonder if he could have been developed better.

Compare Almora, for example, to Javy Bez another righty Cubs hitter people think of when talking about crushing fastballs and struggling against breaking pitches who was just as brutal against breaking pitches in his first few years, but who eventually started abusing them in his breakout 2018 and 2019 seasons. Maybe thats just a credit to Bez, specifically, and a debit to Almora. But, again, I just wonder if there was something else in the way the two were developed as prospects (Bez got a taste of big league pitching in 2014, and then was sent to AAA in 2015 to work on things before returning to the big leagues for good).

Oh, and your early look at a guy who fits that Almora profile? Its Nico Hoerner, who has destroyed fastballs (and never, ever misses them) in his first two partial big league seasons, but has been humbled by breaking pitches. He didnt whiff a ton against them, but his expected wOBAs were atrocious. Heck, his average launch angle against breaking pitches in 2020 was NEGATIVE 3 degrees. When he got a breaking pitch this year, if he swung, Hoerner was pretty likely to put it into play on the ground. Thats not good, and its another example of pitchers taking advantage of his contact ability. Now, will he get a chance to go work on it more in the minor leagues, or are the Cubs going to risk the Almora route? Also, a reminder that Hoerner has had almost no minor league experience. He got a taste in 2019 because of injuries (and, I suspect, because the Cubs wanted him to see how big league pitching would attack him), and then he stuck with the team in 2020 because there was no minor league season. Hoerner starting the year at AAA should be the expectation right now, not a surprise.

As for Kaspers replacement, all the talk yesterday from the Cubs and Marquee was about a search process, and despite rumors to the contrary, Marquee is denying that Chris Myers already has the job (though he does have *A* job with Marquee):

Jed did a good trade 10 years ago:

Seriously, though, I still remember when that trade happened (BN was about two years old at that point), and Kelly was the big name by far. And Fuentes was this huge upside youngster. Rizzo, by contrast, was viewed as a possible solid future bat at first base, but hed been a 6th rounder out of high school three years earlier, and had yet to set the minor leagues on fire. Yet we now know from Theo Epstein that it was Jed Hoyer who insisted that Rizzo be in the deal, instead of the guy Epstein was pushing. That guy, Lars Anderson, was actually a consensus top 100 prospect at the time (Rizzo was not), who *had* been lighting up the minor leagues at the time. Yet Hoyer insisted on Rizzo. Thats a win, eh?

Watches, writing utensils, baby gear, and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon. #ad

Our latest pod:

I wont embed all of this thread because its so long, but its worth going over to Twitter to check out the calls if you want to have some memories:

The White Sox got Kasper, but also, theres still this:

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What It Looks Like When a Cubs Position Player Stagnates, Jed's Good Trade, and Other Cubs Bullets - bleachernation.com

Make biking part of your plan to take on the challenges of a COVID-19 winter – Streetsblog Chicago

This article also ran in the Chicago Reader.

Look, I get it. Aside from the usual Seasonal Affective Disorder difficulties, there are plenty of other reasons for Chicagoans to be bummed about the coming of winter in the time of the coronavirus.

As the temperatures dropped this fall and residents gathered indoors again, COVID-19 cases spiked once more. Infectious disease experts say spending time indoors with people you dont live with for nonessential purposes is generally a bad idea during this airborne respiratory pandemic. But the colder, wetter weather is making spending time outside less attractive. Its easy to get discouraged by the situation.

But lets get real: Those of us who are enjoying good physical and mental health and are relatively young; who have the privilege of working from home; and/or arent facing immediate financial difficulties, should stop whining. The Chicagoans dealing with the greatest challenges this winter will be the elderly and people with underlying conditions whose freedom of movement will be limited; residents facing housing and food insecurity; and the essential workers holding society together.

We should also spare a thought for struggling Chicago hospitality employees and business owners at a time when indoor service is banned and many establishments are closing for good. In a more civilized country like New Zealand, theyd be paid a fair stipend to close their establishments during the crisis.

But enough gloom and doom. Im here to give you a pep talk.

While we all have a responsibility to behave in ways that dont put ourselves and others at risk, that doesnt mean you have to be miserable this winter. You might even have more fun than usual if you really embrace the season.

After living through the spring quarantine, youve probably got a whole repertoire of indoor activities. But to keep your spirits up when days are short and skies are gray, remember that fire is your friend. I buy candles that smell pleasantly like whiskey and tobacco and light them on overcast days for instant mood elevation. Warm drinks, cinnamon-laden baked goods, thick knit socks, and all that otherhygge(Scandinavian-style coziness) jazz will be helpful too.

But the real key to staving off the blues this winter will be to stay active and spend as much time outside as possible, as comfortably as possible. If you dont normallydress for the weather, nows the time to start. Make sure you have some decent boots, long johns, and layers of clothing that wont be a drag if they get wet, made of wool, synthetics, or cotton-poly blends. That doesnt require spending a fortune at REImuch of this stuff can also be found at thrift or Army-Navy surplus stores. Maybe invest in a good breathable raincoat or a stylish woolen jacket. Snow suits are also going to be popular this winter.

As for activities, I ran the following ideas by Dr. Richard Novak, head of the division of infectious diseases at UIC, to make sure theyre reasonably corona-kosher.

Novak says spending time around a backyard fire pit or bonfire, preferably with face masks and 6-feet distancing, is a definitely reasonable way to socialize with nonhousehold members. And, again, open flames are sure to lift your spirits on a chilly night. A patio with heaters or grilling on your back porch are great options too. Invite your friends to Bring Your Own Blanket for extra coziness.

Regarding the safety of dining or drinking inopen-air, heated restaurant and bar patioswith a few friends, Novak said this is probably OK as long as the tables are well separated.

Its also been fun to see businesses getting creative about using pedestrianized roadways for weatherproof socially distanced service. For example,The Darlingon West Randolph has adorable little greenhouses adorned with roses sitting on a grassy lawn thats normally diagonal parking. And a whole car-free block of Fulton Market, home to eateries likeThe PublicanandDuck Duck Goat, is filled with clear huts and geodesic domes, along with a groovy street mural.

Novak cautioned me about these kinds of shelters, Airflow is important: the more enclosed a space, the greater the risk. So if the idea of dining or drinking in a transparent igloo or yurt appeals to you, its best to do it with household members only. Moreover, for worker safety, employees should avoid entering these structures while customers are present if possible, or at least everyone should be wearing masks when they do.

For a simpler cold-weather COVID pleasure, try a new outdoor physical activity. Winter biking is an ideal pastime for releasing endorphins and warding off depression. Its also a handy form of socially distanced transportation thats easier and more comfortable than it looks. Just make sure the bike youre riding has fenders and lights. (Divviesare great on both counts.) But dont worry about what kind of tires it hasever since Mayor Michael Bilandic lost reelection afterthe 1979 blizzard, the city of Chicago has donea great job of plowing the roads.

Im also a big fan of urban cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Pick up your gear atViking Ski Shopin Humboldt Park, the citys only dedicated winter sports store, in business for over half a century. When theres sufficient snow, my go-to route is the gravel road that runs along the lakefront from Montrose Avenue to the Waveland Clock Tower, with a breathtaking skyline view, followed by a downhill run at nearby Cricket Hill.

That knoll is also great for sledding. Other good destinations include the Dan Ryan Woods, Palmisano Park, Humboldt Park, and the dedicated sledding hill next to Soldier Field.

Theres sure to be a huge demand for ice skating this winter, so the Maggie Daley Park skating ribbon will be requiring reservations this year and charging a $5 entry fee. (Unfortunately, the Millennium Park rink will be closed.) Eight other Chicago Park District rinks are fairly well-distributed around the city. But it would be great if pop-up facilities were installed in ice deserts like Englewood and Garfield Park, including free loaner skates and lessons, so more people could discover this fun, healthy activity. Hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin, after spending $56.5 million to kill Governor Pritzkers graduated income tax plan, which would have helped lower-income and working-class Illinoisans, how about doing something constructive with your wealth and sponsoring a couple of rinks?

Taking an outdoor stroll at Lincoln Park Zoos ZooLights festival is another great COVID-safe option. (The zoo will be closed after New Years for the rest of the cold season.) And Ill probably head to the Osaka Japanese Garden in Jackson Park this winter to check out Yoko Onos 2016 installation Sky Landing. TheSkokie Northshore Sculpture Parkand theMorton Arboretum, populated by giant wooden troll sculptures (reservations required), also spring to mind as fun winter walking destinations.

As an amateur musician, Ive had a blast playingsocially distanced porch showsthis fall. Novak says this kind of thing is probably OK if audience members social distance and wear masks. So Im looking forward to bundling up and taking in whatever outdoor concerts, theatrical productions, dance performances, and comedy shows talented Chicagoans cook up this winter.

The bottom line is that, despite the COVID threat and a long list of things wecantdo for fun this winter, theres no need for Chicagoans to lose hope and hibernate. Limited options can be a recipe for creativity, and you may find good times in unexpected places.

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Make biking part of your plan to take on the challenges of a COVID-19 winter - Streetsblog Chicago

Dealing with the unexpected: 7 financial steps to take after the death of a spouse or loved one – CNBC

Brenda Pickens lost her husband, Howard, to Covid-19 in March.

Source: Brenda Pickens

Brenda Pickens' life changed dramatically this past spring, when her 63-year-old husband, Howard, died from Covid-19 complications.

His death, which occurred a month after the couple's 28th wedding anniversary, was something they never really planned for.

"We didn't think either one of us would be alone so early in our lives," said Pickens, 62, who also contracted the virus and spent months recovering.

With only a small life insurance policy payout and some retirement savings, she contemplated selling her home in Waveland, Mississippi, and her husband's barbershop, Fade 1, in nearby Bay St. Louis. Pickens was also furloughed from her job at a naval base barbershop.

More from Invest in You:Are you prepared? This is the financial first-aid kit you need to stockHome-rich but cash-poor? What to know about reverse mortgagesHow pandemic has upended the financial lives of average Americans

These days, she's seen some temporary financial relief, including a grant from the state of Mississippi that will keep the barbershop running for about six months. However, Pickens is now battling new health concerns. Since contracting the coronavirus, she has developed heart issues and is seeing a number of specialists.

Fortunately, she has good insurance and is receiving paid time off from her job while on medical leave.

"I'm trying to hang in there, but if push comes to shove, I'll file for disability," she said.

While she has a support system, she is still grieving the loss of her husband.

"It still gets kind of lonely," Pickens said. "He was my best friend."

However financially prepared, or unprepared, you may be, losing a loved one is overwhelming. Not only are you dealing with grief, but there are financial decisions that must also be made. Here are seven steps you can take to help ease the transition.

"It might be tempting to make a lot of decisions all at once," said certified financial planner Stacy Francis, president and CEO of Francis Financial in New York and a member of the CNBC Financial Advisor Council.

That may mean moving to a new place, selling a house, going right back to work and taking a new job.

Her advice: Don't do it.

"Give yourself a little bit of a pause so that you have time to allow yourself to start the grief process and that you give yourself time to navigate this new normal for yourself," she said.

"When you have been through trauma, it is very hard to think clearly."

damircudic | E+ | Getty Images

Finding professional support through, for example, a grief counselor or therapist can help you navigate the mourning process. A financial expert, meanwhile, can help you through money issues concerning insurance, wills, debt and the like.

"Put yourself on a path of not only recovery, but to eventually be able to rebound," said Francis, who specializes in working with widows and widowers and is a certified grief recovery specialist in The Grief Recovery Method approach.

Once you are ready, you can review your finances and reset.

The first thing to do when it comes to finances is to take a look at what money is coming in and how that may have changed since your loss.

You may be facing lower income without your spouse's salary, or you may have some additional funds through a life insurance payout or inheritance.

It is really important to see where you are and to then, once you have all of that information, start to create that new road map for your family

Stacy Francis

president and CEO of Francis Financial

If you have children under age 18, be sure to apply for spousal survivor benefits from Social Security, Francis said. Also, make sure you are collecting any life insurance money you may be entitled to, so reach out to your loved one's employer to see if there was coverage, as well as any private insurers.

Another potential source of money may come from any unclaimed funds. Do a search on your state's online unclaimed funds site for both you and your loved one.

The coronavirus pandemic has already hit people's expenses. Losing a spouse will add to that.

You may need extra childcare or therapy sessions. On the other hand, you may see a decrease in some expenses, like a payment for a second car.

List everything and compare it to what you have coming in and see what needs to be adjusted.

If you have outstanding credit card bills, check with your creditor. Many are already offering programs, like payment deferments or a reduction in interest rate, to help people get through the pandemic.

filadendron | E+ | Getty Images

If you are left with high medical bills in the wake of your loved one's death, talk to a medical billing and health insurance expert, Francis advises.

That can help you truly understand if these are bills you need to pay or if your health insurance wasn't billed properly, with the proper medical coding.

"We've also seen some individuals be able to negotiate with their health insurance," she said. "They just want to get paid.

"The last thing they want to do is have you declare bankruptcy."

Get an understanding of what your finances look like now.

That includes retirement and brokerage accounts, your home's value, your mortgage and any other loans you may have.

Taken together with your expenses and cash flow, it will help you form a plan for your near-term and long-term future and could impact college, retirement and the rest of your life, Francis said.

If you lost your spouse and have children, appoint guardians as soon as possible, even if you aren't ready to take a look at your overall will and estate plan, said New York-based estate-planning attorney Robert Steele.

When things settle down, you can then update your will and beneficiaries on any retirement plans or insurance policies.

"Your will, your estate plan is going to most likely need to change, especially if you have younger children," Steele said.

That includes creating a trust for your kids if they are young, so they don't receive the money outright, and naming a trustee to oversee it.

Additionally, if you lost your spouse, he or she was likely your health-care proxy and had power of attorney. You'll have to choose another person "who you trust and value," Francis said.

In the end, coming up with an overall plan will help you move forward both emotionally and financially.

"While it might be frightening and scary to look at all of this, it is really important to see where you are and to then, once you have all of that information, start to create that new road map for your family," Francis said.

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Dealing with the unexpected: 7 financial steps to take after the death of a spouse or loved one - CNBC

Andrew Raven Thompson – Journal Review

Andrew Raven Thompson of Waveland passed away Sunday night, Sept. 27, 2020, after an auto accident. He was 13.

Born June 1, 2007, at Crawfordsville, he was a seventh grade student at Southmont Jr. High. He loved video games, riding his bike, playing with his brother and sister, going to grandpas, riding tractors and four-wheelers, and had just learned to do a back flip on the trampoline.

Surviving family include: parents, Andrew and Kynda Thompson; brother Odin Thompson; sister Audry Thompson; grandparents, Brad and Yvonne Jones and James and Lisa Bailey; great-grandparents, Ed and Donna Priebe and Keith Brock; uncle Kory Jones; and aunts, Rebecca Jones and Katie Bailey.

He was preceded in death by his grandmother, Tyrina Cronk; great-grandparents, Beverly Brock and Clyde and Carolyn Jones; and uncle James Bailey.

Visitation will be 2-5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3 at the Waveland Christian Church, 212 W. Main St., Waveland. Services will begin at 5 p.m., led by Pastor Dave Keesee. Arrangements were made through Burkhart Funeral Home.

Online condolences may be made at http://www.BurkhartFH.com.

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Andrew Raven Thompson - Journal Review

Flooding impacts Treasure Coast drivers – WPBF West Palm Beach

Hundreds of drivers across the Treasure Coast were impacted by road closures and accidents caused by flooding throughout the area. Well, the rain today just seemed to sit upon us. And kept coming down at times a little heavier than others, said Jeff Stafford, Surfside Grill Employee. Continuous rain caused flooding near Jensen Beach Club north of Waveland, where more than 9 inches of rain fell in the area. Its a lot more than normal in a short period of time, I would say, Stafford said. According to the St. Lucie County sheriffs deputy on scene, low visibility and flooding cause one driver to end up in the drainage ditch in front of Surfside Grill. The accident happened despite the restaurant's efforts to alert customers of the entrance to the parking lot. Well, we purposely put the American flags there so people could see the entranceway, Stafford said. Obviously, he missed that by quite a lot.In Fort Pierce, officials closed Midway Road between 25th Street and Oleander Boulevard.With the amount of flood water, I would say be more careful when you know its raining like that and to slow down and obey the signs, Stafford said.

Hundreds of drivers across the Treasure Coast were impacted by road closures and accidents caused by flooding throughout the area.

Well, the rain today just seemed to sit upon us. And kept coming down at times a little heavier than others, said Jeff Stafford, Surfside Grill Employee.

Continuous rain caused flooding near Jensen Beach Club north of Waveland, where more than 9 inches of rain fell in the area.

Its a lot more than normal in a short period of time, I would say, Stafford said.

According to the St. Lucie County sheriffs deputy on scene, low visibility and flooding cause one driver to end up in the drainage ditch in front of Surfside Grill.

The accident happened despite the restaurant's efforts to alert customers of the entrance to the parking lot.

Well, we purposely put the American flags there so people could see the entranceway, Stafford said. Obviously, he missed that by quite a lot.

In Fort Pierce, officials closed Midway Road between 25th Street and Oleander Boulevard.

With the amount of flood water, I would say be more careful when you know its raining like that and to slow down and obey the signs, Stafford said.

The rest is here:

Flooding impacts Treasure Coast drivers - WPBF West Palm Beach

Here is the latest news from The Associated Press at 3:40 am EDT – KESQ

UNDATED (AP) Tropical storm-force winds are spreading onshore along the northern U.S. Gulf Coast as Hurricane Sally lumbers off the coast. The National Hurricane Center said Tuesday evening that life-threatening flooding is likely as the hurricane edges toward the coast. At 7 p.m., the center of the storm was located about 75 miles south of Mobile, Alabama and about the same distance southwest of Pensacola, Florida. The hurricanes top sustained winds have been clocked at 80 mph. The hurricane is crawling northward toward the coast at 2 mph.

WASHINGTON (AP) Joe Biden is calling President Donald Trump a fool for comments hes made questioning Bidens mental acuity and suggesting Biden takes performance-enhancing drugs. During an interview with Tampas NBC affiliate Tuesday, Biden was asked about Trumps accusations that he is mentally shot and has taken drugs to boost his debate performance. Biden dismissed the presidents comments, calling them foolish and declaring, Im looking forward to the debate and hes a fool. The Democratic presidential nominee continued: Get ready, Mr. President. Here I come. The two will meet for their first presidential debate on Sept. 29 in Cleveland.

WASHINGTON (AP) A Trump health appointee is apologizing for a video in which he reportedly says scientists battling the coronavirus are conspiring against President Donald Trump and warns of shooting in America if Trump loses the election. Michael Caputo, the top spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services, apologized to his staff for the Facebook video, an administration official tells The Associated Press. Separately, Caputo is accused of trying to muzzle an important publication from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the midst of the pandemic. HHS is standing by Caputo, who was not available for an interview.

WASHINGTON (AP) Israel on Tuesday signed historic diplomatic pacts with two Gulf Arab states at a White House ceremony that President Donald Trump declared would mark the dawn of a new Middle East. He also hoped to cast himself as an international peacemaker at the height of his reelection campaign. Hundreds of people massed on the sun-washed South Lawn to witness the signing of agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. The agreements formalize the normalization of the Jewish states already warming relations with the two countries over Iranian aggression in the region. But they do not address the decades-long conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) Models released by the U.S. government suggest a future with less water may arrive sooner than previously projected for the seven states that rely on the Colorado River. After a relatively dry summer, government scientists project Lake Powell and Lake Mead are 12% more likely to fall to critically low levels by 2025 than they projected in the spring. Climate change and prolonged drought have compelled some cities and farms to conserve water to secure the river long term, but it remains overtapped. The projections could complicate already-fraught negotiations between Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming and Mexico over the rivers future.

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Here is the latest news from The Associated Press at 3:40 am EDT - KESQ

Ballhawks at Wrigley Field stay on the lookout – Chicago Sun-Times

Wrigleyville looks different this summer than in years past. Normally, in the hours before a perfect August night game, youd see armies of Cubs fans hopping from Sluggers to The Cubby Bear to Murphys Bleachers before packing 40,000 deep into Wrigley Field. Not so much this year.

Peer behind the left-field bleachers to the corner of Waveland and Kenmore Avenues, though, and a familiar sight remains: A dozen or so people scattered around the intersection with gloves and lawn chairs, eyes cast toward the top of the wall in hopes that theyll be the first to spot a freshly smacked home-run ball sailing over.

The pandemic has forced a shortened MLB season and kept fans out of Wrigley, but for the tried-and-true ballhawks, the routine hasnt changed much, albeit it now is done with masks: Post up for batting practice about three hours before the first pitch, say hi to the regulars and catch any balls that come your way.

On a mid-August afternoon before a game against the Brewers, only one ball made it over the left-field wall during batting practice, bouncing squarely in the middle of the intersection at Waveland and Kenmore before landing in the mitt of Ken Vangeloff, a 30-year ballhawking veteran.

It was the third ball Vangeloff has caught this season. He said that while the general experience remains the same, the coronavirus has brought a few changes. The scads of pedestrians doing their pregame bar crawl are nowhere to be seen, replaced by more first-time ballhawks seeking a new way to experience the game in a season like none before.

For old-timers like Vangeloff, though, the pandemic has given this years ballhawking experience an air of nostalgia. Because there are no fans to fill the seats, there has been no reason for police to implement game-day traffic restrictions on streets around Wrigley, which were only instituted in the early 2000s. This is according to Vangeloff. This means that ballhawks may have to dodge cars as they chase down homers, much like they did when sluggers like Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were belting balls out of the park.

Not only did you have to worry about looking for the ball and catching it, you had to watch out for cars going back and forth, Vangeloff said. So thats brought back an element of risk and danger and fun into it all.

Rich Buhrke, who has been ballhawking since 1959, hasnt noticed changes brought on by the new circumstances as much as those implemented by the Ricketts family ownership over the last decade.

Theres nowhere near as many baseballs [flying over the wall] with all the junk that they put up. They raised the bleachers and moved them back, then they put all this stuff up, Buhrke said, gesturing broadly towards the neighborhood, which, among other things, has seen a hotel, an outdoor plaza and an apartment building sprout up next to the ballpark in recent years.

Most ballhawks miss having fans around, though, if only because they can gauge where a home-run ball might be headed by the reaction of the crowd in the bleachers.

No fans does not help a ballhawk, said Dave Davison, another 30-year veteran. Back in the day you could see the ball coming out of the infield, because there was just a chain-link fence. Now youre waiting for the reaction.

Jodi Swanson, for one, is glad that the ballhawks are coming out despite it all. Though she doesnt chase down balls herself, the single mother began bringing her son to the corner during the Cubs 2015 playoff run and theyve been coming back ever since. The ballhawks set up tees for her boy to practice and have even helped him with his math homework in the past.

Its a very interesting dynamic to watch over the years, they protect each other and theyre straight shooters, Swanson said. Its really kind of a beautiful thing to watch ... its like Field of Dreams, when you get to the end of the movie and you get a feeling for the old baseball you miss. Theyre the old baseball.

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Ballhawks at Wrigley Field stay on the lookout - Chicago Sun-Times

Derby Day tradition to return to Waveland – ABC 36 News – WTVQ

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) While the Kentucky Derby will run without fans this year due to the pandemic, a tradition at Waveland State Historic Site will continue.

We will be serving an elegant breakfast in our beautiful mansion, saidCharla Reed, Park Manager at Waveland State Historic Site.

The annual Derby Day breakfast will include a wide variety of beverages and other breakfast staples, We will have our hot brown dish, cheese grits, fruit, vanilla bean scones and homemade lemon curds and jam. Of course, we have to have the Derby pie bar.

Reed says servers will also be dressed in period clothing.

And to ensure everyones safety,Reed says there will be some added safety precautions, We wont be serving on fine china this year as we normally do.

Reed says everyone must wear a mask and tables will be spaced out both indoors and outdoors.

A lot of people love the tradition of dressing up, putting on a hat and making a big day out of it, said Reed.

Despite the change in date, Reed says Lets celebrate the Derby and Kentucky and theres no better place than Waveland.

Reservations must be made by calling 859-272-3611. Tickets are $45 per person. The breakfast takes place on Saturday, Sept. 5 at 10 a.m.

For more information, click HERE.

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Derby Day tradition to return to Waveland - ABC 36 News - WTVQ

Waveland community group says $2500 donation will widen impact – Journal Review

Nick Hedrick | nhedrick@jrpress.com

WAVELAND As seventh-grader Emery Allen, who belongs on Broadway, stepped up to the town parks stage Friday evening with a medley of show tunes, vendors sold their wares before closing down the farmers market for the season.

The small town summer evening was put on by nonprofit community group Waveland Strong, which will further its mission of promoting the town thanks to a local farmers donation.

Darren Simpson, who lives east of Waveland, presented the volunteers with a $2,500 grant from the Americas Farmers Grow Communities program, sponsored by the Bayer Fund. Simpson said he directed the money to the group as a way to help more than one organization.

Waveland Strong supports local churches and Montgomery County 4-H.

Im very glad to see that theyre doing things that needs to done around the community. They really stepped up when we had a hole [in the community] I guess you could say, Simpson said after presenting the check.

Theyre doing a lot of good things with the talents they have.

The group is waiting on other grant funding, which will help determine how the donation is spent, Waveland Strong president Troy Phillips said.

With Parke Countys Covered Bridge Festival canceled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the group will look for ways to support vendors who set up at the event. A Christmas bazaar is already in the works.

A family game night will be held Sept. 18, followed by a progressive dinner on Sept. 26. A community garage sale is set for October.

The group has also carried out a series of beautification projects, including at the park.

Weve created a presence, and this is the kind of go-to organization in town, member Gina Haile said. They like what were doing and they want to help.

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Waveland community group says $2500 donation will widen impact - Journal Review

David Ross Has "Addressed Some Things That Have Been Lingering for Years" and Other Cubs Bullets – bleachernation.com

We lost our power early this morning, and after an hour or so, it came back on. No big deal. Mustve been something minor. But two minutes after the power came back on, there was a big, ugly sound somewhere outside and the power went right back out. Hasnt come back since. That seems not great.

The Cubs are up to 9-2 on the season, the best record in the National League, and four games clear of the Reds and Cardinals in the NL Central. The Cubs pace wont last, but its also absurd that they have a four-game lead just 11 games into the season. Their playoff odds at FanGraphs are already up to 94.2% thanks to the crazy start and the expanded postseason. It already wouldve been wildly disappointing if the Cubs didnt make the playoffs when 8 teams out of 15 make it, but now it would be even more of a stunner than anything that happened the last two years.

Theo Epstein spoke with the media last night, and Jordan Bastian laid out the full Q&A here for you to peruse and digest. Its nice to appreciate a leader who is so thoughtful and kind at a time like this. Epstein just always seems to hit the right notes, and on the team-pandemic-related stuff, this stood out to me, simultaneously acknowledging certain realities of this process while also underscoring that we shouldnt jump to blame: No set of protocols are perfect. Theyre designed to minimize the risk as best as you possibly can. Theyre designed to put you into a position to reduce your chances of getting the infection. And then, if someone in your organization gets it, theyre designed to try to minimize the spread. Now, obviously, in these first two examples, its proven really difficult to contain the virus once its infiltrated an organization. I think thats the focus of what we need to learn from this and try to make some adjustments. But, its impossible for any set of protocols to eliminate the chance of infection. Thats just not going to happen. So, there should be no inferences out there that everyone whos positive has violated protocols. Thats just not how this is working.

We are each of us constantly at risk for contracting the virus in ways we didnt anticipate, so even as the Cubs have had a great deal of success so far (so much that MLB reportedly reached out to get tips), that doesnt mean itll continue perfectly for another two months.

As for his rookie manager, Epstein was effusive in his praise of David Ross, and hinted that hes already seen improvement in certain areas that seemed deficient by the end of Joe Maddons tenure (and led to those many philosophical differences about organizational complacency): [The whole being less than the sum of the parts is] an area where we collectively have fallen short, I think, the last couple years. I think weve had more talent than the results would indicate the last couple years. You know, thats why there have been different attempts to change the environment. You guys that have followed the club have known that . [Ross] has stepped in and helped address some things that have been lingering for years, you know? And to do that his first month on the job essentially, his first two weeks as a regular season manager, is just really impressive. It just shows hes fearless. Hes alert, observant and has great emotional intelligence, kind of knowing when to step in to challenge a player and call him out, and knowing when to step in and offer a kind word and support and make it really clear that hes got a players back. I think thats a big part of being a leader and being a manager in the Major Leagues these days, and hes just got really good feel for it. And he has not eased his way in. Hes on it in a very, very impressive way.

As we discussed for a long time, Joe Maddon was perfect for the 2015-17 Cubs, and then he was not. It isnt a shot at Maddon or his hands-off style in fact, its more of a shot at the organization as a whole for not more quickly addressing things that fell behind the curve after winning the World Series. Ross was the right guy at this moment to come in the door and organically change player preparation, focus, etc.

Not that you would be surprised at this point, but Ross also has commanded the total respect of his players:

Similarly, from Jon Lester, who underscores that idea that guys just want to do well for Ross (NBCSC): I think the biggest thing with Rossy is just his energy. The presence that he brings when hes in a dugout or in a clubhouse, he demands respect. He demands attention to detail. And guys know that when we show up every day. So, when were out doing our work you kind of feel like hes always watching you. Not in a bad way, but you want to do the right things to keep the line moving offensively or keep the line moving as far as our rotation.

Thats two outings in a row that Kyle Ryan got lit up on the ole hard contact meter, and were it not for his velocity being way down to open this season, it might not concern you right away. But for a guy who was delayed in his start to camp, and who didnt have a lot of velocity to begin with, losing three-ish MPH on his fastball and his cutter is a serious issue. Moreover, the fact that his spin rate is alarmingly down on the cutter is also a serious issue (hes getting far less horizontal movement on the pitch than last year). I think we are already seeing the fruits of that issue in the form of rockets by expected wOBA, Ryans cutter was his best pitch last year, and this year its his worst. I know the Cubs are hard up for lefties at the moment, but until and unless Ryan gets himself right, it already seems like hes another guy that has to have a very short leash, and ideally isnt used in high-leverage moments.

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David Ross Has "Addressed Some Things That Have Been Lingering for Years" and Other Cubs Bullets - bleachernation.com

Wild NHL playoffs move into next stage with final 16 teams – Wilkes Barre Times-Leader

August 06, 2020

The Wyoming Valley Conference athletic directors received two proposals Thursday for new football schedules this season.

The schedule needed to be reworked when the Lackawanna Interscholastic Athletic Association decided to push back its season five weeks and play a five-game schedule exclusive to LIAA schools due to COVID-19 concerns. the original WVC schedule had 34 games against LIAA teams.

One proposal is for a 10-week season starting Aug. 28. The other is for a seven-week season starting Sept. 18.

The proposals also call for two divisions. Division 1: Berwick, Dallas, Hazleton Area, Pittston Area, Wilkes-Barre Area, Williamsport and Wyoming Valley West. Division 2: Crestwood, Hanover Area, Holy Redeemer, Lake-Lehman, Nanticoke Area, Tunkhannock and Wyoming Area.

The athletic directors will confer with their school administration before deciding which schedule to use if fall sports are held.


Starts Aug. 28


Dallas at Nanticoke Area

Hanover Area at Wyoming Area

Hazleton Area at Williamsport

Lake-Lehman at Wilkes-Barre Area

Pittston Area at Crestwood

Southern Columbia at Berwick

Tunkhannock at Wyoming Valley West

bye Holy Redeemer


Dallas at Lake-Lehman

Hazleton Area at Pittston Area

Holy Redeemer at Crestwood

Nanticoke Area at Hanover Area

Williamsport at Wilkes-Barre Area

Wyoming Area at Tunkhannock

Wyoming Valley West at Berwick


Crestwood at Wyoming Area

Hanover Area at Wilkes-Barre Area

Hazleton Area at Berwick

Lake-Lehman at Holy Redeemer

Pittston Area at Dallas

Tunkhannock at Nanticoke Area

Williamsport at Wyoming Valley West


Berwick at Pittston Area

Crestwood at Tunkhannock

Holy Redeemer at Hanover Area

Nanticoke Area at Lake-Lehman

Wilkes-Barre Area at Hazleton Area

Williamsport at Central Mountain

Wyoming Area at Southern Columbia

Wyoming Valley West at Dallas


Berwick at Lake-Lehman

Dallas at Wyoming Area

Hanover Area at Williamsport

Hazleton Area at Crestwood

Holy Redeemer at Nanticoke Area

Pittston Area at Tunkhannock

Wyoming Valley West at Wilkes-Barre Area


Berwick at Williamsport

Lake-Lehman ar Hanover Area

Nanticoke Area at Crestwood

Pittston Area at Wyoming Valley West

Tunkhannock at Hazleton Area

Wilkes-Barre Area at Dallas

Wyoming Area at Holy Redeemer


Crestwood at Hanover Area

Hazleton Area at Dallas

Holy Redeemer at Tunkhannock

Lake-Lehman at Wyoming Area

Pittston Area at Williamsport

Wilkes-Barre Area at Berwick

Wyoming Valley West at Nanticoke Area


Berwick at Crestwood

Hanover Area at Holy Redeemer

Tunkhannock at Lake-Lehman

Wilkes-Barre Area at Pittston Area

Williamsport at Dallas

Wyoming Area at Nanticoke Area

Wyoming Valley West at Hazleton Area


Berwick at Wyoming Area

Crestwood at Wilkes-Barre Area

Dallas at Hanover Area

Holy Redeemer at Pittston Area

Lake-Lehman at Wyoming Valley West

Nanticoke Area at Hazleton Area

Williamsport at Tunkhannock


Dallas at Berwick

Crestwood at Lake-Lehman

Hanover Area at Tunkhannock

Nanticoke Area at Holy Redeemer

Wilkes-Barre Area at Wyoming Valley West

Williamsport at Hazleton Area

Wyoming Area at Pittston Area


Starts Sept. 18


Berwick at Pittston Area

Crestwood at Tunkhannock

Dallas at Wyoming Valley West

Hanover Area at Wyoming Area

Nanticoke Area at Lake-Lehman

Wilkes-Barre Area at Hazleton Area

Williamsport at Central Mountain

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Wild NHL playoffs move into next stage with final 16 teams - Wilkes Barre Times-Leader

Waveland, Mississippi – Wikipedia

City in Mississippi, United States

Waveland is a city located in Hancock County, Mississippi, United States, on the Gulf of Mexico. It is part of the GulfportBiloxi, Mississippi Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city of Waveland was incorporated in 1972. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 6,435.[4] Waveland was nearly destroyed by Hurricane Camille on August 17, 1969, and by Hurricane Katrina on August 29, 2005.

The current mayor of Waveland is Mike Smith.[5]

Andrew Jackson once lived and owned land in Waveland on what is now known as Jackson Ridge.[6] Much of Jackson Ridge later became Buccaneer State Park.[7]

The Silver Slipper Casino opened on November 9, 2006.

On August 17, 1969, Hurricane Camille made landfall at the tip of Louisiana before continuing on shore at Waveland. The storm heavily damaged the areas south of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. Recovery efforts went on for nearly a decade. The town later erected a plaque commemorating the efforts of the volunteers who committed time and resources towards rebuilding.

The city of Waveland was "ground zero" of Hurricane Katrina's landfall on August 29, 2005. The city received massive damage and is still in the process of recovering and rebuilding. South of the CSXT mainline, the area was almost completely destroyed. The rest of the city took heavy flooding. In a news report, state officials said Waveland took a harder hit from the wind and water than any other town along the Gulf Coast, and that the town was obliterated. 36 years earlier, in 1969, Waveland had been severely damaged by Hurricane Camille.[8]

Official reports stated that approximately 50 people died when Waveland was hit directly by the eyewall of Katrina and the 26-foot (7.9m) storm surge. Hurricane Katrina came ashore during the high tide of 8:01AM, +2.2 feet more.[9]

Hurricane Katrina damaged over 40 Mississippi libraries, gutting the Waveland Public Library, as a total loss, requiring a complete rebuild.[10]

A group of social activists seeking to better the lives of local residents, called the "Rainbow Family", arrived in Waveland soon after Hurricane Katrina. From early September to early December 2005, they ran the "New Waveland Cafe & Clinic"[11][12] in the parking lot of Fred's Dept Store on Highway 90. The caf provided free hot meals three times a day. The clinic was staffed by volunteer doctors and nurses from throughout the United States who saw over 5,000 patients during the duration, free of charge and dispensing free medications. Donations of medications and supplies came from a multitude of sources, with International Aid[13] arranging the most donations. This was the first experience of the counter-culture Rainbow Family in running a disaster relief center. The Bastrop Christian Outreach Center also volunteered with the Rainbow Family.

Waveland Elementary School, which has served public school students in Grades K-3 (Grades 4-5 attend Second Street Elementary in nearby Bay St. Louis), was heavily damaged by Katrina. The students attending the school were educated in portable classrooms for the beginning of the 20062007 school year, pending a permanent solution.[14]

The recovery of Waveland was due in part to the faith-based disaster recovery effort in and around the Waveland area. Shoreline Park Baptist Church in Waveland and Pastor Ed Murphy were vital to this effort, housing and feeding hundreds of missionaries from around the country for many years following Hurricane Katrina in what were referred to as "Pods for God". Shoreline Park Baptist Church directed the repair and, in some instances, the rebuilding of homes in the area for many years after the devastation.[15][16]

Waveland is in southeastern Hancock County along the shore of Mississippi Sound, an embayment of the Gulf of Mexico. It is bordered to the north and northeast by the city of Bay St. Louis. U.S. Route 90 passes through the northern side of the city, leading east across the Bay of Saint Louis 18 miles (29km) to Gulfport and west 55 miles (89km) to New Orleans.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Waveland has a total area of 8.6 square miles (22.4km2), of which 8.5 square miles (22.0km2) are land and 0.2 square miles (0.4km2), or 1.66%, are water.[4]

As of the census[18] of 2000, there were 6,674 people, 2,731 households, and 1,783 families residing in the city. The population density was 980.2 people per square mile (378.4/km2). There were 3,442 housing units at an average density of 505.5 per square mile (195.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 85.38% White, 11.21% African American, 0.49% Native American, 1.50% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.49% from other races, and 0.90% from two or more races. 2.02% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 2,731 households out of which 31.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.6% were married couples living together, 14.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.7% were non-families. 29.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 3.01.

In the city, the population was spread out with 26.0% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 28.3% from 25 to 44, 23.9% from 45 to 64, and 14.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $33,304, and the median income for a family was $38,438. Males had a median income of $29,762 versus $21,694 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,413. 13.7% of the population and 11.6% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 15.6% of those under the age of 18 and 11.7% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.

Waveland is served by the Bay St. Louis-Waveland School District.

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Waveland, Mississippi - Wikipedia

Waveland, IN – Waveland, Indiana Map & Directions – MapQuest

Waveland is a town in Brown Township, Montgomery County, Indiana, United States. The population was 420 at the 2010 census.Waveland was platted by John Milligan in 1835. The settlement began as a resting place at a good spring between Terre Haute and Lafayette, Indiana. After a trading post and post office were established, Milligan developed the surrounding property. By 1850, the town had three general stores, three churches, two inns, two wagon shops and a blacksmith. Waveland was the boyhood home of American Impressionist T. C. Steele. His parents, Samuel and Harriett, moved to the thriving settlement when Steele was five years old, around 1852. Steele's father rented a saddle shop from John Milligan. Young Steele was enrolled in the outstanding Waveland Academy. The Presbyterian Church had recognized the need for higher learning in this community and provided a new brick building for the education of children. Steele family records show that, until 1870, they owned the cottage at 110 Cross Street in Waveland, built on one of Milligan's lots.Waveland is located at 395242N 87235W / 39.87833N 87.04306W / 39.87833; -87.04306 (39.878330, -87.042937).

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Waveland, IN - Waveland, Indiana Map & Directions - MapQuest

As Tropical Storm Isaias nears the Treasure Coast Sunday morning, the curious visit Waveland Beach in St. Lucie County – TCPalm

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David Comstozk, 72, of Port St. Lucie, walks toward an empty Waveland Beach as Tropical Storm Isaias nears the Treasure Coast.(Photo: MAX CHESNES / TCPALM)

TCPALM is providing full access to Hurricane Isaias coverage as a public service to our readers. Please support local journalism by subscribing to TCPALM. Follow us on Instagram @tcpalm.

Just before 9 a.m., David Comstozk walked slowly toward an empty Waveland Beach in St. Lucie County, not far over the Martin County line.

The 72-year-old took his time reaching the shore as a steady wind, likely somewhere around 40 mph, blew directly at him.

I was curious to see what the beach looked like, Comstozk said, raising his voice to match the rushing wind. I usually leave town for these, but this one didnt seem too bad.

The Port St. Lucie man clutched his camera phone close to his chest, snapping photographs intermittently.

While he took photos of thebending palm trees and crashing waves, there was one thing thecamera didnt capture: Abeaming smile on his face.

David Comstozk, 72, stands at Waveland Beach as Tropical Storm Isaias approaches the Treasure Coast.(Photo: MAX CHESNES / TCPALM)

Comstozk was just one of a handful of people out and about in Jensen Beach the portion in St.Lucie CountySunday morning as Tropical Storm Isaias neared the Treasure Coast.

The storm was downgraded from a Category 1 hurricaneto a Tropical Storm Saturday evening, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The Treasure Coast remains under a tropical storm warning and a storm surge warning.

The storm is not expected to grow to hurricane strength as wind sheer from the west continues to work away at the storm, according to the National Weather Service in Melbourne.

Maximum sustained winds are expected to be 65 mph, and the storm is about 60 miles south-southeast of Stuartmoving north-northwest at 9 mph.

Gallery: The Weather Channel reports from Vero Beach as Hurricane Isaias approaches Florida

Latest weather report:: Winds picking up in Martin County

For more news, follow Max Chesnes on Twitter by clicking here.

Max Chesnes is a TCPalm reporter covering health, welfare and social justice on the Treasure Coast.You can keep up with Max on Twitter @MaxChesnes, email him at max.chesnes@tcpalm.com and give him a call at 772-978-2224.

If you are subscriber, thank you. If not, please consider supporting quality local journalism bysubscribing here.

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As Tropical Storm Isaias nears the Treasure Coast Sunday morning, the curious visit Waveland Beach in St. Lucie County - TCPalm

How Yu Darvish Began to Recreate His Success From the Second Half of Last Year – NBC Chicago

Yu Darvish shuffled across Waveland Avenue in sweat pants and slides. A family of Cubs fans snapped photos from in front of the fire station before Friday's game.

Darvish acknowledged them but kept beelining toward the Wrigley Field gate. Even off the field he had his own unique flare and focus.

On the mound later that day, that was even more apparent.

Click to download the MyTeams App for the latest Cubs news and analysis.

In the Cubs' 6-3 win over the Pirates Friday, Darvish threw six shutout innings and resembled the lights-out starter he was in the second of last season.

"Today I felt the same as the second half," he said. "But still I need to work on my mechanics and normal cutter and command. But I feel like it's really close or almost the same."

The first time through the rotation, Darvish was the only starter who didn't have his best stuff. Kyle Hendricks threw a complete game shutout. Jon Lester threw five no-hit innings. Tyler Chatwood and Alec Mills each pitched six innings and allowed fewer than three runs.

Then there was Darvish, who gave up three runs in four innings. Not terrible under the circumstances of a pandemic and a three-week summer camp. But not up his standard.

Darvish said he wanted to work on his splitter, changeup and hard cutter before his next start.

On Saturday, he took a different approach.

"I tried to throw fewer hard cutters," Darvish said. "I used the normal cutter, knuckle curveball and four-seam. And that worked tonight."

After walking the first batter he faced, Adam Frazier, Darvish picked off Frazier at first and retired the next two in order. He gave up just two hits, both singles with no one on base. Both pitches were at the edge of or out of the zone.

"Yu was great tonight," Cubs manager David Ross said. "Had it all working. Just spinning the breaking ball really well in the zone, out of the zone. Looked like the splitty showed up tonight and then a couple times there, late fastballs just blowing guys' doors off."

The 18 whiffs he generated were a testament to just how good all those pitches were.

"I didn't know that," Darvish said when that statistic came up in his postgame interview. "But that's enough."


How Yu Darvish began to recreate his success from the second half of last year originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

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How Yu Darvish Began to Recreate His Success From the Second Half of Last Year - NBC Chicago

Let’s make baseball weirder with even more new rules – The Oakland Press

The stat geeks are all excited, even if no one else seems to be. Theyve spent the first days of the baseball season analyzing a bunch of new numbers that show the possibilities and probabilities of runners scoring after being put on second base to open extra innings.

What theyve found is interesting enough, though the sample size is small. Still, deciding whether to bunt or not with the first batter has at least introduced a bit of strategy into a game that in recent times has seemed intent on eliminating any deep thoughts.

Assuming the pandemic doesn't cause the season to come to a crashing close a big assumption right now theyll also soon be able to dive into the seven-inning doubleheaders and come up with numbers that show the proper way to handle pitchers. And theyll study what needs to be done to make the new playoffs, though with 16 teams thats easy enough even for those of us who werent paying much attention in math class.

But why stop there? Like it or not we have a weird new season with some weird new rules. Lets keep going to make baseball Americas favorite pastime once again.

Heres a few more things baseball can do in this, a season like no other:

NEW COUNTS: Batters will now start with 1-1 counts, much like competitive softball. This will save on pitcher arms, ultimately allowing starters to go four, perhaps even five, innings.

BIG HITS: Lets face it, all home runs arent created equal. Some barely curve around a foul pole into the first row of seats, others are caught by the Wrigley Field ball hawkers on Waveland Avenue. From now on, any home run over 400 feet is worth two runs instead of one. This will give hitters the incentive to blindly swing as hard as they can and cut down on boring singles. Still to be determined is what to call a long home run with the bases loaded, which would now be worth five runs. Grander Slam?

PICK A PITCHER: Teams will have to warm up two relief pitchers at a time in the bullpen, something that should be doable in a season of expanded rosters. If a pitcher is pulled, the team at bat gets to pick which reliever it wants to face.

SCHEDULE: The Yankees must be scheduled to play at least a third of their games against the Orioles. Unless, of course, the Orioles have a winning record. Then the Yankees play the Red Sox like usual.

SWING AND MISS: Its tough to face 99 mph fastballs, and splitters that dive before they reach the plate. To help hitters, anyone who has swung twice and missed in an at-bat will be allowed to place the ball on a tee and hit.

POWER BALLS: With the coronavirus very much in play, umpires are tossing out new balls almost every time one gets touched. Under the new rules, two orange balls will be put in the umpire pouch at the start of each inning to be pulled out at random. The batter at the plate when the ball is put into play has the option of accepting a free pass to first base or taking a chance on spinning the wheel behind home plate that offers outcomes ranging from a ground out to a home run. The inning is automatically over if the wheel lands on a picture of Rob Manfred's face.

UMPIRE DISCIPLINE: Enough grousing about umpires who slow games down by missing obvious calls. Lets do something about them. Umpires who have calls overturned will now have to sit on a big stool in the right field corner and wear a dunce cap for an inning.

MOUND VISITS: Eliminated, along with conferences on the mound. Talking behind gloves spreads the virus.

ROJAS RULE: There will be new protocols for deciding whether teams can play games because of the coronavirus. Final decisions will now go to Marlins shortstop Miguel Rojas, who will make the ruling. Rojas is also the designated relief bus driver for Covid Coaches that take infected teams that were on road trips back to their home city.

COVID RULE: Remember all those rules about spitting, high-fiving and wearing masks in the dugout? Start respecting them and quick or there will be no baseball.

And, one final new rule:

The next time a team cheats to win a World Series dont punish the losing team for being upset about it.

Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg@ap.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg

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Let's make baseball weirder with even more new rules - The Oakland Press

Heyward sets the tone for Cubs – Chicago Daily Herald

Jason Heyward likes to pick his spots.

He admitted not being the most vocal guy when it comes to speaking out against injustice. But he figured with baseball season on hold and the country in turmoil earlier this summer, there was no better time.

"I felt like it was time to no longer make an excuse that I'm playing baseball and I have a job, I'm just going to watch these things go by," Heyward said Friday before the Cubs' season opener against Milwaukee at Wrigley Field.

Heyward was one of the leaders of the Cubs' clubhouse discussions about the current climate in America. Black Lives Matter was a very visible part of baseball's Opening Day.

During pregame introductions, as has been the case around the league, all players held a long black ribbon as they stood on the foul lines. The Cubs painted Black Lives Matter on the back of the pitchers mound at Wrigley Field, and the players released a unified statement on social media. Both teams wore Black Lives Matter T-shirts during batting practice.

Before the first pitch, Heyward channeled Sammy Sosa and ran to his spot in right field while carrying a city of Chicago flag.

"I think JayHey is one of the more powerful leaders we have on this team because when he does speak, it speaks volumes," said manager David Ross, who was a teammate of Heyward with both the Cubs and Atlanta Braves. "He's not a guy that likes to go around and say a whole lot.

"When he speaks, it carries a lot of weight because he doesn't always speak. We can talk about 2016 or we can talk about five minutes ago. It's real and it comes from the heart and it's genuine and you feel it when he speaks."

Ross and Heyward talked about several team meetings during which everyone on the roster got a chance to relate their feelings and personal experience about race in America.

"We all felt it was important to be on the same page, to be supportive and understand and respect everyone's struggles," Heyward said.

One highlight of Friday's pregame was 13-year-old gospel singer Keedron Bryant performing his original song, "I Just Wanna Live" from a rooftop across Waveland Avenue.

No player from either team took a knee during the national anthem that followed, and Heyward gave his reason for making that choice.

"I don't see today as a situation where I feel like I need to kneel, and I say that because this is what progress looks like," Heyward said. "You have acknowledgement, you have unity, you have people of multiple races, people from different areas, different struggles standing together and acknowledging the Black struggle in this country.

"It's been acknowledged and it's also been held up on a pedestal that has not been held up before in baseball and also in sports and this world.

"So for me, no I don't see today as a necessary situation for me to kneel, but I also do support the ones that are, because I do understand that they're not kneeling for anything bad, they're kneeling for good. They're kneeling for people who have gone through the struggle. They're also kneeling for, just like myself, in a situation where I feel like I haven't spoken up before.

"Well, now it's my time."

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Heyward sets the tone for Cubs - Chicago Daily Herald

Life on the road will be the next difficult test for the Cubs – The Athletic

Vijay Tekchandani, the director of team travel and clubhouse operations for the Cubs, has a job that essentially requires him to be on call 24/7, whether or not a pandemic is raging across the country.

Tekchandanis energy and attention to detail over the years has helped create what Cubs players and their families view as a first-class experience. As the team continually adapts to COVID-19 realities, Tekchandani has run multiple meetings, preparing for road trips that will come with waves of anxiety. Travel represents an entire section of Major League Baseballs 101-page operations manual for the 2020 season.

Vijays been on top of everything, Cubs manager David Ross said. I dont know how the guy does it. Hes asking me if Im all right. Im telling him every day, Im fine, how are you doing? Hes getting it from every angle. Even when the guys leave the ballpark, he does so...

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Life on the road will be the next difficult test for the Cubs - The Athletic

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Adam Engel – Sox Machine

I know that you dont want to talk about this player, I cant believe Im even having thoughts in this mans defense. We all wanted so desperately to only hear his name while talking about the terrible players that started during the rebuild years, but hes still here. His name is Adam Engel.

Im talking about him because Nomar Mazara has been placed on the 10-day IL and were trying to figure out who will start in right field on opening day. Consider yourself lucky; of all the players that we could be missing when the season starts Mazara was never your superstar or X-factor. He was just the best option in a place where the White Sox werent completely lacking depth. He may not be one of those hard-to-watch defenders in the outfield, but hes yet to put up a positive dWAR in a season and his offense has always been more enticing based on his upside and handedness than his actual production.

Without him we are left with three choices: Leury Garcia, Adam Engel, and Nicky Delmonico.

Nicky Delmonico sounds nice: his swing looks sexy on highlight videos, hes left-handed, and he looks like a ballplayer. Examine your biases though- would you give him a second thought if he swung from the other side of the plate? Arent you more interested in him because he has that classic smiley kid-having-fun baseball face? I know Chuck Garfien has been going on about how his down years may have been plagued by injury, but it has now been three years since Delmonico being at the plate was exciting. The home run against the Brewers was thrilling, but it came against opposite handed pitching. If you are taking summer camp home runs as evidence how is that better than Engels home run against Hendricks- a same-sided pitcher with a better history than Grimm- that nearly hit Waveland? Its not- it just looked awesome. Thats Nicky- looks so great when he succeeds that it seems right even though the results disagree.

Leury Garcia feels like hes earned it. Among all the rebuild-era players he was never one of the embarrassing ones. The batting average was there when he was healthy and he got to be the example of skills an outfielder had when Outfielder Jump was revealed as a statistic by baseball savant. His versatility is also valuable to an organization, he fills a lot of holes when it comes to outfield or infield depth. But like Adam Engel, his career rWAR is mostly made up from his 2019 season. He may be a switch hitter, but his platoon splits are very much like those of a typical right-handed batter.

For a while, this offense was enough to best Adam Engel offensively, but its gotten harder and harder. Adam Engel, while not exciting against right-handed pitching by any means, has made steady improvement each year that hes been in the bigs.

Obviously it wasnt hard to best his disastrous 2017 offensive output, but a glove-first center fielder can hold his own with last years offensive production. Probably not as a starter, but as your fourth outfielder? Im actually very OK with it. Its hard to say even now for me, I dreaded those Engel at-bats the past few years. I just have more faith in a player whos made steady improvement as opposed to ones with random flashes of potential. I know hes going to see more right-handed starters against Minnesota and Cleveland these first 10 days, but the production against lefties has actually been worth watching

Even if I cant convince you that Adam Engel is the best offensive choice among the three, you cant say that theres one that stands clearly atop the rest. And while offense is the most valuable aspect of the game, defense and baserunning are still important. I dont need any numbers here, even if they all tell the same story. If you think that Leury or Nicky are more valuable in those categories, then your Engel fatigue is just too strong for rationale.

Its only a 10-day IL stint, a sample size so small that well never fully have the results to justify what the best choice for playing time should have been.

What I can tell you is this: as much as you hate or hated Adam Engel, hes actually a decent fourth outfielder to have. Thats the guy you want giving your regulars days off and being first off the bench when theres an injury gap to fill.

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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Adam Engel - Sox Machine