Cubs sweep Rockies, hope fate will be kind in final week
No franchise in American professional sports has a history quite like the Cubs.
So be assured, something crazy is going to happen during the next week.
The Cubs took care of business Sunday with a 4-3 victory over Colorado at Wrigley Field, completing a three-game sweep thanks to Patrick Wisdom's 2-run homer in the sixth.
After the game, the clubhouse was lively. Players packed for the upcoming road trip to Atlanta, discussed fantasy football matchups and Taylor Swift's presence at the Bears-Chiefs game.
Everyone in the room is blissfully unaware of what's in store. Anyone on the team -- or even in the stands -- could be a hero or goat by the time the regular season ends next week.
Granted, the Cubs' low moments are much easier to consume these days, thanks to 2016, but this has also been the city's only team worth following for a few months.
"It was good to end on a high note," manager David Ross said. "Great turnout from the fans."
There were actually a few potential disasters in Sunday's ninth inning. Julian Merryweather walked the first two batters to start the final frame. Ian Happ and Pete Crow-Armstrong nearly collided on a fly ball hit by Charlie Blackmon, but PCA gloved it for the second out.
There was even a false ending when pinch-hitter Ryan McMahon hit a grounder to first, Cody Bellinger picked it up, stepped on the bag and "Go Cubs Go" started playing on the loudspeakers.
But hold on. After an umpires' conference, they ruled (correctly) the ball hit McMahon's foot for a foul ball. So cut the music, everyone get back on the field and continue the game. Merryweather then went to a 3-1 count on McMahon before finally getting a swinging third strike to end it.
"I actually thought it was a foul ball off the bat and it ended up being what I thought," Merryweather said. "So I think it helped me not get too lost in the moment like we'd already won."
As a whole, the Cubs could learn plenty from Wisdom's demeanor. His MLB career has been frustrating at times and his playing time diminished late this season.
Heck, his entire athletic career has been frustrating. After the game, Wisdom recounted his high school football career in Murietta, California, saying he was the holder and backup quarterback, but tore his ACL in practice just before the first game of his senior season.
Wisdom came up in the Cardinals system and they let him go after a short stint in the majors. He went to Texas and got a chance to start, but when he didn't hit in the first nine games, he was sent to Triple A and never returned to the Rangers.
Then he found a happy home at Wrigley Field for the past three years. Whether he's back next year or not is irrelevant. He was there when the team needed him Sunday, smacking the go-ahead home run into the left field bleachers.
"In the moment, I wasn't really thinking, especially in the box, 'Ooh, if I hit a home run, we're going to go ahead,'" Wisdom said. "But it kind of hit me as I was rounding the bases.
"Just hearing Wrigley erupt and seeing the dugout when you're rounding second explode is really cool. It's a hard feeling to replicate and just grateful to be in that position, be on this team and be with these guys who are rooting for one another."
This was an important win for the Cubs, since all three of their closest competitors -- Arizona, Miami and Cincinnati -- won on Sunday. The Cubs head into the final week a half-game behind the Diamondbacks for the second wild card, one game ahead of the Marlins for the third wild card, and three ahead of the Reds. And they'd lose a tiebreaker to any of the three.
Wisdom had to catch the bus to the airport, so he didn't get much of a chance to celebrate his daughter Molly's fourth birthday, beyond pointing to her in the stands after the home run.
"It's crazy that I have a four-year-old, but to do something like that and say hi to her on camera, I know she's going to love it," he said.
Wisdom's daughter will love her gift even if the Cubs don't make the playoffs. So try to stay relaxed.