Wakeup call: Smack talk in Philly about LeBron


Wakeup call: Smack talk in Philly about LeBron

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Tuesday, October 2:

It was a lost night all around for the Orioles, who ceded ground in both the division and wild-card races. (CSN Baltimore)

Could be worse, though. They could be the Rays. (AP) Or the Angels. (AP)

The headed-to-the-playoffs A's are full of "Nobody thought we'd be here!" blather. (CSN Bay Area)

The headed-home White Sox are consoling themselves with that very same thought. (CSN Chicago)

And why are the White Sox headed home? Because the Tigers won the A.L. Central. (AP)

The Nationals are kings of the N.L. East -- even though they lost to Philadelphia -- and they celebrated appropriately. (CSN Washington)

The Phillies, dethroned after a five-year reign atop the division, knew the moment was coming for a long time. . . . but it still made them mad. (CSN Philly)

Almost there, Cardinals. (AP)

More homophobia from an MLB player . . . or is it? Derek Holland says his Twitter account -- where the message appeared during the second game of the Rangers' Sunday doubleheader against the Angels -- was hacked. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

Well, it's not like they didn't expect to lose 100. (CSN Chicago) Right, Theo?

Not everything's coming up roses in Tuscaloosa. Top-rated Alabama has lost wide receiver DeAndrew White and running back Dee Hart for the season. (AP)

Um, Michigan State? Urban Meyer's tellin'. (AP)

They're already calling it 'The Miracle of Medinah' across the pond. (AP)

Golfchannel.com grades the U.S. team for its performance last weekend. (golfchannel.com)

And does the same for the Europeans . . . though, strangely, their marks seem worse than the Americans'. (golfchannel.com)

Who says Congress doesn't do anything? Two New Jersey Senators are calling for the end to the lockout. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

Coming up next: The cancellation of some regular-season games. (CSN Chicago)

No matter when they come back, Ryan Kesler will probably still be on the sidelines. (Pro Hockey Talk)

Kobe Bryant thinks this is the most talented Lakers team he's ever been on. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Maybe so, Kobe, but Ty Lawson says the Nuggets are the best of the West. (AP)

I'm old enough to remember when Billy Idol bragged to David Letterman that dealers in Greenwich Village had named their drugs after his songs, to which Letterman responded: "Your mother must be so proud." Well, LeBron James' mother now can take similar pride, thanks to a certain heroin peddler in Philadelphia. (Pro Basketball Talk)

We'll have to wait three weeks for the Andrew Bynum Era to begin. (CSN Philly)

But the Brooklyn Nets Era has started. (AP)

Utah's Enes Kanter says it's easy to lose 51 pounds. All you have to do is stop eating everything in sight. (Pro Basketball Talk)

Jeremy who? (AP)

The Colts were hit hard by the news that coach Chuck Pagano has leukemia. (AP)

As was Pagano's former team, the Ravens. (CSN Baltimore)

Tony Romo was the game MVP Monday night . . . for the Bears. (AP)

Their record may be perfect, but Gary Kubiak says the Texans aren't. (CSN Houston)

Matt Cassel got the dreaded vote of confidence from Romeo Crennel. (AP)

The same-sex marriage debate -- of all things -- has made its way into the Ravens' locker room. (CSN Baltimore)

Even the pregame is dangerous in the NFL, eh, Brandon Meriweather? (CSN Washington)

The X-rays were negative, but Santonio Holmes could still be out for a while. (AP)

The Steelers are back from their bye week, and so are James Harrison and Troy Polamaulu. (AP)

Billy Cundiff's still got a job. For another seven days, anyway. (CSN Washington)

NLCS: Cubs eliminate Dodgers, reach Series for first time since 1945


NLCS: Cubs eliminate Dodgers, reach Series for first time since 1945

CHICAGO -- Cursed by a Billy Goat, bedeviled by Bartman and crushed by decades of disappointment, the Chicago Cubs are at long last headed back to the World Series.

Kyle Hendricks outpitched Clayton KershawAnthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras homered early and the Cubs won their first pennant since 1945, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 Saturday night in Game 6 of the NL Championship Series.

The drought ended when closer Aroldis Chapman got Yasiel Puig to ground into a double play, setting off a wild celebration inside Wrigley Field, outside the ballpark and all over the city.

Seeking their first crown since 1908, manager Joe Maddon's team opens the World Series at Cleveland on Tuesday night. The Indians haven't won it all since 1948 - Cleveland and Cubs have the two longest title waits in the majors.

"This city deserves it so much," Rizzo said. "We got four more big ones to go, but we're going to enjoy this. We're going to the World Series. I can't even believe that."

All-everything Javier Baez and pitcher Jon Lester shared the NLCS MVP. Baez hit .318, drove in five runs and made several sharp plays at second base. Lester, a former World Series champion in Boston, was 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers.

Deemed World Series favorites since opening day, the Cubs topped the majors with 103 wins to win the NL Central, then beat the Giants and Dodgers in the playoffs.

The Cubs overcame a 2-1 deficit against the Dodgers and won their 17th pennant. They had not earned a World Series trip since winning a doubleheader opener 4-3 at Pittsburgh on Sept. 29, 1945, to clinch the pennant on the next-to-last day of the season.

The eternal "wait till next year" is over. No more dwelling on a history of failure - the future is now.

"We're too young. We don't care about it," star slugger Kris Bryant said. "We don't look into it. This is a new team, this is a completely different time of our lives. We're enjoying it and our work's just getting started."

Hendricks pitched two-hit ball for 7 1/3 innings. Chapman took over and closed with hitless relief, then threw both arms in the air as he was mobbed by teammates and coaches.

The crowd joined in, chanting and serenading their team.

"Chicago!" shouted popular backup catcher David Ross.

The Cubs shook off back-to-back shutout losses earlier in this series by pounding the Dodgers for 23 runs to win the final three games.

And they were in no way overwhelmed by the moment on Saturday, putting aside previous frustration.

In 1945, the Billy Goat Curse supposedly began when a tavern owner wasn't allowed to bring his goat to Wrigley. In 2003, the Cubs lost the final three games of the NLCS to Florida, punctuated with a Game 6 defeat when fan Steve Bartman deflected a foul ball.

Even as recently as 2012, the Cubs lost 101 times.

This time, no such ill luck.

Bryant had an RBI single and scored in a two-run first. Dexter Fowler added two hits, drove in a run and scored one.

Contreras led off the fourth with a homer. Rizzo continued his resurgence with a solo drive in the fifth.

That was plenty for Hendricks, the major league ERA leader.

Hendricks left to a standing ovation after Josh Reddick singled with one out in the eighth. The only other hit Hendricks allowed was a single by Andrew Toles on the game's first pitch.

Kershaw, dominant in Game 2 shutout, gave up five runs and seven hits before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the sixth. He fell to 4-7 in the postseason.

The Dodgers haven't been to the World Series since winning in 1988.

Pitching on five days' rest, the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner threw 30 pitches in the first. Fowler led off with a double, and Bryant's single had the crowd shaking the 102-year-old ballpark.

They had more to cheer when left fielder Andrew Toles dropped Rizzo's fly, putting runners on second and third, and Ben Zobrist made it 2-0 a sacrifice fly.

The Cubs added a run in the second when Addison Russell doubled to deep left and scored on a two-out single by Fowler.


Maddon benched slumping right fielder Jason Heyward in favor of Albert Almora Jr.

"Kershaw's pitching, so I wanted to get one more right-handed bat in the lineup, and also with Albert I don't feel like we're losing anything on defense," Maddon said. "I know Jason's a Gold Glover, but I think Albert, given an opportunity to play often enough would be considered a Gold Glove-caliber outfielder, too."

Heyward was 2 for 28 in the playoffs - 1 for 16 in the NLCS.


Kerry Wood, wearing a Ron Santo jersey, threw out the first pitch and actor Jim Belushi delivered the "Play Ball!" call before the game. Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder and actor John Cusack were also in attendance. And Bulls great Scottie Pippen led the seventh-inning stretch.