Welcome To September Baseball

As of this morning the Chicago Cubs are 3 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers for the N.L. Central lead and have a 2 game lead in the N.L. Wildcard. Nearly all MLB teams are not playing today. On Friday (September 1) the Cubs will have a chance to gain more ground on the Brewers by virtue of a double header, whereas the Brewers play the Phillies. The double header is in Cincinnati and the Reds are chasing the Cubs for the Wildcard, so both teams have playoff positions to play for and therefore the games will be tense.

I wonder, how much of inflation is caused by Trump’s tariffs? One of the arguments that any opponent to Trump should make is that there is a difference between feeling better and actually being better, and the tariffs are a perfect example. When Trump announces a tariff his supporters feel better, he is sticking it to “the Chinese!” But, what they don’t realize is the relationship between the tariffs and increased prices because the tariffs only work if there is sufficient manufacturing in the United States. The tariffs have to come AFTER increases in manufacturing in the United States, not before, in order for them to be protecting anything.

Time For The Chicago Cubs To Embrace The Pressure

The 162 game schedule is a big part of what makes Major League Baseball unique among professional sports in the United States because it tends to force differences in how games are approached throughout the season. No team is ever going to be undefeated, the current best team, the Atlanta Braves, has won a little over 65% of their games. The MLB season is a marathon meaning that in most cases a game is not treated as “must win.”

Oddly, while a long schedule means most games are not “must win,” for some teams, earlier than they would like, the season transitions to “it doesn’t matter whether they win or lose” because they are out of playoff contention. As a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan it has been my experience more often than not that the Cubs are out of playoff contention by the end of May or early June. Further, as a lifelong Cubs fan, I have learned it is much more fun watching games year after year when the team is playing meaningful games in September. I would much rather have the team lose in the playoffs every year than have the team out the playoffs by June in the majority of seasons.

So, in baseball, a transition occurs over the course of a season where teams move from playing to win games to playing to must win games. The benefit of expanding the number of playoff teams is that more teams start playing more “must win” games in September than in years past. In my experience, teams with players who have the most experience winning “must win” games are best positioned for long term success.

As an aside, it should be obvious why wild card teams, which have worse records than division winners, have had so much success in the playoffs, it’s because they usually play more “must win” games during the last month of the season and through that gain valuable experience and confidence. Turns out there is a big difference between “wanting to win” and “needing to win.”

At this point of a long 2023 season, the Chicago Cubs are starting the transition in to “must win” territory. Nobody associated with the Cubs is going to admit publicly that the games they are playing this week and next are must win, but it’s a mistake if they don’t start viewing the games as such, in fact they ought to embrace the transition. As Billy Jean King is often quoted as saying, “Pressure is a privilege.” The pressure of being in “must win” mode as the calendar flips from August to September is a badge of success.

The unpredictable nature of sports mean should the Cubs make the playoffs they could win the World Series. The probability of the 2023 Cubs winning the World Series is not high, not like it was for the 2016 team. However, the experience of playing as many “must win” games as possible over the course of the final month of the season is huge! The Cubs are exactly where they hoped to be at this time of the season and now players who have not had the experience with this type of pressure gain the experience that will provide dividends for years beyond.

I was mad the Cubs were crushed by the Brewers last night because I desire the immediate gratification of winning the N.L. Central this year, but I am happy that the young Cubs players such as their current best starting pitcher, Justin Steele, are getting this experience playing these games. However, the full value of that experience will not be realized if the team, from top to bottom, doesn’t consider these games “must win.”

The 2023 MLB Season is transitioning from “would like to win” to “must win” for the Cubs, and I am looking for the team to embrace the pressure.

I use Readwise Reader to read articles that I select from my RSS subscriptions, and I think it has information that would like to extract. For example, from which domains do I most frequently read from? This is the type of question that if Readwise provided an API I might dabble with some programming.

It has been so long since I have used Google Reader that I have forgotten why it was so valuable. Now I keep seeing the same articles in my feeds, which is why it’s so important for the new stuff to appear at the top.

Casey Newton’s article on The Verge, “Why note-taking apps don’t make us smarter” hits home. I use a variety of different apps for writing notes all of which at the end of the day mainly serve for storing information. None of these apps enable me to be smarter, but they enable me to recall information when (or if) I need it. The article doesn’t get in much detail, but I agree with the suggestion that AI based on the information stored in note taking apps like Roam Research may be fusion needed, but still requires one to learn how to ask good questions.

The Republican party is a circus and Trump is P.T. Barnum. I don’t see how any of candidates who debated last night seriously think they can win the Republican nomination because they aren’t even attempting to attack the front runner. All these people are simply hoping that Trump will be put in jail and then be in the right place at the right time to get their party’s nomination

Cubs vs. Tigers at Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan

The Chicago Cubs are playing the Detroit Tigers in Detroit this week, and I went to the Monday and Tuesday night games. The Cubs won 7-6 Monday night in a game when the Cubs gained and gave up a four run lead but hung on to win. The Tigers won Tuesday night 8-6, but the Cubs had a 4-3 run lead after the top of the fourth inning and then gave up 4 runs to the Tigers in the bottom of the inning. The Cubs scored 2 runs in the top of the fifth inning to pull within one run, but scored no more while the Tigers added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth inning. As of today the Cubs record is 65-60 and they are 3.5 games behind the Brewers in the NL Central division and have the second wild card for the NL playoffs.

Highlights of the games include seeing Cody Bellinger, former NL MVP, playing for the Cubs, he will likely not re-sign with the Cubs at the end of the season. Future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera was the DH for the Tigers in Tuesday’s game, possibly his last game ever against the Chicago Cubs. Click to see the pictures I took during the games on Monday and Tuesday.

Finally, I captured a foul ball during the game on Tuesday. It was fumbled by the guy in front of me and I grabbed after it landed on the steps next to me.

In the upper deck tonight and this happened.

Cubs win! Cubs win! Cubs win!

Go Cubs Go!

Another deer family passed me by yesterday.

A doe deer and her fawn walking past in a yard.

I agree with most of what David Brooks writes here, but I do think he is missing some context. The main societal change of my life time has been the rise of conservatism, mainly via the Reagan presidency, but you can probably trace that back further to post World War II and the establishment of the U.S. political and capitalistic empire. The political empire demands the United States stands alone as the most powerful nation on earth, the capitalistic empire demands that citizens are responsible for themselves so that there is no redistribution of wealth.

Putting this here so that it’s not forgotten. Thanks to Patrick Rhone for sharing. Love Notes to Newton - Full Movie - Official - YouTube. The Newton MessagePad was the first Apple product I ever owned, after coveting a Mac for many years, and it had a significant impact on my life including being a published author.

Yesterday Ruth and I celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary doing something we had never done together, and we survived.

I’ve set up Joplin to be my digital scrapbook / repository to possibly replace Evernote. A big part of the process was getting OneDrive to run in a Virtual Desktop that I can use during the workday. I using OneDrive to sync my Joplin notebooks between all my devices, including Android, iPadOS, MacOS, and Linux.

My virtual desktop has been LXQT on Ubuntu 20.04 in a LXC container hosted by Proxmox, but I can’t get OneDrive to work due to its use of FUSE. Consequently, I built a VM running Ubuntu 20.04 to and got OneDrive and Joplin working. Only problem is that I can’t get TigerVNC server to behave as a service, it seems to lock up the VM after some time.

I’ve tried running TigerVNC as a service in Ubuntu 22.04 and Debian 12 and it won’t even start.

Retirement practice (aka vacation) day 2. Annoyed that my morning coffee is interrupted by the lawn care people. Over joyed that my morning coffee is interrupted by the lawn care people. Now there is fresh cut grass on this sunny, breezy summer day.

On the first weekday of this vacation I had this fantastic seafood omelet and grits at We Got Brunch.

Yesterday the Cubs beat the Braves, who by record is the best team in the National League. Today will be a test to see whether the Cubs can beat a better team in a series. Given how this is playing out, I think the experience of playing meaningful games through September is going to be huge for the near future Cub teams. Even if they lose Stroman and Bellinger during the offseason this experience for the maturity of the team is with every penny spent.

Zack Beauchamp

To figure out how to get the country past its current impasse, we need to look at reality as it is, not as we imagine it might be. And the reality is that our deep political divide is rooted, first and foremost, in profound and largely irreconcilable views of who America is for and what its social hierarchy should look like. That may be unpleasant for Brooks — and all of us — to contemplate, but reality’s ugliness doesn’t provide an excuse for ignoring it.

I am seeing lots of articles about the demise of the PAC-12 college conference. To an older guy such as myself I find the current conference names no longer make sense. Granted, the Big Ten doesn’t explicitly name a region but it has been for Midwest colleges all my life, west coast colleges mess that up. So, I say you might as well just change the conference names.

One thing I do wonder, with the PAC-12 disbanded what of the Rose Bowl? While the CFB championship long ago broke the Big Ten/PAC-12 match ups, they did try to hold to that when not hosting the championship. Now what?

Beginning a summer vacation week at my favorite place under these trees.

Reading what I wrote about the results at the end of the MLB trade deadline last year where the Chicago Cubs did not sell Wilson Contreras or Ian Happ, amazed by how much changes in one season. The Cubs extended Happ this year and honestly have not missed Contreras. Further, it seems the new cornerstone of the Cubs is Nico Hoerner and Dansby Swanson. Better yet, the Cubs bought at this trade deadline and their playoff chances are very much alive.

The game last night encapsulates why it has been frustrating to follow the Chicago Cubs this season. They have the hitting to put up a huge number of runs and the pitching to enable them to win, but as prone they are to score 20 runs in one night, today they might score only 2. Too many losing streaks up to this season has prevented them from being in first place right now. Good new is that they have more games against the Brewers and Reds that enable them to close the gap.

The Chicago Cubs winning streak ended at eight games today with a loss to the Cardinals in the last game of the season against their division rival. (Let that sink in a moment, thanks due to the new “balanced” MLB schedule.) Obviously, the streak had to end eventually, but the Cards have proven to be very beatable and we had every reason to expect the Cubs to win today too. Tomorrow night the Cubs start a four game series against the Reds at home, and they need to win the first game as they can no longer afford losing streaks. Even more importantly, the Cubs are 3.5 games behind the Reds in the NL Central standings and we do not want to fall further behind. The Cubs have an opportunity to pull closer to the Reds and Brewers this week and therefore solidify being in the hunt for the remainder of the season. Losing 3 out of 4 of these games against the Reds might actually be too difficult to overcome. Ross needs to be putting the best lineup in every game for this series, I do not want to see Mancini at first and Morel in place other than DH. Play Gomes in all of these games. Cubs need to treat this series like the playoffs!