The Cubs’ recent path to the World Series is “a case study in how to bring a team or a business back to life,” Alex Rodriguez (yes, that Alex Rodriguez) writes for FOX Sports. A-Rod praises top Cubs exec Theo Epstein, with whom he negotiated prior to the 2004 season, when the Red Sox were trying to bring Rodriguez to Boston in a pair of mega-deals that would have sent Jon Lester and Manny Ramirez to Texas, while also acquiring Magglio Ordonez and Brandon McCarthy from the White Sox for Nomar Garciaparra. The deal, in which Rodriguez was to take a $40MM pay cut, was vetoed by the players’ union. Rodriguez, of course, headed to the Yankees, but the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series anyway. “We were three 20-somethings convinced we were about to turn baseball upside down together,” Rodriguez writes, referring to himself, Epstein and Jed Hoyer. “Though I never got a chance to work with Theo, I knew then that he was going to be a force.” Here are more quick notes on the Fall Classic.
- There’s little mystery to the Cubs’ success, Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs writes. The reasons for the accomplishments of other recent World Series teams, like the Royals and Giants, have been a bit harder to explain, but the Cubs are simply “a super-good club, made up of super-good players.” Even if the Cubs lose this time around, they’re extremely well positioned to make a run at another World Series or three in the near future — they have Lester, Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Javier Baez, Kyle Schwarber, Kyle Hendricks and Willson Contreras under control for four or more seasons.
- Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman both began the season as members of the Yankees, but they’ll finish it opposing one another in the World Series, MLB.com’s Richard Justice writes. Miller has been dominant thus far this postseason for the Indians, with 21 strikeouts in 11 2/3 scoreless innings thus far. Chapman has allowed three runs over eight frames for the Cubs. Both are obviously standouts as MLB pitchers go, but as Justice notes, this World Series could turn either or both into household names.