Shocker in Wrigley: Cubs are OUT!
Given their large lead in the NL East for most of the season, with the league-best winning percentage until the end, it was surprising enough that the Chicago Cubs had to endure a tie-breaking playoff game against the visiting (upstart) Milwaukee Brewers on Monday. But even with having to play in the National League wild card game against the Colorado Rockies at Wrigley Field last night, you would think their home field advantage would count for a little more. Yet somehow the Rockies' Lyle Freeland outdueled Cubs ace Jon Lester, who walked the very first batter he faced and then gave up a double and an RBI sacrifice fly hit by Nolan Arenado. The score remained 1-0 until the eighth inning, when Javier Baez hit a clutch two-out RBI double to tie the game. And the crowd went wild! The game dragged on until after midnight (1:00 AM here in the east, past my bedtime), and with two outs in the top of the 13th inning the Rockies got three straight hits to retake the lead, 2-1. In the bottom of the 13th, all three Cubs batters struck out, and that is how their season ended, on a most abrupt and terribly disappointing note.
Editorial comment: The idea that a team with the best regular season record in their league (tied in this case) could get knocked out in a single postseason game is just one more reason why they really ought to get rid of the second wild card team and go back to the postseason format that existed prior to 2012.
So after playing in different cities (Denver, L.A., Chicago) for three consecutive days, the Rockies get a day of rest and will take on the Brewers in Milwaukee tomorrow night as the National League Divisional Series begin, while the Braves take on the Dodgers in Los Angeles.
Tonight the Oakland Athletics take on the heavily favored Yankees in New York, in the American League wild card game. Friendly reminder: In postseason baseball, absolutely anything can happen!
Stadium capacities, 2018
Just like last year (August 20, 2017), I have compiled the current-year seating capacity figures for each of the 30 MLB stadiums and calculated changes in capacity compared to 2017. Changes greater than 1,000 are highlighted in yellow. The fact that six stadiums had large increases without any apparent construction going on suggests that there was some kind of agreement among MLB franchises to include normally closed seating sections in the official numbers, to show the real effective capacity. Oakland Coliseum and Tropicana Field are the two most obvious examples of this. But the big puzzler is Yankee Stadium II, which had 53,345 seats when it first opened in 2009, but now has just 47,309, ranking a paltry seventh among MLB stadiums. This raises the question: Where did those 6,036 missing seats go???
|Stadium name||2018 |
|Globe Life Park *||49,115||1,001|
|Yankee Stadium II||47,309||-2,333|
|Oriole Park at Camden Yards||45,971||0|
|Busch Stadium III||45,538||1,563|
|Angel Stadium *||45,050||1,800|
|Citizens Bank Park||43,647||-4|
|Great American Ballpark||42,319||0|
|Minute Maid Park||41,168||-892|
|Guaranteed Rate Field *||40,615||0|
|Progressive Field *||35,225||174|
SOURCE: Box scores published in the Washington Post
* : Name has changed in recent years.
Along with my updated estimates of fair and foul territory (mentioned on Monday), the above data revisions will soon be incorporated into the Stadium statistics page.