<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Sports]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.com en-us Sat, 10 Oct 2015 00:43:16 -0500 Sat, 10 Oct 2015 00:43:16 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Chicago Marathon Runners Ready to Endure Heat]]> Sat, 10 Oct 2015 00:11:28 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/211*120/GettyImages-457314314.jpg

Runners competing in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon will face a challenge they may not have expected.

More than 40,000 runners are expected to run in the race – and it’s likely they will have to endure the weather. The forecast calls for higher than normal temperatures, though many who are running for charities say they will take it in stride.

"I'll push through it definitely, but it's a little nerve wracking,” said runner Jenny Bendy.

“I have to take care of my health,” runner Andres Gonzalez said. “If it’s hot, it might take me a little longer, but I’m planning to finish it.”

Some runners who are sprinting for charity are willing to tackle the conditions to support their causes.

“I am running for the Ronald McDonald House Charity and in honor of Claire Strawman,” runner Nancy Woodrich said. Strawman is a 14-year-old family friend who underwent a double lung and heart transplant.

"I'll have her name on me, and I'll wear my button and she's in my heart,” Woodrich said. More information on her charity can be found here.

But when Woodrich and others hit the pavement on Sunday, the conditions will be less than ideal.

High winds are also expected as well as temperatures reaching into the 70’s.

“We'll monitor weather tonight and tomorrow morning and make final adjustments for resources,” marathon director Carey Pinkowski said.

While conditions not ideal for runners, they will be ideal for fans. About 2-million people are expected to come out and watch along the marathon route.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Food, Drink Specials Honor Chicago Cubs in Playoffs]]> Fri, 09 Oct 2015 17:53:33 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/dunkin+cubs+donut.jpg

Chicago Cubs fans are hungry for another postseason victory, but while they watch the Cubs-Cardinals series to play out, they can chow down on some Cubs-inspired dishes in the city.

The Cubs are set to take on the Cardinals Friday in St. Louis for Game 1 of the National League Division Series.

The team's most recent success has inspired several dishes in the Chicago area. Here's a look at some of the eatable Cubs pride: 

1. "Fly the W" Deep Dish Pizza: The dish is available each Chicago Cubs playoff game upon request at select downtown and North Side Giordano's locations.

2. "Fly the W" donuts: Chicago-area Dunkin' Donuts locations are serving up "Fly the W" donuts to Cubs fans.

3. Cubbie Blueberry Muffin Martini: The drink is being offered at the Blue Water Lounge and features a blue "W" and blue salt. 

4. Free Honey Butter Fried Chicken Wings: Honey Butter Fried Chicken is offering a free order of wings with every 8-piece friend chicken Friday and Saturday. 

5. "Curse of the Goat" Pizza: Lakeview's Ceres' Table hopes to dispel the billy goat curse agains the Cubs by offering a special "Curse of the Goat" pizza dish, featuring goat as the primary ingredient. The special is available throughout the Cubs' postgame season.

Photo Credit: Dunkin Donuts/Twitter
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<![CDATA[Cubs Fall to Cardinals, 4-0 ]]> Fri, 09 Oct 2015 22:36:03 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-492055090.jpg

Jon Lester went seven and a third innings and gave up three earned runs, but it wasn't enough as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Chicago Cubs by a score of 4-0 on Friday night. 

The Cubs were retired in order to start the game out, but the Cardinals came out firing and grabbed an early lead in the game. Stephen Piscotty looped a ball down the right field line that landed just in front of Kyle Schwarber and bounced into the stands for a ground rule double, and he was driven in by a single up the middle by Matt Holliday to give St. Louis a 1-0 lead.

John Lackey sent down the Cubs in order to start the second inning, but Jon Lester settled down in a big way in the bottom of the inning and kept the deficit at one. He struck out the first two batters he faced, and even though Kolten Wong wedged a double over Kris Bryant at third base, Lester got out of the inning as he forced a groundout by Lackey to end the frame.

The Cubs got a sharp line drive out of Addison Russell in the top of the third inning, but it was snagged by Jason Heyward on a diving catch to keep Chicago from getting a baserunner. In the bottom of the third, Lester allowed a long fly ball to Matt Carpenter, but Schwarber hauled it in and helped keep the Cubs within striking distance.

Schwarber became the first Cubs batter to reach base in the game as he coaxed a one-out walk in the top of the fourth, but he was quickly erased as Kris Bryant grounded into a double play. The Cardinals also threatened in the inning as Jason Heyward singled and then reached second base on a wild pitch. Lester got out of the jam by striking out Randal Grichuk and induced a fly-out from Yadier Molina to keep the game at a 1-0 score.

In the top of the sixth inning, Russell finally got the Cubs’ first hit of the game, and he advanced to second base on a wild pitch. After he got to third on a ground out by Lester, he was stranded as Dexter Fowler hammered a fly ball to the warning track in right, but it was caught to keep the Cardinals up by a run.

The Cubs got a baserunner to start out the seventh inning as Schwarber picked up a bunt single, but that was all they could manage. Bryant struck out on a full count pitch for the first out, and even though Anthony Rizzo hammered a shot at first base, it was gloved and the Cardinals turned a double play to retain their lead.

Lester racked up a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the seventh, but the Cubs couldn’t give him any support as they were retired in order in the top of the eighth. Castro grounded out to shortstop to continue his quiet night at the plate, and Chris Coghlan struck out looking for the second out. Russell struck out swinging to end the frame, leaving the Cubs down by a run with three outs to go.

The Cardinals made the Cubs pay for their lack of offense in the bottom of the frame as they extended their lead. On a 3-1 pitch from Lester, pinch-hitter Tommy Pham blasted a home run into the left field bleachers to give the Cardinals a 2-0 lead.

After Lester was lifted following a walk to Carpenter, Piscotty made the Cubs pay again. This time it was Pedro Strop giving up the long-ball, as Piscotty launched a shot over the left field fence to make it a 4-0 game.

The Cubs threatened in the top of the ninth inning as Jorge Soler walked and Schwarber rapped a single to left field, but it wasn't enough as Kris Bryant struck out to end the game and give the Cardinals a 1-0 series lead. 

The two teams will battle again on Saturday afternoon at Busch Stadium, with Kyle Hendricks taking the hill for the Cubs as they look to even the series. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[St. Louis Mayor Rejects Emanuel's Cubs Bet]]> Fri, 09 Oct 2015 17:12:54 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-468926354.jpg

Mayor Rahm Emanuel made a bet with the St. Louis mayor over the National League division series between the Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals. However, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay turned down the wager.

If the Cubs lost, Slay would have won Harry Caray's chicken vesuvio, Lou Malnati's pizza, Eli's Cheesecake as well as tickets to the Willis Tower Skydeck.

“In the long and storied history of this rivalry, the Cubs and Cardinals have never met in the postseason. This series will be one to remember, and I wouldn’t bet against this Cubs team,” Mayor Emanuel said in a statement.

“I have full confidence that when the dust settles on this series Chicago will fly the W, and I’ll be enjoying whatever St. Louis has to offer,” the statement continued.

However, Slay rejected the bet, saying that he wouldn’t waste his staff’s time by arranging bets around sports, according to NESN. He also added: “Plus, it isn’t fair to other mayors.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Six Flags Places Bet Ahead of Cubs-Cardinals Series]]> Fri, 09 Oct 2015 18:11:58 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/SixFlagsFlytheW.jpg

The Chicago Cubs are set to face the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Division Series and the results could mean a lot for fans of Six Flags Great America.

The amusement park has placed a bet with Six Flags St. Louis, offering to change the name of their popular Raging Bull ride if the Cubs lose.

That’s right, the Raging Bull would be renamed the Raging Cardinals for the remainder of Fright Fest if the Cubs lose and in return, St. Louis has agreed to rename the American Thunder coaster the Cubs Thunder if the Cardinals lose.

Also part of the wager was Chicago deep dish pizza and Old Style beer from Six Flags Great America and Maull’s BBQ sauce with pork steaks and some famous St. Louis toasted ravioli from Six Flags St. Louis.

Six Flags Great America said it will show the games at the ballpark this weekend in the sports bar JB’s Barbeque.

The Cubs take on the Cardinals in Game 1 of the series Friday and Game 2 on Saturday.

Photo Credit: Six Flags Great America]]>
<![CDATA[Men to Run From Chicago Marathon to NYC in 22-Day Trek]]> Fri, 09 Oct 2015 15:37:09 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/ALEX+AND+PAT+ULTRARUNNERS.jpg

The Chicago Marathon is challenging enough for many who run the race. However, two men plan on running it and continuing on in a 22-day fundraising mission.

“Ultrarunners” Alex Ramsey and Patrick Sweeney plan on completing an 846-mile run from Chicago to New York. They will start at Sunday’s race and continue running after reaching the finish line in Grant Park.

After completing the Chicago Marathon, they will run for about 23 miles more and end up at Beverly Shores, Indiana.

In all, their 22-day run will span four states and culminate in the Big Apple where they will compete in the New York City Marathon on Nov. 1.

The two are making the trek to raise money and awareness for ‘Walk for Peace,’ an initiative that aims to build a school in Kenya’s North Rift Valley region.

<![CDATA[Meet Your 2015 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Broadcast Hosts]]> Fri, 09 Oct 2015 21:48:22 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Carrie+Tollefson.jpg

Chicago’s NBC5 team members will join running legends on Sunday to offer marathon coverage from start to finish, with special insights and updates coming from key locations on the course.

Four world-class commentators will bring you all the action of the 2015 Chicago Marathon from the booth. 
NBC 5 sports anchor and “Ironman” triathlete Mike Adamle, well-known for his history with Chicago sports as both athlete and commentator, will be joined by reporter Lauren Jiggetts who won an Emmy for her 2009 Chicago Marathon coverage, 
Decorated 1984 Olympian Tim Hutchings, a former middle and long distance runner with top finishes in the European Championships, IAAF World Cross Country Championships and the Belfast International Cross Country race, joins Mike and Lauren with vast knowledge and marathon expertise. 
Two-time Olympic marathoner and long-distance runner Ed Eyestone rounds out the commentating team in the booth and will bring his knowledge of the marathon to the forefront of the commentating team.
Always a crucial variable pertaining to race performance and top finishing times, weather for the day will be brought to you by Alicia Roman starting early that morning.
As marathoners take their places at the starting line in Grant Park and cross the finish line later on, they’ll be joined by NBC 5’s weekday morning news co-anchors Stefan Holt and Zoraida Sambolin
Coverage from motorcycles from various points on the course will be brought to you by three-time Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein, Olympian Carrie Tollefson and Peabody Award-winning Chicago journalist Carol Marin. 
Three key neighborhoods along the marathon route will have special coverage. NBC 5 traffic reporter Kye Martin will report from Lakeview, Telemundo meteorologist Maricela Vazquez will cover marathoners traversing Pilsen and NBC 5 meteorologist Byron Miranda will check in from Chinatown to keep viewers up to speed. 

<![CDATA[Bushrod Ruled Out for Bears' Game Sunday vs. Chiefs]]> Fri, 09 Oct 2015 13:44:37 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/167*120/GettyImages-457082207.jpg

The Chicago Bears will once again be without one of their best offensive linemen on Sunday afternoon in Kansas City, as Jermon Bushrod has been ruled out of the game with a concussion.

Bushrod also missed last week’s victory over the Raiders with the injury, which he suffered in Week 3 against the Seattle Seahawks. He will likely be replaced in the lineup by second-year tackle Charles Leno, Jr., who also started at left tackle against the Raiders.

No other Bears players were officially ruled out of Sunday’s game, but it seems unlikely at this point that safety Antrel Rolle will play. He is listed as doubtful on the Bears’ injury report as he continues to deal with an ankle issue.

The Bears could also be without wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal for Sunday’s game, as neither player participated in the session of practice open to the media. They both were limited participants in practice on Wednesday and Thursday, and both have been listed as questionable for Sunday’s game.

Quarterback Jay Cutler is also listed as questionable as he continues to deal with a hamstring injury, as is back-up quarterback Jimmy Clausen. Right tackle Kyle Long is also questionable for the game, as are cornerback Alan Ball, nose tackle Jeremiah Ratliff, and outside linebacker Pernell McPhee.

Left guard Patrick Omameh is also questionable for Sunday’s game, and if he’s unable to go, then the Bears will likely shift Matt Slauson back to his usual guard position and insert rookie center Hroniss Grasu into the lineup for his first career NFL start.

Punter Pat O’Donnell rounds out the injury report, as he’s been listed as probable to play on Sunday after missing Week 4 with a knee injury.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[5 Ways to Avoid Buying Fake Cubs Merchandise]]> Fri, 09 Oct 2015 13:20:34 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/178*120/GettyImages-468688754+%281%29.jpg

The Chicago Cubs' first playoff game win in 12 years offers scammers a chance to trick consumers into buying fake tickets and merchandise, the Better Business Bureau warns.

"Whenever there's excitement about a special event, like the Cubs post-season appearance, there are counterfeiters who want to take advantage of the opportunity in an illegal way," Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois, said.

To help consumers avoid falling prey to illegal scams on Cubs tickets and merchandise, the BBB offers five pointers.
1. If the deal is looks too good to be true, it probably is.
“One-time good deals should be red flags to anyone anxious for a ticket,” the BBB said in a statement. “Illegal ticket sellers know excitement about the event too often gets in the way of common sense and smart buying.”
2. Only buy game tickets and merchandise from reputable ticket brokers and retailers.
If consumers have questions, the BBB recommends they check online reports at www.bbb.org/chicago and read the company’s Consumer Reviews. Also, the BBB advises consumers to check the status of the brokers and retailers to see if they are BBB accredited.
3. When buying Cubs clothing and gear, consumers should look for the official hologram and license from the sports league.
The holograms and licenses, “are very difficult to fake and an excellent indication of a licensed product,” the BBB said in a statement.
4. If you buy merchandise online, only buy from licensed sites.
The BBB urges consumers to look for broken English in product descriptions. “This could indicate an overseas company, and these companies are among the principal culprits in producing counterfeit goods,” the BBB said in a statement.
5. When paying for your Cub’s gear, use a credit card if possible.
According to the BBB, paying with a credit card allows you the flexibility to appeal to credit card company and dispute erroneous charges.
"Cubs fans have waited many years for a post-season opportunity," Bernas said. "We don't want their excitement to be spoiled by losing money with fake tickets or poor merchandise."
For more information on scams, visit www.bbb.org/chicago.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago Marathon Eliminates Elite Pacers for This Year's Race]]> Fri, 09 Oct 2015 22:07:58 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-457117920.jpg

For the first time in 26 years, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon will not feature elite pacesetters.

Pacers, commonly referred to as rabbits, are masters of consistent running times and help racers avoid making mistakes – like starting races too fast – and are employed frequently to help elite runners set records. 

"This change has the potential to produce more Olympic­-like race conditions and a more strategic, tactical competition for runners," marathon organizers said in a statement. "But with time bonuses still intact, a record-chasing speed show is not an artifact of the past."
The Chicago Marathon joins the Boston and New York marathons in eliminating rabbits, aiming to help Chicago's race produce Olympic-like marathon race conditions where pacers aren’t permitted.
Chicago's marathon is a fast course and without pacers runners have set records. 
Joan Benoit Samuelson, one of the most famous of these no-rabbit, record-setting runners, returns to Chicago on Oct. 11, 30 years after her impressive 1985 Chicago Marathon win.
Marathon officials confirm that time bonuses remain in this year’s marathon as financial incentives for the racers to run quickly. 
After a quarter decade racing with rabbits, the Chicago Marathon is setting the scene for a psychologically spurred speed showdown on Oct. 11. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Coghlan, Ross in Cubs' Game 1 Lineup vs. Cardinals]]> Fri, 09 Oct 2015 12:27:21 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-491740598.jpg

The Chicago Cubs will take on John Lackey and the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night at Busch Stadium, and manager Joe Maddon has unveiled his lineup for Game 1 of the NLDS.

Here is the full lineup that the Cubs will use as they try to steal a game in St. Louis to start the series:

1 Dexter Fowler – CF

2 Kyle Schwarber – LF

3 Kris Bryant – 3B

4 Anthony Rizzo – 1B

5 Starlin Castro – 2B

6 Chris Coghlan – RF

7 Addison Russell – SS

8 David Ross – C

9 Jon Lester – P

The lineup is similar to ones used by Maddon in Lester starts this season, with Ross coming in to catch instead of Miguel Montero, but there are a couple of other interesting changes. Chris Coghlan joins the lineup despite struggling over the final month of the season, but in his career against Lackey he is 8-for-17 with a double and two RBI, along with an OPS of 1.029.

The Cubs will also retain plenty of options in terms of defensive substitutions later in the game, with Austin Jackson a potential candidate to come in for Schwarber in left field and either Tommy La Stella or Javier Baez able to come in if Maddon opts to replace Castro at second base (although he declined an opportunity to do that in the wild card game vs. Pittsburgh, so a defensive sub may not occur in this game either).

<![CDATA[TV Personality Bill Rancic Tackles Chicago Marathon]]> Fri, 09 Oct 2015 12:25:43 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000014623490_1200x675_541768771597.jpg It’s been 14 years, but entrepreneur and television personality, Bill Rancic, is once again ready to conquer the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.]]> <![CDATA[Legendary Marathoners Joan Benoit Samuelson, Deena Kastor Are Each Other's 'Inspiration']]> Fri, 09 Oct 2015 12:21:34 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/benoit+samuelson+kastor.jpg The two greatest American female runners in history will once again race through the streets of Chicago for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, but instead of competing against each other, they will motivate one another.]]> <![CDATA[Cubs Tweak Roster Ahead of NLDS Showdown With Cardinals]]> Fri, 09 Oct 2015 11:42:54 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-491326968.jpg

The Chicago Cubs have set their roster for their NLDS showdown with the St. Louis Cardinals, and while 24 of the players that were there against Pittsburgh are on the list again, there is one notable change.

The team has opted to bring Jason Hammel onto the roster, as could be expected, but the player they chose to cut in favor of the veteran starter is a bit surprising: Quintin Berry.

While Berry isn’t exactly a household name, he represents a player that many teams will make a point of carrying on their postseason roster. He is the fastest player that the Cubs have at their disposal, and in a game where going from first to third on a play or stealing a base can often mean the difference between winning and losing, having a pinch-runner of his caliber is a luxury that many teams will choose to hold onto.

In the Cubs’ case however, there really wasn’t another position player worth dropping to keep Berry. Guys like Chris Denorfia have proven to be big contributors as pinch-hitters, and players like Austin Jackson, Javier Baez, and Tommy La Stella are all capable of coming into games as defensive substitutions late in games.

The Cubs are also likely holding onto an extra pitcher in case Kyle Hendricks’ start doesn’t go well in Game 2, or if Jon Lester has to pitch on short rest in Game 4. That would allow Joe Maddon to empty out the bullpen if necessary, giving him flexibility to go after specific matchups and playing percentages if he wants to.

Here is the full roster for the Cubs in the NLDS:

Pitchers: Jake Arrieta, Trevor Cahill, Justin Grimm, Jason Hammel, Kyle Hendricks, Jon Lester, Clayton Richard, Fernando Rodney, Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop, Travis Wood

Catchers: Miguel Montero, David Ross

Infielders: Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Starlin Castro, Tommy La Stella, Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell

Outfielders: Chris Coghlan, Chris Denorfia, Dexter Fowler, Austin Jackson, Kyle Schwarber, Jorge Soler

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[South Side Bar Offers Free Beer for Every Cardinals Homer]]> Fri, 09 Oct 2015 11:24:07 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/209*120/mcnally%27s.jpg

While much of Chicago has come down with a serious case of Cubs fever, there’s at least one South Side establishment that appears to be immune.

In a community where White Sox roots ring strong sits McNally’s sports bar. The popular Morgan Park bar, located at 11136 S. Western Ave., has made it clear they’re not rooting for the Sox's North Side rivals, despite the fact that they're from the same city.

Posting signs outside their bar that read “Free Beer Every Cardinal Home Run” and “Cub Fans Whos [sic] Gonna Pitch Now?” McNally’s has publicly shown that they aren't sharing the excitement Cubs fans in Wrigleyville are. 


Let's go Cards!!!⚾️��⚾️��⚾️��

Posted by McNally's on Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Cubs are set to face the St. Louis Cardinals Friday in the National League Division Series. Whether Sox fans hoping to catch a free beer will end up with a drink in hand remains to be seen.

<![CDATA[2015 Chicago Marathon Expo Begins]]> Fri, 09 Oct 2015 18:15:49 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/175*120/GettyImages-457114818+%281%29.jpg

McCormick Place will be a packed place Friday and Saturday as runners participating in Sunday's Bank of America Chicago Marathon flock to the facility for the Abbott Health & Fitness Expo.

The two-day event features more than 200 exhibitors offering the newest designs in running footwear, apparel and accessories, as well as the latest developments in sports, technology, fitness and nutrition.

It's also where thousands of runners will pick up their participant packets for the big race.

All runners are required to collect their packets themselves by presenting their packet pick-up ticket or email along with a photo ID.. In previous years, the packets containing a numbered bib, gear check tag, timing device,  shirt could be picked up by a friend or family member.

The expo runs Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at McCormick Place Convention Center's North Building, Hall B at 2301 S. Prairie Ave.

Sunday, Oct. 11: NBC Chicago broadcasts the 2015 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. NBCChicago.com will offer a livestream beginning at 7 a.m. CT.

Watch Online | Track Runners | Full Coverage

<![CDATA[Colbert Decries Billy Goat Curse, Predicts Cubs World Series Win]]> Fri, 09 Oct 2015 10:26:24 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP763373860260.jpg

Stephen Colbert isn’t afraid of billy goats anymore – not after the Chicago Cubs' wild card win on Wednesday.

In fact, the “Late Show” host, who lived in Chicago for 11 years, is so inspired by the Cubs, he went on a rant against goats Thursday night, even going as far as kicking one out of his studio.

“I’m not scared of you knuckle-kneed sheep wannabees anymore,” he said. “Oh, that feels good. So many things I’ve wanted to say about your kind for years, but I’ve been too afraid because of the curse. Not anymore.”

He then went on to insult goat cheese and soul patch beards.

“What are you going to do about it goats? Curse the Cubs again? I dare you,” he said. “The Cubs are unstoppable.”

The infamous Billy Goat curse dates back to Oct. 6, 1945, when Billy Goat Tavern owner Billy Sianis claimed to place a curse on the Cubs to prevent them from ever hosting another World Series at Wrigley Field.

But as far as Colbert is concerned, the curse is gone.

“Now it looks like the days of the curse are behind my Cubs,” he said. “I think I can safely say without any fear of jinxing it they’re going all the way. The Cubs are going to win the World Series.”

He even made a 2015 Cubs World Series Championship T-shirt, featuring a goat.

But when one four-legged member of the audience didn’t cheer on his beloved team, Colbert decided to kick it out.

“There is no possible way this decision can come back to haunt me, or the Cubs. After all the Cubs are clearly the greatest of all time (G.O.A.T.),” he said.

He then led the audience in a G.O.A.T. chant.

Whether Colbert’s daring messages will ring true this season remains to be seen. The Chicago Cubs begin their battle against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium Friday for the National League Division Series.  

Photo Credit: File - Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
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<![CDATA[Cubs-Cardinals NLDS: Schedule, Dates and Times]]> Fri, 09 Oct 2015 14:54:56 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Cubs+Fans1.png

The Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals will get the National League Division Series started on Friday, and now the full schedule has been released for the first-ever playoff series between the teams.

All of the games are set to air on TBS, and this is when you should be ready to watch the first pitch thrown out:

NLDS Game 1: Friday, Oct. 9

Chicago Cubs @ St. Louis — 5:45 p.m. (CT)
NY Mets @ LA Dodgers — 8:45 p.m. (CT)

NLDS Game 2: Saturday, Oct. 10

Chicago Cubs @ St. Louis — 4:37 p.m. (CT)
NY Mets @ LA Dodgers — 8:07 p.m. (CT)

NLDS Game 3: Monday, Oct. 12 at Wrigley Field

Scenario 1 (If four games on Monday)
St. Louis @ Chicago Cubs — 5:07 p.m. (CT)
LA Dodgers @ NY Mets — 7:37 p.m. (CT)

Scenario 2 (If two or three games on Monday)
St. Louis @ Chicago Cubs — 3:37 p.m. (CT)
LA Dodgers @ NY Mets — 7:07 p.m. (CT)

NLDS Game 4: Tuesday, Oct. 13 at Wrigley Field

St. Louis @ Chicago Cubs — 3:37 p.m.* (CT)
LA Dodgers @ NY Mets — 7:07 p.m. (CT)

NLDS Game 5: Thursday, Oct. 15

Chicago Cubs @ St. Louis* — 3:37 p.m.* (CT)
NY Mets @ LA Dodgers — 7:07 p.m. (CT)

*Cubs’ Game 4 and 5 will move to 7:07 p.m. if NYM-LAD has ended series

<![CDATA[Obama Says He's Rooting for the Cubs]]> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 21:32:10 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-491032254.jpg

The Cubs have many famous fans, but now they can say they have the support of a world leader.

President Obama, who is an avid White Sox fan, said that he will still support the other team of the city.

"With the Sox out, I'll be rooting for the Cubs to win the Series," Obama told the Chicago Tribune in an email. "They're due. They've got great young players, and I'm a Maddon fan. That's an official statement."

The president joins a long list of notable names backing the team, including: Bill Murray, Vince Vaughn, and John Cusack.

The Cubs will face the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday.

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lawsuit Filed Against DraftKings, FanDuel]]> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 17:42:10 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/FanDuel.jpg

Fantasy sports betting sites DraftKings and FanDuel have been hit with a federal class action lawsuit.

The suit, which lists the plaintiff as Adam Johnson, alleges DraftKings and FanDuel fraudulently misrepresent contestants’ chances of making money and the fairness of the games, don’t disclose the possibility of employees using inside information to improve their odds of winning jackpots and violate Massachusetts, New York and Kentucky consumer protection laws.

The suit seeks to order the daily fantasy sports sites to reimburse players for “all monies wrongfully obtained” and cease any deceptive advertising.

DraftKings and FanDuel told customers its employees weren't allowed to play on their sites; however, they "omitted the material fact that they were allowed to play on other sites and that other sites' employees were allowed to play on their site," according to the suit, which was filed in New York Thursday.

Wednesday, FanDuel announced it was banning all of its employees from participating on other daily fantasy sports operators' sites for money and the launch of an internal investigation following reports that a DraftKings employee may have had access to valuable data that gave the employee an unfair advantage before winning a $350,000 contest on FanDuel.

Necn’s parent company, Comcast, and sister company NBC Sports Group are among investors in FanDuel. 

Photo Credit: File--AP]]>
<![CDATA[Epstein: Schwarber Predicted Home Run Two Weeks Ago]]> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 18:08:11 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000014602917_1200x675_541291075720.jpg Cubs President Theo Epstein says Kyle Schwarber predicted he would hit a home run during the wild card game in Pittsburgh two weeks before the game in even happened. ]]> <![CDATA[2015 Chicago Marathon Steps Off Sunday]]> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 17:59:36 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/207*120/Chicago+Marathon+preparation+10+edited.jpg

Thousands of runners will descend on Chicago streets Sunday for the 38th Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

Forty-five thousand participants are expected to take part in the event, which steps off at 7:30 a.m.

The city is one of six World Marathon Majors.

Race officials are preparing for warmer weather conditions as runners could face temperatures approaching 70 degrees during the race.

“We are planning for a little warmer weather, making sure we have the resources we need,” said Carey Pinkowski, executive race director for the marathon. “Obviously we are talking with our volunteers, our medical team, the city agencies involved.”

City officials revealed their security plan this week, bracing for more than 1 million spectators to line the course and watch the event. Columbus Drive was closed to traffic Thursday as the beginning security measures were put into place.

“What it is about is communication from our participants, to our spectators,” Pinkowski said. “What I have always said is that Sunday is like no other Sunday, but every other day. So, we have to vigilant and we have a great plan in place that will be implemented again this year.”

For many runners, the event is highlight for the year.

“It’s our own private holiday,” said George Mill, who has run every marathon. “We get to be a part of something much bigger ourselves too. It’s just really neat.”

That’s also what keeps Joan Benoit Samuelson coming back. It has been 30 years since the Olympic Champion first raced in Chicago.

“I never thought I would have the competitive juices flowing for 26.2 miles this many years later, but it’s part of who I am,” she said.

The 2015 Bank of America Chicago Marathon will be streamed live beginning at 7 a.m. Sunday on NBC Chicago. Watch it live here.

Photo Credit: NBCChicago.com]]>
<![CDATA[Bushrod Misses Practice as Bears' Injury Report Fills Up ]]> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 17:37:29 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-488805230.jpg

The Chicago Bears’ injury report is out, and it’s hard to tell whether there’s more players healthy or more players dealing with injuries on their roster.

Exaggeration aside, the Bears’ injury report is chock full of bad news for the team, and odds are they will have to make some roster moves as they prepare to take on the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday afternoon at Arrowhead Stadium.

Left tackle Jermon Bushrod continues to miss practice as he deals with the aftermath of a concussion, and he was joined on the “did not participate” list by fellow lineman Patrick Omameh. Omameh played at the left guard position after center Will Montgomery left Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders, but if he can’t go Sunday, then it would seem that Hroniss Grasu will get the start at center and Matt Slauson will kick back out to left guard for the game.

Safety Antrel Rolle missed his second straight day of practice with an ankle injury, as did wide receiver Eddie Royal. Cornerback Sherrick McManis, who missed Wednesday’s practice with a hamstring ailment, was a limited participant in Thursday’s workout.

McManis was far from alone in terms of players who were listed as “limited” Thursday. Cornerback Alan Ball (groin), quarterback Jay Cutler (hamstring), tackle Tayo Fabuluje (ankle), wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (hamstring), right tackle Kyle Long (back/ankle), linebacker Shea McClellin (elbow), punter Pat O’Donnell (knee), nose tackle Jeremiah Ratliff (ankle), and defensive end WIll Sutton (elbow) were all limited in practice on Thursday.

There should be a clearer idea given on Friday about which players will be able to suit up for the game against the Chiefs, but the Bears could be looking at once again dealing without some key players as they try to win their second game in a row.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cubs, Cardinals Set NLDS Rotations]]> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 17:18:59 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/jake-arrieta-cubs-chicago.jpg

The Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals will begin their first ever playoff matchup on Friday night at Busch Stadium, and we now know the pitchers that will be toeing the rubber for both teams.

For the Cardinals, John Lackey will be their Game 1 starter when the two teams meet in Game 1 of the National League Division Series. For the Cubs, it will be Jon Lester, who was strong for the Cubs in the second half of the season but went just 1-3 with a 2.59 ERA and a .216 batting average against in five starts against the Redbirds this season.

In Saturday afternoon’s Game 2 at Busch Stadium, the Cardinals will pitch Jaime Garcia against Chicago’s Kyle Hendricks. Hendricks only pitched once against the Cardinals during the regular season, giving up six hits and four earned runs in a no-decision for the Cubs.

Game 3 will be the first home playoff game for the Cubs since the 2008 season, and Jake Arrieta will take the mound at Wrigley Field on Monday afternoon. Michael Wacha will oppose him for the Cardinals.

The Cardinals have also announced a Game 4 starter for the series, with Lance Lynn slated to pitch in the game if necessary at Wrigley Field. The Cubs did not name a starter for the game, but could go with Lester on three days rest or with Jason Hammel depending on the circumstances surrounding the game.

Photo Credit: EFE]]>
<![CDATA[Vin Scully to Miss 2015 Postseason]]> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 20:42:05 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/208*120/Vin+Scully+Out+for+Postseason.png

Just 24 hours away from Game 1 of their National League Division Series against the New York Mets, the Los Angeles Dodgers announced that a key member of their team would miss the entire postseason.

Don't worry, fans, it's not Clayton Kershaw or Zack Greinke. Instead, Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully will miss the postseason after undergoing a medical procedure on Thursday morning.

Scully missed the team's four-game series in San Francisco last week and the team's final three games at Dodger Stadium over the weekend due to an undisclosed illness. We're still not sure what the illness was or the severity of it, but apparently it did require minor surgery.

The team announced that Scully is resting comfortably at this time, and has been advised by his doctors to miss the entire 2015 postseason.

"Everyone in the Dodgers organization wishes Vin the speediest of recoveries," the team said.

Scully will return for his 67th season in 2016, and is looking forward to returning next year said the team.

In Scully's absence, Charley Steiner and Rick Monday will call the games throughout the postseason until the Dodgers are either eliminated, or win their first World Series title in 27 years.

We wish Vin a speedy recovery.

Photo Credit: File - Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[9 Arrests Made in Wrigleyville Wednesday: Police]]> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 15:42:00 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-491734506.jpg

Cubs fans were excited about the team's win against the Pirates Wednesday -- but a few people ended the night in handcuffs.

Chicago police said nine people were arrested for misdemeanor crimes n Wrigleyville. Another 12 received tickets.

Some fans feared that celebrations might get out of hand.

"I hope we can have as much fun as we can without people being stupid," said Cubs fan, Whitney Smith.

Many people were seen cheering underneath the Wrigley Field marquee sign at the corner of Addison and Clark.

On Monday, some Wrigleyville business owners met with fire and police on Monday to lay out a plan ahead of the celebrations.

Alderman Tom Tunney said Tuesday that bars and restaurants in the Wrigleyville area will have additional security and will use plastic cups instead of glass.

Police said in a statement that they "have implemented enhancements to the deployment and without going into specific numbers, we're prepared from a resource perspective to keep everyone safe to celebrate a Cubs win."

The security precautions came after hundreds of Chicago Blackhawks fans took to the streets to celebrate the team’s Stanley Cup victory in 2013, breaking down police barricades, setting off fireworks and shattering storefronts. Nearly two dozen people were arrested in the celebration. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cubs to Face Stern Test in St. Louis]]> Fri, 09 Oct 2015 10:17:16 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-491754808.jpg

The Chicago Cubs were one of baseball’s best teams during the regular season, and they proved why in a 4-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Wild Card Game.

Even with their first postseason victory in 12 years under their belts, the Cubs don’t have much time to rest on their laurels, as they look at an even more formidable foe: the St. Louis Cardinals.

For the first time in history, the two teams will meet in the pressure-packed world of October baseball, and both teams have legitimate championship aspirations. The Cubs boast a young lineup stocked with sluggers and defensive standouts, and their 1-2 punch of Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta provides a stern test for any team.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals have persevered through a slew of injuries this season and come out on the other side battle-tested and ready, winning yet another NL Central title and earning themselves four days of rest before they battle the Cubs beginning on Friday afternoon at Busch Stadium.

Unlike the NL wild card game, the National League Division Series is a best-of-five affair, but not one that the Cubs have fared well in recently. They did win the 2003 NLDS against the Atlanta Braves, their only postseason series win since the 1908 World Series, but they were swept out of the NLDS in consecutive appearances in the 2007 and 2008 seasons, courtesy of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers, respectively.

On the other side of the diamond, the Cardinals have made the playoffs in each of the past five seasons, and they’ve advanced past the NLDS in the first four appearances. In 2011 they knocked off the Philadelphia Phillies to advance, and then knocked off the Washington Nationals in thrilling fashion in 2012. The Pirates were the Cardinals’ next victims in 2013, and last season the Redbirds knocked off the Dodgers before eventually falling in the NLCS.

Even with all of that postseason success for the Cardinals, the Cubs still have reason to feel optimistic. Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina is still dealing with the after-effects of a torn ligament in his catching hand (suffered in a game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field), and he may not play in the series. The Cardinals have also lost several other key players, including pitcher Carlos Martinez, so they’ll still be playing somewhat short-handed when the series begins Friday.

The Cardinals have gotten a bit healthier, however, as pitcher Adam Wainwright has rejoined the team as a reliever after missing nearly the entire regular season. Outfielder Stephen Piscotty is also back in the mix after he was injured in a horrifying outfield collision late in the campaign.

If the Cubs are able to advance (and they are a slight 51.6 percent favorite to do so, according to Five Thirty Eight’s ELO ratings), then they would not only become the third wild card team in four seasons to get to the NLCS, but they would advance to that series for the first time in 12 years. If they make it there, they would have to face either the New York Mets or the Los Angeles Dodgers, and they would once again have to begin the series on the road, as division winners take precedence for home-field advantage.

<![CDATA[Want to Go to Monday's Game at Wrigley Field? It Will Cost You]]> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 13:12:39 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-491734516.jpg

The Chicago Cubs are coming off their first playoff win in 12 years and tickets for the team’s first home game at Wrigley Field Monday are going fast.

St. Louis Cardinals have home field advantage, so they get to host Games 1 and 2 at Busch Stadium Friday and Saturday, but tickets for Game 3 at Wrigley will set you back $280 for standing-room-only seats.

By Thursday morning, the highest priced seat was going for a staggering $20,000 on StubHub.

Everyone wants a good deal, but more importantly, you want to make sure your tickets are real, something the team reminded season ticket holders who secured playoff tickets earlier in the season.

“We’ve noticed an increasing amount of postseason ticket images being shared on social media and other online channels,” the message read. “To help prevent the unintended or fraudulent resale of your postseason tickets, fans are advised to refrain from sharing images that reveal a ticket’s unique barcode letters and numbers.”

Stubhub is the official ticket marketplace of Major League Baseball, and the company gives fans a guarantee that tickets purchased on the online ticketing giant will be authentic. But the same can’t always be said for sites like Craigslist and other ticket vendors.

The Cubs don’t have any additional tickets available for this round versus the Cardinals, however, if the team advances to the National League Championship Series, fans were allowed to sign up for a random drawing for seats before 12 p.m. Thursday.

World Series registration period for ticket drawings will remain open on their website until 12 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16.

If you want cheaper tickets than the $280 dollar seats we mentioned, you can find them, but you’ll have to drive to St. Louis.

<![CDATA[Pittsburgh Building Owners Respond After Cubs Prank]]> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 10:56:04 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/258*120/cubs+prank+thumb.jpg

Looks like the owners of the Pittsburgh building that was pranked by a Cubs fan Wednesday have a sense of humor.

After Chicago fan Steve Mpistolarides walked into an office building across the street from PNC Park and quietly changed a sign that read “Let’s Go Bucs” to “Let’s Go Cubs,” the sign was changed to “Let's Goat Cubs.”

Smith Brothers Agency, an ad agency headquartered in the building, first posted a photo of their prank response on Twitter with the caption “A good prank deserves a good hex. #CurseOfTheBillyGoat #LetsGoBucs #Buctober.”

The goat was a reference to the infamous Billy Goat curse, which dates back to Oct. 6, 1945, when tavern owner Billy Sianis claimed to place a curse on the Cubs to prevent them from ever hosting another World Series at Wrigley Field.

But that didn’t faze the Mpistolarides family, who were later treated to a rooftop party, courtesy of the building’s owners.

"At first we were like I don't know, they might be setting us up for who knows what, but we said, 'Oh well, let's check it out," said Steve Mpistolarides. "Then we ended up at one of the coolest parties probably in all of Pittsburgh. They were really nice though very cordial. We had a good time."

Smith Brothers Agency shared a photo of the owners and the Mpistolarides family at their rooftop tailgate party with the caption “pregaming with the pranksters.”

“They kept telling us we were going to be bad luck,” said Steve Mpistolarides. “We said, ‘We’re the curse busters and we’re not afraid of no goat.’ We’re Greek and we’re getting rid of this curse.”

The Cubs went on to win their first postseason game in 12 years, beating the Pittsburgh Pirates by a score of 4-0.

The Mpistolarides family said the day’s events were unexpected, to say the least.

“We were doing it as a joke between us to send our friends back in Chicago,” Steve Mpistolarides said. “Next thing I know I got all kinds of I don’t know, Facebook messages, tweets and Twitters.”

Since video of the prank was first posted by Mpistolarides' son Travis, it has been viewed more than 140,000 times, he said. 

Photo Credit: Travis Mpistolarides
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<![CDATA[WATCH: Inside Cubs' Clubhouse Celebration Post-Win]]> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 08:32:00 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000014596608_1200x675_540877379770.jpg For the first time in 12 years, the Chicago Cubs won a postseason game Wednesday night, and the team's celebration inside the clubhouse immediately after proved it. NBC 5's Peggy Kusinski took us inside.]]> <![CDATA[‘We Came Out, Showed Them’: Schwarber Talks Home Run]]> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 08:33:09 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000014595892_1200x675_540872259629.jpg Both Dexter Fowler and Kyle Schwarber hit home runs Wednesday night, and Jake Arrieta pitched a complete game as the Cubs set up an NLDS showdown with the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday. Immediately after their victory, Schwarber talked to NBC 5's Peggy Kusinski in the team's clubhouse.]]> <![CDATA[Arrieta: 'You Can’t Ever Really Put it in Words']]> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 08:28:35 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000014595876_1200x675_540870723985.jpg Wednesday night's win was one that pitcher Jake Arrieta has trained his whole life for. He told NBC 5's Peggy Kusinski how it feels to be celebrating the victory of their first postseason game in the Cubs' clubhouse. ]]> <![CDATA[Fowler Reflects on Teammates, Road to Victory]]> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 08:28:52 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000014595904_1200x675_540872771583.jpg Dexter Fowler talked to NBC 5's Peggy Kusinski in the Cubs' clubhouse after Wednesday night's history-making Wild Card win. ]]> <![CDATA[Arrieta on Being Hit by Pitch: 'I Anticipated That']]> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 01:05:57 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/203*120/GettyImages-491741678.jpg

There was a heated moment on the field during the Chicago Cubs' wild card game against the Pirates.

In the top of the seventh inning, Pirates pitcher Tony Watson hit Jake Arrieta with a pitch. The benches cleared as the two teams jawed at one another, but things were eventually settled with only Sean Rodriguez getting ejected after he threw a punch at David Ross in the melee.

The inning ended without incident, and the Cubs continued to lead.

Arrieta discussed the moment in a press conference after the Cubs' win. He said that he wasn't surprised that it happened.

“I anticipated that. It’s just one of those situations where you expect Tony to protect his guys,” said Arrieta, who also explained that two of his pitches that hit Pirates players were unintentional.

When asked why the situation got out of control, Arrieta said it was the play offs.

"Tempers are running hot, it is what it is," Arrieta said. "At the end of the day I have tremendous respect for those guys."

The series begins on Friday afternoon at 5:30 p.m., with Game 1 taking place at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cubs Win Wild Card Game 4-0 Over Pirates]]> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 00:45:16 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/202*120/GettyImages-491743510.jpg

For the first time in 12 years, the Chicago Cubs have won a postseason game as they knocked off the Pittsburgh Pirates by a score of 4-0 on Wednesday night. 

Dexter Fowler and Kyle Schwarber both hit home runs, and Jake Arrieta pitched a complete game as the Cubs set up an NLDS showdown with the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday. 

The Cubs got off to a flying start in the game as Dexter Fowler laced a single to center field, and he promptly stole second base. On a 2-2 count, Kyle Schwarber muscled a ball into left field, driving in Fowler and giving Jake Arrieta a 1-0 lead before he even took the mound.

The Pirates got a two-out single from Andrew McCutchen in the bottom of the frame, but Arrieta appeared unfazed as he struck out Starling Marte on an 0-2 pitch to leave the Cubs ahead through the first inning of play.

Both pitchers breezed through the second inning, with Cole only allowing a deep fly ball to Addison Russell and Arrieta conceding a fly ball to Jordy Mercer that Fowler gloved to keep the game at 1-0 in favor of Chicago.

The score remained that way until the third inning, when Schwarber stepped up with Fowler on first base. On an inside pitch, the rookie right fielder turned on the ball and hammered a home run deep over the right field wall to give the Cubs a 3-0 lead through two and a half innings.

Arrieta cruised through the next two innings, and in the top of the fifth inning, he was given another run of support as Fowler went deep. He hammered a home run to right-center field, giving the Cubs a 4-0 cushion as Cole left the game for the Pirates.

Things got interesting in the bottom of the sixth inning as the Pirates loaded the bases with one out, but the Cubs were able to get out of the mess as Marte grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning with the visitors still up four runs.

Things got even more heated in the top of the seventh inning as Tony Watson hit Arrieta with a pitch. The benches cleared as the two teams jawed at one another, but things were eventually settled with only Sean Rodriguez getting ejected after he threw a punch at David Ross in the melee. The inning ended without incident, and the Cubs continued to lead.

The Pirates got a baserunner in the bottom of the eighth inning, but Arrieta continued his dominance as his pitch count exceeded the century mark. He struck out Josh Harrison with two outs and a runner on first to retire the Pirates and put the Cubs three outs away from victory. 

Avoiding all drama, Arrieta cruised through the ninth inning to finish the complete game. He got McCutchen on a slow ground ball back to the mound, and then forced a groundout from Marte for the second out. When Cervelli lined out to second base, the Cubs clinched their first playoff victory in 12 years, and set up a series against the Cardinals beginning on Friday. 

The series begins on Friday afternoon at 5:30 p.m., with Game 1 taking place at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Celebrities Who Root for the Chicago Cubs]]> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 07:08:42 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Bill+Murray1.png

While many Chicago Cubs rookies have become celebrities of sorts during the team’s exciting season so far, it appears they’re also being cheered on by a number of big time stars.

With that in mind, we've put together a starting lineup of celebrity Cubs fans. First things first: We’ve named Bill Murray as the team manager, because you don’t wear pants like this unless you're a man in power.

That said, here's our nine-celebrity lineup:

1. Pete Wentz: Wentz’ band Fall Out Boy performed at the Cubs’ home opener at Wrigley Field this year. Wentz was raised a Cubs fans and reportedly said it was a “cool father-son moment” for his dad to be in the stands that day.

2. Vince Vaughn: Vaughn has never been one to shy away from his Chicago sports pride, and the Chicago Cubs are no exception. The celeb actor has thrown several first pitches wearing Cubs jerseys.

3. John Cusack: Cusack has been spotted cheering on the team at numerous Cubs games. 

4. Nick Offerman: This could be the best Cubs-Sox video ever made. Obviously, Offerman is the Cubs fan.

5. Jake Johnson: The “New Girl” actor and Evanston native made an appearance earlier this year at a Cubs game, and even led the crowd in singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during a game at Wrigley in August.

6. Eddie Vedder: Besides writing a tribute song about the Cubs, Vedder was seen in Pittsburgh supporting the Cubs before the big National League Wild Card Game Wednesday.

7. Jack White: The rock singer was spotted enjoying a Cubs game last year. 

 8. Hillary Clinton: The Chicago-area native may be torn between the Cubs and the Yankees, but she reportedly said she’s rooting for the Cubs Wednesday night!

9. William Petersen: it doesn’t take a detective to see that Petersen is a big Cubs fan, just watch his special appearance during a game in 2008 here!

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<![CDATA[Cubs Set Lineup for Wild Card Showdown vs. Pirates ]]> Wed, 07 Oct 2015 13:53:31 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/arrieta+diamondbacks.jpg

The Chicago Cubs are looking for their first playoff victory in 12 years when they take on the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night, and manager Joe Maddon has set his line-up for the winner-take-all-game.

Here is how the Cubs will line up against the Pirates:

1 Dexter Fowler – CF

2 Kyle Schwarber – RF

3 Kris Bryant – LF

4 Anthony Rizzo – 1B

5 Tommy La Stella – 3B

6 Starlin Castro – 2B

7 Miguel Montero – C

8 Addison Russell – SS

9 Jake Arrieta – P

The decision by Maddon to include five left-handed batters (including Fowler, who is a switch hitter) in the lineup is an interesting one, as lefties are batting just .227 this season against Pirates starting pitcher Gerrit Cole, but several of the Cubs’ southpaws have good batting averages against him. Rizzo has a career .353 average against Cole, and Montero is 3-for-5 lifetime against the Pirates’ ace.

Another player who could potentially have a good night against Cole is Castro, who has a .353 batting average in 17 career at-bats against him.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cubs Fan Pulls Off Ultimate Prank Outside PNC Park]]> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 08:16:26 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/258*120/cubs+prank+thumb.jpg

A Chicago Cubs fan may have just pulled off the best prank ever.

Hours before the Cubs were set to take on the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Wild Card Game at PNC Park Wednesday night, a display of hometown pride for the Pirates was transformed into Cubs pride.

Chicago fan Steve Mpistolarides went into an office building across the street from the stadium and changed a sign from “Let’s Go Bucs” to “Let’s Go Cubs," according to the Mpistolarides family. 

For those who didn't know, the Pirates are often referred to as the “Bucs.”

“So we're at a bar right next to PNC and there's an office building that reads lets go bucs,” a Facebook post from Mpistolarides' son Travis read. “My dad goes in the elevator low key to the office and switches it to let's go Cubs. Somehow nobody saw him ‪#‎wearegood‬.” 

The family even sent the photos and video to NBC Chicago to prove it.

The excitement in the air from their hometown fans must have worked for the team, as for the first time in 12 years the Chicago Cubs won a postseason game as they knocked off the Pittsburgh Pirates by a score of 4-0.

Photo Credit: Travis Mpistolarides
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<![CDATA[Infamous Bartman Ball Meets Alou’s Glove 12 Years Too Late]]> Wed, 07 Oct 2015 12:45:34 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/Bartman.jpg

It’s been 12 years since Steve Bartman cemented his place in Chicago Cubs lore, but all appeared right again in the Cubs' world Wednesday as the ball intended for Moises Alou that fateful game day reunited with the player's mitt.

Bartman has never publicly spoken since 2003 when he wrote himself into the Cubs' history books during Game 6 of the NLCS against the Florida Marlins. Thousands watched on as Bartman infamously attempted to catch the ball that Cubs outfielder Moises Alou was going after.

Bartman quickly became a scapegoat for fans after the Cubs blew a 3-0 lead in the game and ultimately fell short of a World Series berth, and he has since avoided the spotlight entirely.

What is left of the ball is in Alou's glove that he wore on that fateful day, albeit 12 years too late.

The image was captured by NBC 5's Lauren Petty early Wednesday morning ahead of the night's highly-anticipated game:

Last week, a group of fans extended an olive branch to the infamous fan. On the website GoFundMe, a page dedicated to raising money to send Bartman to Wednesday night's wild card game gained momentum.

“Lifelone Cubs fan wants to make amends for 2003, let’s make it happen," the page writes. "First we need to find him to get him to the big game. If anyone knows where he is at, tell him we are looking for him. The money would pay for his expenses including his ticket, hotel room, flights and a little spending money."

But apparently the famous fan isn’t going to participate in any reunion. A spokesman, who spoke to ESPN about the situation, says that Bartman will not be attending the game.

“He has no intention of being at the wild card game," the spokesman told ESPN. "Steve is glad the money will go to a good cause and will be cheering on the Cubs as always.”

<![CDATA[Wild Card Tickets Remain Pricey for Cubs vs. Pirates]]> Wed, 07 Oct 2015 11:45:04 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/166*120/GettyImages-453879922.jpg

If you’re on your way to Pittsburgh for the Chicago Cubs’ wild card contest against the Pirates, you’re going to be shelling out big bucks if you don’t already have a ticket.

All week long, ticket prices have been the highest that they’ve ever been for an MLB wild card game, according to data from Vivid Seats and Seat Geek.

On Wednesday, the cheapest tickets available on Vivid Seats are running at $121 (although if you want an actual seat, you’ll have to shell out $134), and on StubHub, you can get in the door for $137 (actual seats start at $140, and if you want more than one, be prepared to pay more).

If the Cubs advance past the wild card round, things aren’t going to get any cheaper for fans. According to data from Vivid Seats, the overall median price for Cubs’ home games in the postseason is an astronomical $525, which is far and away the highest price in baseball.

There is a bit of good news in their report, however: if you want to get into Game 1 or 2 of the NLDS in St. Louis, you can pay between $70-90 per ticket.

<![CDATA[Time, Date of Cubs' Playoff Game Have Special Significance ]]> Wed, 07 Oct 2015 12:46:45 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*129/GettyImages-490418344+%281%29.jpg

In the world of professional sports, few fanbases are as obsessed with superstitions, signs, and curses than Chicago Cubs fans are, and Wednesday night’s wild card game has provided more fuel for the fire.

That’s because the start time of the game holds particular significance to Cubs fans. The official first pitch time is slated for 7:08 p.m. Central time, which in military time is 19:08. 1908, of course, is the last year in which the Cubs won the World Series.

The numerical coincidences don’t stop there, however. The date of the game itself is also noteworthy, as it will be contested on October 7, or 10/7. 107 years, naturally, is the number of years it’s been since the Cubs have won a World Series title.

We could go into all of the other weird coincidences that have occurred with this year’s team, including their 97 wins (they also won 97 games the last time they made the postseason) or their 48 road victories (their most since 1945, which is the last time they appeared in the World Series), but we don’t want to contribute to any more hysteria than absolutely necessary.

<![CDATA[Cubs Reveal Playoff Roster for Wild Card Game]]> Wed, 07 Oct 2015 11:16:59 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-489586364.jpg

The Chicago Cubs established their 25-man playoff roster ahead of their game against the Pittsburgh Pirates Wednesday, and the team opted to keep 10 pitchers and 15 positions players for the winner-take-all battle.

Starting pitcher Jake Arrieta headlines the list of pitchers that will be in Pittsburgh for the Cubs, and he’s joined by fellow starters Kyle Hendricks and Jon Lester. Here is the full list of pitchers:

LHP: Jon Lester, Clayton Richard, Travis Wood

RHP: Jake Arrieta, Trevor Cahill, Justin Grimm, Kyle Hendricks, Pedro Strop, Fernando Rodney, Hector Rondon

As for position players, the Cubs brought their stable of young talent to Pittsburgh, with rookies Kyle Schwarber, Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, and Jorge Soler all making the team, but they brought some veterans as well. Here is the full list:

Catchers: Miguel Montero, David Ross

Infielders: Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Starlin Castro, Tommy La Stella, Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell

Outfielders: Quintin Berry, Chris Coghlan, Chris Denorfia, Dexter Fowler, Austin Jackson, Kyle Schwarber, Jorge Soler

If the Cubs beat the Pirates and advance to the National League Division Series, they will be able to reset their roster, likely adding more pitchers and dropping a few position players in the process.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>