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CHICAGO (CBS/AP) — Javier Báez’s RBI single in the 10th inning lifted the Chicago Cubs to their fourth straight win, 3-2 over the Cleveland Indians, on Wednesday night in a game that was briefly delayed when a drone entered Wrigley Field and briefly landed on the outfield grass.

Automatic runner Ian Happ advanced to third when Kris Bryant greeted Phil Maton (2-2) with a groundball single to open the 10th.

After Anthony Rizzo was walked intentionally to load the bases, Maton fanned Willson Contreras and Kyle Schwarber. Then Báez’s liner to left scored Happ and sent the Indians to their eighth straight loss, their longest slide since June 2013.

The Cubs won their fourth straight and strengthened their grip on first place in the NL Central.

Oscar Mercado hit a solo shot off Jon Lester in the fifth to tie the game at 2.

Five Cubs relievers followed Lester with a scoreless inning each. Jason Adam (2-1) pitched the 10th.

Umpires hastily cleared the field when the small drone flew into the ballpark over the left-center bleachers as Contreras came to bat with with two outs in the bottom of the fifth.

After it landed, the blinking drone took off, hovered at about 100 feet, then pulled away and vanished into the night beyond the center-field scoreboard.

Following a 7-minute delay, Contreras resumed his at-bat and grounded out.

Aaron Civale allowed two runs on seven hits, leaving with runners at second and third and none out in the seventh. The right-hander hasn’t won since Aug. 19 and is 0-3 in his last five starts.

Lester yielded two runs on four hits in five innings in his second effective start following two rough ones.

The 36-year-old lefty settled in after struggling with his control in the first inning. Francisco Lindor, who walked to lead off the game, scored from third on a wild pitch.

The Cubs tied it in the second on Jason Heyward’s bloop single. Chicago moved ahead 2-1 in the fourth when Cameron Maybin’s infield single drove in Báez.


Lester acknowledged that the Wednesday night game might have been his last start at Wrigley Field. He was emotional as he reflected on that possibility, saying, “I didn’t think six years would go this fast.”

“Probably the last – I don’t know if I should say probably, but hopefully not – the last regular season start, put on the pinstripes tonight. So yeah, like I said, a lot of things on my mind. This year hasn’t been easy for a lot of reasons, and I’m not sitting here saying woe is me, because there’s a lot of people worse off than me, but you know, a lot of emotions coming in to this, and I don’t really know what to say; how to take it,” Lester said. “A lot of uncertainties going forward.”


OF Ian Happ, the Cubs’ union rep, said he supports isolating players in a playoff bubble starting with the division series. But he said rules “like asking permission to go for a walk” will be taxing. “It feels more like being a zoo animal than baseball player or human being,” Happ said.


Cubs: LHP Andrew Chafin (sprained left index finger) threw 20-plus pitches in a simulated game Wednesday and “looked really sharp,” manager David Ross said. Chafin, acquired from Arizona at the trade deadline, has yet to pitch for the Cubs.

Indians: Gold Glove C Roberto Perez didn’t play Wednesday so he could get treatment on an condition that has been affecting his swing. Perez, who previously missed three weeks with a right shoulder strain, is expected back Thursday at Detroit. Austin Hedges, acquired from San Diego at the deadline in a nine-player trade, was behind the plate against the Cubs. … 2B Cesar Hernandez (paternity list) rejoined the team. He pinch-hit in the eighth and remained in the game.


Indians: AL ERA leader Shane Bieber (7-1, 1.53) takes the mound at Detroit on Thursday and tries to rebound from his lone loss, to the Twins last Friday in Minnesota. Rookie RHP Casey Mize (0-1, 5.85) pitches for the Tigers.

Cubs: Following a day off Thursday, RHP Kyle Hendricks (5-4, 3.29) faces LHP Rich Hill (2-1. 3.81) in the opener of a three-game home set against Minnesota at Wrigley Field.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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How futures of Raiders Jon Gruden, Saints Sean Payton and Stanfords David Shaw were shaped amid the rats and the cats

Jon Gruden and Sean Payton will be on opposing sidelines Monday night when the Raiders and New Orleans Saints christen Allegiant Stadium, a $1.9 billion facility with every amenity imaginable.

Somewhere in the back of their minds will be The Vet, a concrete circular dive bar of a structure where Gruden in 1997 was offensive coordinator and Payton the quarterbacks coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Officially, it was Veterans Stadium, which housed the Eagles and Philadelphia Phillies of Major League Baseball. Neither charming nor sanitary, it served as the Eagles’ in-season home.

“The Oakland Coliseum was the Taj Mahal compared to the old Vet,” said Stanford coach David Shaw, then a first-year assistant who shared an office with Payton. “You’re between 50 and 100 feet underground. Late at night and early in the morning you could hear the rats walking on the tiles above your head.”

Gruden and Payton would eventually win Super Bowls, Gruden with the 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Payton with the 2009 Saints. In their year together at The Vet, Gruden was a volatile coordinator a year away from being hired by Al Davis to coach the Raiders as their youngest head coach since John Madden.

Payton did what he could to keep the peace.

“Ray Rhodes made me hire Sean because I was yelling too much,” Gruden said Wednesday in a Zoom conference call. “Sean came in to calm me down.”

Upon being informed of Gruden’s line, Payton broke into laughter and said, “That’s probably true.”

Both coaches were 34 years old. Gruden had a head start when Rhodes, who was defensive coordinator at Green Bay, hired him to run his offense in Philadelphia. Gruden had coached receivers for two years under Mike Holmgren with the Packers.

Shaw was 25, would follow Gruden to the Raiders and eventually succeed Jim Harbaugh, helping to re-establsh Stanford’s relevancy in football.

Shaw and Payton learned quickly what Gruden discovered two years earlier about The Vet. Gruden had been there a few days when he asked a security guard why there were so many cats in the stadium.

“You want rats or do you want cats?,” he was told. “The cats eat the rats.”

Gruden said he’d take the cats, but the rats were always present.

Shaw said during team picture day the stadium crew was doing their daily chore of cleaning up cat and rat droppings on the field before the Eagles could say cheese for the camera. Jon Gruden celebrates with John Lynch after winning theth NFC championship game following the 2002 season at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia. AP file

And that wasn’t the only issue.

“They had to bring in air quality machines,” Shaw said. “They have these beer trucks, and they would circle around to get the beer to different parts of the stadium. The exhaust would just get trapped in there, so we had to do air quality management so we could breathe.”

Amid the cat and mouse games was immersion in the NFL way of life. Payton had been quarterbacks coach at Illinois in 1996. Shaw coached two years at Western Washington, trying to determine his future.

Gruden was unrelenting. Payton told the New Orleans media Gruden would tease him, telling him he looked like a boxer in the 11th round because of the bags under his eyes.

“It was like advanced calculus,” Payton said. “For me it was an offensive foundation, not only in scheme, but also the attention to detail, the hours and the work ethic. It was a crash course in learning all the things you didn’t know — red zone, tight zone, third down.”

Shaw takes Payton’s mathematical comparison one step further.

“It’s like advanced calculus, and tomorrow it might be chemistry,” Shaw said. “Every time you think you’re catching up to Jon, he walks in the next day and says, ‘Great, we’re doing X, Y and Z.’ And you say, Coach, we were just doing A, B and C.’ He’d say,`I skipped ahead a bunch. Here’s what we’re doing now.’ ”

Since Shaw played wide receiver at Stanford under Bill Walsh and kept copius notes, he and Gruden bonded quickly.

“He would grill me. `What did you guys do against three-deep here? What did Bill say about this? What did Bill say about that?,’ ” Shaw said. “I knew a lot of answers to those questions.”

Gruden is known for a torrid and impatient pace. Shaw noticed Payton was able to navigate Gruden’s impulses and moods.

“Sean has this calming presence, and so Jon could explode and go crazy and Sean would take it in, then have a conversation with the quarterbacks,” Shaw said. “It didn’t take very long to see how helpful Sean was and how bright he was. He added an element we needed.”

Shaw appreciates that Gruden was demanding without being dictatorial. Rhodes left the offense in his hands, but Gruden still wanted input from his assistants — even those who just arrived.

“As much as he pushed everybody, he also taught us to think critically,” Shaw said. “It was, `Hey, bring me stuff. Find me some new ideas.’ Anybody under him that’s moved on, you see elements of what Jon did, but you also see their own creativity because he inspired us to be creative.” Stanford coach David Shaw raises the trophy after Stanford beat Iowa in the 102nd Rose Bowl in 2016. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group) 

The Eagles, who had gone 10-6 the previous two years, skidded to 6-9-1 in 1997. Gruden, who had interviewed with Davis when Joe Bugel was hired the previous year, got the Raiders job. Shaw went with him. Gruden wanted to hire Payton as his quarterbacks coach, but Davis wanted a veteran presence given Gruden’s age and hired Gary Stevens instead.

Payton worked for another year with the Eagles, moved on to the New York Giants — including a Super Bowl appearance — and then to Dallas under Bill Parcells. He was offered the Raiders head coaching job by Davis in 2004 but turned it down in favor of a hefty raise to remain as offensive coordinator with the Cowboys. Davis hired Norv Turner instead.

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Gruden won the last football game at The Vet, with Tampa Bay beating the Eagles 27-10 before blowing out the Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII in San Diego. The stadium was imploded in 2004 with the Eagles moving to new Lincoln Financial Field and the Phillies to Citizens Bank Park, presumably taking the rodents as well.

At The Vet, anyone who needed to see line coach Juan Castillo needed to turn sideways to squeeze through the office with Payton and Shaw to get there. Now all three coaches have top facilities and luxury in every direction. Yet Gruden, Payton and Shaw are in agreement that the 1997 season was crucial their development.

“We used to stay up late at night trying to figure out how to get a first down,” Gruden said. “Those were great, growing years for all three of us.”

Said Payton: “I remember it like it was yesterday.”

Shaw was asked to break down the experience at The Vet and how it contributed to his makeup.

“There’s a bunch of words that could be put together,” Shaw said. “Fun, wild, difficult, fast-paced. Emotional. And I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.”


























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