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  • 20 Mar
    导出博客文章CHICAGO -- The NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs identified the bullpen as the
    biggest weakness in their quest to win their first World Series since 1908.Enter
    All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman, left-hander Mike Montgomery and, just before
    the trade deadline Monday, right-hander Joe Smith from the Los Angeles
    Angels.That was an area we thought we could make some changes, general manager
    Jed Hoyer said. Adding a closer, a left-hander and then adding a guy like Smith
    who can be a right-handed specialist, we felt like those were areas that would
    improve our team and improve the mix of our bullpen.The Cubs third trade in two
    weeks sent minor league righty Jesus Castillo to the Angels for the 32-year-old
    Smith. The sidewinder is 1-4 with a 3.82 ERA and six saves in 38 appearances
    with the Angels this season. Smith has also pitched for the Indians and Mets in
    his 10-year big league career and is in the last season of his contract.Manager
    Joe Maddon sees Smith producing double play grounders and getting right-handers
    out.Try to set him up for the righty, the one thats not going to get pinch-hit
    for, Maddon said. The chance to get you out of the inning with one pitch, that
    kind of stuff. Or maybe start an inning based on another teams lineup . as well
    as one out, runners on first and second, right-handed hitter up, its a good spot
    to put a guy like that in.With Chapman coming from the New York Yankees last
    week and Montgomery from Seattle, the Cubs have a much more imposing look in the
    late innings.But the Cubs werent able to bring in a needed left-handed bat
    following the season-ending knee injury to slugger Kyle Schwarber in April.Hoyer
    said they were hampered because the teams looking to deal late included the
    crosstown White Sox and division foes Milwaukee and Cincinnati.It was really
    hard to do deals with those teams, Hoyer said. Theres probably a tax you have to
    pay or even not be able to get a deal done. We were certainly active, but of the
    teams making moves over the last 48-72 hours, a lot of the most active teams we
    would have had a hard time matching up with.So with high-priced left-handed
    hitter Jason Heyward struggling, do the Cubs have enough offense to end their
    championship drought?There is enough here, Maddon said. But we have to
    incorporate what were learning, move the baseball when its necessary, accept
    your walk.The 20-year-old Castillo has a 3.27 ERA in seven starts at Eugene in
    short season Class A and is seen as a long-term prospect for the Angels.The Cubs
    also designated left-hander Brian Matusz for assignment Monday after he gave up
    three home runs in his Chicago debut Sunday. Right-hander Spencer Patton was
    recalled from Triple-A Iowa.Hoyer stressed the Cubs still could make a roster
    tweak or two before the postseason.Well work through the August waiver period
    and try to find small things, Hoyer said. We did it last year, and you can make
    good and impactful moves after the deadline.
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    the two NHL teams on Twitter for their physical game the night before. Picture
    it: Papillion, Nebraska, August 1994. Mark and Teresa Rolfzen had known each
    other since high school. Both played basketball, graduated from
    Nebraska-Kearney, had a young son. Late that month, their golden girls -- Kadie
    and Amber -- would be born to complete the family.We really didnt read any books
    about raising twins, but we knew we wanted to go out of our way to treat them as
    two different individuals, Mark Rolfzen said. Not force them to do things
    together. But that part worked itself out, because they always wanted to play
    whatever sport was in season. And they always have gotten along really well, and
    been each others best friend.Eventually, volleyball became the twins primary
    passion. Which was just perfect in a state where that sport is wildly
    popular.Kadie and I have talked about that, Amber said of how meant to be it all
    seems. It is really cool to think you were born into the Nebraska volleyball
    spirit.They are seniors at Nebraska now, playing in their second consecutive
    final four. They helped the Huskers win the national championship last season in
    Omaha, close to where they grew up in the suburb of Papillion. You cant help but
    mention to them that their lives could be a Disney movie.They already made one
    like that, Amber said.Shes referring to Double-Teamed, a 2002 film about
    basketball-playing twins Heather and Heidi Burge, who went to three final fours
    while at Virginia in the early 1990s.Oh, they were real? Amber said. I didnt
    know that.Indeed, Heather and Heidi are as flesh-and-blood as Amber and Kadie,
    just a couple of decades older. There have been several other twin sisters whove
    competed at a high level in Division I athletics, including Minnesotas Hannah
    and Paige Tapp, who also are playing in volleyballs final four for the second
    year in a row.Part of what makes the Rolfzens particularly compelling, though,
    is just how thoroughly and completely Nebraska they are; they committed to the
    Huskers before they were even in high school.Whats it going to be like when we
    come back in January, and theyre not here? Nebraska coach John Cook said,
    dreading the spring semester when the Rolfzens -- who graduate this month -- are
    likely to be playing professionally somewhere far from Lincoln. Its like theyve
    been part of this program forever.Theyre not gone yet, though. They have at
    least one match left -- theyll face Texas in Thursdays semifinals in Columbus,
    Ohio -- and Teresa probably wont eat anything. She typically battles anxiety on
    game days. She jokes with her friends, You want to know what a diet is for me?
    Its August to December.But some nerve-induced nausea has been a small price to
    pay for watching two dreams come true, side-by-side.***Picture it: Grand Island,
    Nebraska, November 2010. Amber and Kadie lead Papillion-La Vista South High
    School to the Class A championship in a 41-0 season. Its one of three state
    titles they would win. As 6-foot-3 teens, they were dominating the prep
    volleyball court.Practically every kid in the state wants to be a Husker, and
    Kadie and Amber, at age 16, already had been committed to Nebraska for two
    years. How easy would it be for their egos to swell? Impossible, as it turns
    out.Their parents always reminded them to stay grounded: Just do your thing and
    dont crow about it.But the twins had no desire to show up anybody. They competed
    in other sports in high school, including basketball and track, did their
    homework, and got to bed on time. They remain good eggs. After a recent match,
    Kadie told Amber to call Grandma.Their attitude was, This is what God gave me,
    and what Im going to work with. And this is how Im going to handle it, Teresa
    said.It actually took a while for their parents to even believe Kadie and Amber
    were that good at volleyball. Mark and Teresa were athletes, too. But if you ask
    which one may have passed on the most ability to their daughters, rather than
    playfully brag, they stress they never competed at the twins level.Both of us
    are kind of perplexed about where exactly they got it, Mark said.Which is why
    the parents were quite surprised when their 14-year-olds returned from a
    volleyball camp at Nebraska and matter-of-factly mentioned they had scholarships
    to become Huskers. Surely, Mark and Teresa thought, theyre confused.Quite
    honestly, their mother and I didnt really believe it, Mark said. I actually had
    to call Coach Cook the next day to find out what happened, and sure enough he
    did offer them scholarships.Cook knew, even when they were that young, that he
    wanted them at Nebraska as much as they knew they wanted to be there. The twins
    were in total agreement that there was no sense looking around when Nirvana was
    right up the road and had already opened the gates.That said, Kadie and Amber do
    not agree on everything; each is very clearly her own person. They banter over
    what they both call stupid stuff. On those rare occasions when a squabble does
    happen, whos the first to ease the tension?Both of us, Kadie said. Its like we
    might argue or whatever, and five minutes later, Ill walk into her room and say,
    Hey, you want to go to dinner? Shell say, Sure, OK! and its like nothing
    happened.Of course, theyve rarely been apart, and have shared almost everything,
    including their SUV. But who is usually in the drivers seat? In perfect twin
    logic, I usually drive to places, Kadie said, And she usually drives from them.
    Although sometimes its different.***Picture it: Omaha, Nebraska, December 2015.
    The Rolfzens had come to the Huskers with the highest of goals. Nebraska was a
    good team their first two seasons, but fell short of the final
    foour.ddddddddddddYou go back to 2013, their first year, we were playing Texas
    here [in the regional final], and they imploded, Cook said. They melted down.
    Part of that was the expectations they had on them. They were freshmen, and
    werent able to handle all of it. Their growth since then has been incredible;
    they worked really hard on it.Nebraska lost again in the elite eight in 2014,
    this time to BYU. But the next year, the stakes were at their highest: the final
    four was in Omaha. As 12-year-olds, the Rolfzens had watched the Huskers and one
    particular hero, Jordan Larson, win the 2006 NCAA title in Omaha. Now was
    supposed to be their turn.But would the Huskers make it? The twins switched
    positions at the start of their junior year, with Kadie going to the right side
    and Amber becoming a middle blocker. The moves benefited both of them --
    providing each with a more distinct on-court identity from the other -- and the
    team.However, in October, the Huskers lost back-to-back matches at home to Big
    Ten rivals Minnesota and Wisconsin. Stress built up a little more.Until you walk
    in their shoes, you dont know how much pressure it was about making it to Omaha,
    Cook said.Indeed, people would come up to the Rolfzens all the time and say,
    Hey, I got my tickets to Omaha, as if it were a given that Nebraska would be
    playing there. But a maturity factor kicked in.Youre going to have people say
    all these things, Amber said, but it gets to the point where you block out all
    those expectations. You just focus on the team and what you can do to improve
    yourself.Those losses to the Gophers and Badgers were Nebraskas last of the
    season. They got on a victory streak that went all the way through the NCAA
    final. Amber had 10 kills and four blocks in beating Texas, while Kadie had four
    kills and 10 digs.They just had so much put on them, but they also wanted that,
    Cook said. That was what was so cool about going to Omaha and winning
    it.***Picture it: Lincoln, Nebraska, December 2016. The Rolfzens Husker careers
    looked over on a Friday afternoon, on their home court, at the hands of an
    archrival having somewhat of a down season.It couldnt actually end like this,
    could it?Penn State was up 2-0, and the score tied 22-22 in the third set of
    their regional semifinal. The music that accompanies the end of time outs/return
    to action at the Devaney Center is off a random set list, yet it seemed
    ominously appropriate.The chimes of AC/DCs Hells Bells sounded like a signal
    that time was up for the Huskers.That led into a riff from Metallicas Enter
    Sandman. Remember, its a song about nightmares.Thats what this felt like to
    Nebraska fans: A nightmare in the middle of a day when so many took off from
    work or school to make sure the arena was packed as usual. Among the red-clad
    faithful, you saw pinched faces, gritted teeth, hands wringing.But Kadie, Amber,
    and their Nebraska teammates were in their own world, one theyd been trying to
    maintain all season. Dont look ahead; dont look back. Stay in the moment, point
    by point.It was going to get worse before it got better, though.Penn State would
    win the next two points, making it five in a row, and the Huskers were right at
    the edge of the cliff, one foot in the air. Down two match points against a team
    they seemingly couldnt stop.It flashed through Ambers mind: This could be it.
    But the enormity of that didnt paralyze her. The opposite happened, in fact. Be
    aggressive, she thought. Dont get timid now.And if the Rolfzens story actually
    were a movie, this is the part that would really have the critics rolling their
    eyes.Because Nebraska climbed out of that enormous hole, with Amber getting a
    kill and a block to save the two match points. The twins combined for 29 kills
    and eight block assists, with Kadie also getting 18 digs.The next day, playing
    with the lightness of a new life, the Huskers demolished Washington and earned
    the programs 13th trip to the final four.Kadie and Amber lingered after the
    regional final, sitting in the stands near their parents, wearing their Huskers
    jackets and knit caps. Theyve played the last of their matches on their home
    court, where theyd gone 63-11, losing just once there as seniors. They were
    headed to Columbus, and could say goodbye to the Devaney Center with smile... if
    a bit wistfully.Amber was asked about the semifinal escape. As steely-eyed as
    she was in the moment, she said, I cant watch the last four points in the third
    set, even though I know the outcome. I get nervous, and its like a What if?
    thing goes through your head.Whatever happens at the final four, their story is
    a smashing success. This week, Kadie was named an AVCA first-team All-American
    for the second year in a row. Amber made the third team, and was second team
    last season.There have been -- and will continue to be -- many very good players
    from Nebraska who daydream of playing for the Huskers, and then actually do it.
    There have been sisters whove done it, too. The state is a volleyball
    factory.But twins? Who are this talented, this low-maintenance, and this
    high-character? Who are, as they put it, each others No. 1 fan? It cant get more
    special than that.I have a very strong connection with both of them, Cook said.
    There are challenges to coaching twins, and Ive learned a lot about it from
    them.Theyre two incredible young women. It feels like when my own daughter
    graduated from here, like theres going to be this big void. But theres two of
    them to miss, not just one. ' ' '