My existence here in Chicago is really quite ironic. I mean, for as much as I detest the Chicago Cubs, they sure do seem to be involved in an awful lot of my day-to-day activities. More and more often, I find them obnoxiously pervading the many facets of my life. For example, I live about a mile northeast and work about a 1/2 mile southwest of Wrigley Field. This means that every time the Cubs play a night game, I'm driving directly through all the disillusioned fans that are making their way to the park. Aside from the fact that apparently none of them grasp the idea of crosswalks or traffic signals, this doesn't usually present a problem. However, the plucky little entrepreneurs hawking parking spots all over the neighborhood are starting to slowly drive me insane. These people stand in the middle of the road with their signs and flags advertising $25 parking and I seriously wonder how they make it through rush hour without being hospitalized. The next time I have a bad day at the office these idiots will inevitably be out on the street and I will have no choice but to select one and park my car on his face. And you better believe I'm not paying him $25 for the pleasure.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Monday was just NOT a good day. The Cards were back in New York, which meant I was receiving text message taunts from my Mets friend in Queens and the Cubs were home again after sweeping the White Sox, which meant my neighborhood was even more obnoxious then usual. After dropping two of three to the Phillies over the weekend, the Birds seemed poised to lose another after newly acquired starting pitcher Mike Maroth gave up a third inning home run to Carlos Gomez. Naturally, we didn't disappoint as Russ Springer gave up a walk off home run to Shawn Green in the 11th causing the Mets to perform one of the most bizarre victory routines I've ever seen. Simultaneously, I'm sitting outside Wrigley Field in a beer garden listening to the roar of the crowd as the Cubs pound on the Rockies and achieve an 8-3 lead. This being the Cubs, the bullpen coughed up six runs in the eighth inning, yet uncharacteristically managed to come back and win it via Soriano's walk off single in the ninth. Fortunately, their fans stayed classy as ever and provided a brief respite from the agony when one took offense to Bob Howry's performance and drunkenly charged the mound. It was really the only thing that kept me from deliberately running in front of a cab. After another win last night, the Cubs have won five straight and are officially ruining my life.
Fortunately, the Cards were able to achieve some forward momentum last night in the form of a spry little rookie named Brendan Ryan. (Who I'm pretty sure is David Eckstein's 13 year-old brother.) He capped off a solid all around performance with his first big league home run in the 11th inning to win it 5-3. This is excellent news for me, as I don't think I could have stomached another "GO METS!!!" message from Shea last night. On a smaller scale, it was probably pretty cool for him, too. So, you know...good for him.
Anyhow, Anthony Reyes is looking to improve his sparkling 0-9 record tonight against Mr. Tom Glavine and I for one am thoroughly confident we have what it takes to completely blow it. If not, you know we'll at least give it our best shot. Here in Chicago, Big Z takes the mound for the finale against the Rockies and I sincerely hope he chokes on some pine tar or gets struck by lightening.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Okay, so much good stuff right now. First of all, Derrek Lee went all Carlos Zambrano today and attempted to beat the crap out of Padres pitcher Chris Young. This resulted in a bench clearing brawl that the real Carlos Zambrano CLEARLY could not resist. It is seriously something I usually only imagine in my head, except it really happened. So freaking funny.
Secondly, the Cardinals decided to have an offensive orgasm and scored ten runs in the fifth inning today. This almost makes me forget that they gave up 14 last night. Almost, but not quite. As thrilled as I am, how is it that a team gives up 17 runs one game and 14 the next??? Sweet mother of Jesus.
Anyhow, I do not want that to take away from the fact that tonight was AWESOME. I would probably make out with Chris Duncan right now if the opportunity presented itself. I also saw a Cubs fan get hit by a car on my way home this afternoon. I was far more sympathetic then I ever thought I would be. This was strange, considering I really always wanted one for a hood ornament. I don't know what this means, but I imagine I'll spend the rest of the evening drinking rum and cokes and listening to Van Halen. It seems like the only appropriate response to a day of such magnitude. You might as well JUMP!!!
Friday, June 15, 2007
Wow. I didn't think it was possible, but I am rendered speechless after last night's rubber match against the Kansas City Royals. The Cards lost 17-8. 17-8!!!!!!!! I didn't realize scores like that were even possible in baseball. I mean, the games are only nine innings long. You'd have to give up ridiculous 8 and 6 run innings to manage something like that. Oh wait...
After 44 pitches, six runs and 1 1/3 innings, the Cardinals mercifully yanked starting pitcher Kip Wells from the mound. His early foibles resulted in his 11th loss (leading the majors) and an ERA that has now ballooned to a dismal 6.93. This forced the bullpen to chew through 7 2/3 innings, which yielded 11 additional runs for KC. Eight of these came in the second with another six coming in the fourth.
Conor Nicholl at MLB.com doesn't mince words, saying:
Kip Wells can't worry about his spot in the rotation or his future as a Cardinals pitcher. After his shortest performance of the season on Thursday night, Wells is only trying to be content with himself as a person.
Yikes. Perhaps instead of starting him we should just try using a tee? I don't know. I don't have the answers. However, I do know that we are running the risk of giving our opponents vertigo if we keep making them run in circles like that for three straight hours. I would imagine that Mark Teahen, Tony Pena and Emil Brown are awfully nauseous this morning. So am I, come to think of it.
Thursday, June 7, 2007
In my excitement over the Cubs misfortune this past weekend, I failed to comment on the sudden resurgence of the St. Louis Cardinals. By golly, these scrappy little fellas have won 6 of their last 7! We're only four games under .500 and five games out of first place! Most remarkable is that all of this has been accomplished despite the fact that people are getting beaned in the head, breaking their wrists and having knee surgery. Pujols has smacked a few more home runs bringing his total to 12 and it even looks like Chris Carpenter is taking the first steps to recovery from his elbow surgery by playing some catch. Well, well, well!! These Redbirds are making fatigue, famine and all other assorted handicaps and injuries look good!
The most disturbing of these is the blow Gary Bennett took to the head during an at bat against the Reds' Aaron Harang on Wednesday. (Gary Bennett, of course, is the backup catcher who is taking Yadier Molina's place while he sits on the DL with a broken wrist. Jesus. At this rate, I'm not going to recognize anyone on this team by July. Bring on the backups of the backups!) How he walked away from that with all motor and verbal skills in tact, I'll never know. Anyhow, Tony LaRussa is NOT happy about it and wants Harang to be suspended.
"He didn't mean to hit him, but he meant to throw up and in. It's a very
dangerous thing. If you're a big league pitcher, you should be able to get the
ball below the shoulder. If you don't, you should have big consequences, because
that's a dangerous thing."
Now, I agree that getting a 90 mph fastball to the skull is probably no picnic. However, I don't think it's necessary to punish a guy for a pitch that CLEARLY got away from him. Can you imagine how awful it would feel to be directly responsible for giving someone potential brain damage? Anyone who intentionally does that is a depraved miscreant lacking any semblance of a moral compass anyway. Unfortunately, an automatic suspension isn't going to change that.
Further aiding our quest to become the gimpiest team in major league baseball is Preston Wilson's recent announcement that he will undergo knee surgery. He's suffered from cartilage damage and fluid build up in his right knee since spring training and is consulting with doctors to ascertain whether he will simply undergo a clean-up procedure or a more serious microfracture surgery that would keep him out for the remainder of the season. I think his backup is actually my sister, so we'll see how this goes.
Anyway, since this whole injury thing seems to be working for us, I recommend that all remaining players on the roster either go play patty cake with a grizzly bear or juggle a chain saw this weekend. The more maimed the better! Heck, as a sign of solidarity I've even given myself a paper cut. I mean, it didn't bleed or anything but it still hurt like hell. Take that, Gary Bennett!
Sunday, June 3, 2007
My, oh my, oh my! As the Cubs continue their traditional mid-season implosion, it appears that my good friend Carlos Zambrano just can't contain his emotion anymore. Just when I start to worry that he's bottling all that tension up inside, he goes nuts and starts punching Michael Barrett in the dugout. This is obviously a dramatic departure from his usual well adjusted, controlled and classy demeanor. I almost don't know how to contain my surprise! It's like I don't even know him anymore. Next thing you know, he's going to pick up an annoying habit like constantly scratching his balls every twelve seconds. But seriously...you know your season has really hit the skids when teammates start cracking each other's faces open. It's really not a good sign.
Anyway, it really can't shock anyone that this made my weekend. Well, that on top of the Cubs losing six straight and Lou Piniella FINALLY doing what we all knew was inevitable. Absolutely going bonkers and landing himself an ejection and indefinite suspension. Tsk, tsk, tsk, Lou. One has to wonder if he would have done it had he not been provoked by a reporter on Friday at the post game press conference. (I believe he was commenting on the Zambrano/Barrett debacle and was asked about his astonishing lack of on-field meltdowns this season.) I tend to think he would have at some point, (considering he is certifiably insane,) but it makes it a lot funnier to think it was premeditated. Purposely arguing an arbitrary call with the intention of getting tossed JUST to give a big "FU" to the Chicago media? Now THAT is behaving like a true pillar of good sportsmanship! My personal opinion is that he was jealous of Zambrano becoming the clubhouse "Crazed Lunatic" and felt he needed to do something dramatic to earn back the title. Well played, Lou. Well played.