Thursday, August 21, 2008

This Is Nightmare Fuel

Good grief, is it STILL baseball season? I'm honestly not even sure. I haven't really been paying attention. I know the Cardinals are officially out of playoff contention, but they've been UNofficially out of playoff contention for so long, I hardly noticed the difference. It just wasn't gonna happen. So as a method of dealing with my grief and frustration over the last several weeks, I've ignored everything associated with this soul sucking sport as a whole. I've turned down really incredible Cubs tickets (twice!) just because I didn't think I could stomach the POSSIBILITY of "Go, Cubs, Go". Watching those assholes plow over opposing pitchers like Zambrano at an all-you-can-eat baby buffet isn't painful in an "aw shucks" kind of way anymore. It actually pisses me off. If I even so much as THINK about the Cubs in the playoffs, I get myself so worked up in a tizzy that I can hardly control what's coming out of my mouth. I'll punctuate unrelated and otherwise innocuous conversations with anti-Cub tirades like someone with Tourette's. Anyone that's actually stupid enough to taunt me with the current state of affairs is likely to get an earful of poorly constructed and expletive laced proclamations about their intellectual ineptitude, physical misfortune and questionable lineage. It's an instant and visceral reaction. I can't help it. I know I'm being a bad sport and acting like a spoiled toddler, but I am powerless against the burning, raw hatred. The mere idea of Cubs fans enjoying themselves makes me want to bludgeon someone to death with a tire iron. Is this normal and healthy? My therapist doesn't seem to think so, but what the hell does she know?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

It's an EXPLOSION!!!!!

There are not words in the English language to express how absolutely ELATED I was on Saturday. Despite the Redbirds dropping two of three to the Cubs and Chris Carpenter leaving Sunday's contest with a strained tricep, I am still paralyzed with delight over the gem I got to ingest that brilliant afternoon. I saw with my very own eyes a TRUE Zambrano Explosion. And I gotta tell you, it was even more magical than I could have imagined. Until now, I just thought it was a myth, an urban legend. Like unicorns and fat free pizza, the Explosion only ever existed in my wildest dreams. But I witnessed that electrifying meltdown in person! 9 runs! A Skip Schumaker home run! An Albert Pujols home run! TWO Troy Glaus home runs! There were disgruntled Cubs fans EVERYWHERE! To see him collapse under the weight of his own mustache (against his old buddy Todd Wellemeyer, no less,) was one of the most satisfying moments I've had as a St. Louis fan in Chicago. It. Was. AWESOME. And the most beautiful thing was just how UNEXPECTED it was! I went into that day with the lowest of expectations. The possibility of Zambrano being anything but annoyingly effective was FAAARRR from my consciousness. He notoriously feeds off of this rivalry, after all, and NEVER loses to the Cardinals. That game was lost in my head before it even started, so by the time Big Z took the mound I had already sunk into an appropriate state of depression. (I was truly delightful company, I'm sure.) Then Skip Schumaker doubled off that first little nugget and it only got more exhilarating from there. It's common knowledge that once Big Ball Scratcher McGee gets a wee bit rattled, he totally unravels and Saturday was no exception. WEEEEE!!! When it was all said and done, 12-3 was the final and my family floated out of the stadium in complete disbelief. Had we really just seen that? Did that actually happen? I was so happy, so surprised, so VINDICATED that I could hardly stand it! That win was huge for the Cardinal fans, even if it was only relevant for 24 hours. In fact, I don't know that I've never been this giddy about a Redbird triumph over the Scrubbies. This one was personal, dammit!

Anyhow, it is worth mentioning that this gorgeous slice of baseball cheesecake might be the last joyful happenstance of the summer. With Carpenter suffering another injury so soon after coming off an 18 month stay on the DL and the bullpen apparently trying to audition for America's Funniest Home Videos, the Cards have fallen 7 games out of first place and 3 games behind the surging Brewers. Things are not looking good. However, for right this minute, I don't care. I got to see my team take down its most loathed foe on a sunny day in enemy territory. I think I'm going to just bask in that for a few days.

Friday, August 8, 2008

So THAT'S How It's Gonna Be

One thing I want to make clear is the fact that I am completely aware that Jim Edmonds (formerly of the St. Louis Cardinals) plays for the Chicago Cubs. So far as I know, he's been here since May. From what I understand, he's having a pretty good go of things. That being said, I do not need to hear from every single Cubs fan that I know every single time that man takes a crap. Seriously. I have cable. I can watch SportsCenter just like every other person in the country. Sometimes when the wind blows right, I can even HEAR the joyous sounds from Wrigley. I usually assume Jim Edmonds has done something useful when my phone starts lighting up like Time freakin' Square. Basically, my point is that I am pretty much over it. He's a Cubs player. Just like Derrek Lee, Alfonso Soriano and Sucky Dome, I hope he doesn't hit home runs against the Cardinals. Does it make it any more painful when he does? I don't necessarily think so. A bitter pill is a bitter pill no matter who the nurse.

Anyhow, I'm already tired of this weekend and it hasn't even hardly started. My Dad and I were talking at dinner and think we're both doomed before we start. By which I mean we are pissed off before we even arrive at the gates of Wrigley. It's going to be a long day. If my Dad ends up murdering someone we are all in for a treat on Monday. Special Chicago Redbird "Jailbreak Addition"!

This Is Going To Suck

I am in for a very long weekend. Regardless of how things actually end up going for the Cardinals, I'm going to be a total nervous wreck. As the Redbirds prepare for their first trip to Wrigley this year, they are 6 games back from the Cubs and one game behind the second place Brewers. In terms of important games, it doesn't get much more significant than this. A sweep in either direction would be momentous as it would either toss us into the cellar or inch us back up into the pennant race. I'm actually getting nauseous just thinking about it.

Anyway, I'm going to try and ignore the Looper vs. Lilly match up this afternoon for the sake of my own mental health and sanity. My folks blow into town tonight, along with some of the most obnoxious Cubs fans I've ever had the distinct displeasure of knowing. We are all attending tomorrow afternoon's Wellemeyer vs. Zambrano contest and my attitude is as sour as a box of lemons soaked in battery acid. I mean, there is not one little bit of me that thinks I'm going to see a win. In fact, I'm not even sure why I'm going. I will inevitably sit there all day like a time bomb of anxiety only to be heckled incessantly by fair weather Jim Edmonds sycophants. It's going to be excruciating. The only thing I can hope for is a legendary Zambrano Explosion. The way things have been going, we're going to need to score approximately 37 runs.

Speaking of which, it appears as though Jason Isringhausen has finally completed his colossal and humiliating fall from grace. (Which has resembled someone tripping over a crack in the sidewalk, scuffing his knee, pulling himself back up only to run into a pole and fall into a trash can which tips over and rolls into the street before getting crushed by a dump truck.) After playing games with my heart (literally!) all year long, his giant choke job against the Dodgers on Tuesday night pretty much crushed any illusion I still had that he could legitimately throw baseballs for money. Now, I know I give Izzy a hard time and regularly mock his uncanny abilitiy to induce heart failure, but this whole situation is lamentable and incredibly sad. He's been a huge asset to this team and has contributed immeasurably to the success in St. Louis over the last few years. It's really unfortunate his legacy as a Cardinal closer has to end with the kind of catastrophe demonstrated on Tuesday night. Worse, is that scenarios like that have become so increasingly common over the course of the last few season. At this point, we just EXPECT him to give up 6 runs in the ninth inning. Which is fine, as long as Ryan Ludwick and Albert Pujols are in the mood to crush monster home runs into the bleachers. However, that's not always going to be the case. It's time to start figuring out an alternative plan that does NOT rely on walk off homers and prayer. Now that the starting rotation is slowly returning to form with Carpenter's return and Wainwright's rehab assignment, someone needs to do something to make the bullpen appear more like a "relief corp" and less like an "execution squad". I think there's actually some talent in there somewhere if only they'd stop panicking like asthmatics at a bowling alley. I'm convinced at this point that, while Franklin, Thompson, Springer and Co. are not quite emulating Izzy, they are EMPATHIZING with him. Those are sympathy meatballs, kids. And it must stop! Izzy's self image and confidence issues are not your problem, gentleman! Let's get it together!

In any case, I'm just hoping this weekend isn't a complete failure. It'd be nice to watch a couple of games and enjoy a couple of beers without having an idiot Cubs fan in my face every other second. The thought of that is almost laughable in it's naivety, as I suppose that's just the way it is. After all, no day at the ballpark is complete without telling a good "Cards take in the Pujols" joke. Jesus...I'm annoyed already. If I make it through Sunday without lighting someone on fire, I think I should be declared eligible for a Nobel prize.