May 2006 Archives for Agony & Ivy
Ignominy is the word my mother used for the Cubs’ last two weeks -- and she doesn’t even watch baseball. An incurring of public disgrace. Humiliation, embarrassment, disrepute, and discomfiture. They were that bad.
With the aim of putting it behind us, I offer the best Game Notes from the games.
(For the record, I was calling him Freddy “Boom-Boom” Bynum by Game 39; Bob didn’t start until Game 40. Up your nose with a rubber hose, Brenly! Not that I care about stuff like that, of course -- we’re all on the same side, here.)
Cubs versus White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field
Section 512 Row 10 Seat 16
Well, the last thing I feel like doing is writing about Cubs baseball. If you can’t say something nice, better not to say anything at all, my teachers told me. Plus, there’s that old adage about speaking well of the dead, and this Cubs season certainly seems deader than a doornail.
I ran into a scalper acquaintance with whom I'd done previous business last week outside the bleachers. I'm aware of their tactics--buy low, sell high always--and leery. He asked if I had any tickets to sell for remaining games. I told him No, I'd given up my partial season package for a variety of reasons and was glad I did--and suspected I could get good seats for most remaining games. "You might've made a smart move,'' he said, indicating a buyer's market.
The problem, Mr. H.S. Thompson, is that you never warned us that some waves crash earlier than others. And harder. And you were wrong that the peak never comes again. It always does, even if we will always be much too late in realizing what it is we’re witnessing. Maybe we’ll always think it’s bigger than it really is, but yet afterwards we’ll always know that it was bigger than it ever was.
Well, I was hoping to do a little rain out meandering, to be honest, one of those columns that wanders around with no direction and tends toward the abstract and philosophical. You know, just because I can. And because SDM asked for some group therapy. (Here’s my shot, anyway.)
Even though the postponement didn’t happen, I’m going to meander anyway.
The WGN cameras turned to the skyline as fog descended on Chicago, as utterly symbolic an image for the Northsiders as I could have imagined. The mood was drear and gloom, as was the situation. The Cubs were 14-10; now they’re 15-22. They have endured blowouts and heartbreakers, occasionally teasing us with signs of breaking the slump but never following through. It’s been as bad these last two weeks as baseball gets. We can only hope that the fog descended to put this stretch to rest.
In the meantime, here are the Best of my Game Notes from the last 2 weeks. Unfortunately, my sense of humor was absent. Looking back, apparently I was trying to distract myself with fan cam shots of attractive women every game – can you blame me? – so I apologize if I was too heavy on those comments. Still, hopefully there were a few decent quips in there.
Well, this half month of Cubs baseball has been miserable. I use the past tense, but technically I suppose it’s still present tense. The misery may or may not be over.
Except yesterday one of those internal switches in my head flipped and I was no longer on edge with this team. Desperation changed to resignation. I was no longer upset because I stopped thinking, “If they could just turn it around and get back on a roll, maybe it’s not too late...”
And so the losing streak is over. The Cubs were far from perfect, but in the 6th inning they were perfect enough. A single by Pierre, a walk by Walker, a double by Ramirez, a walk by Murton, and a double by Jones. Absent a hit by Lee, it's almost how we would have drawn it up on day 1.
The game starts in 10 minutes, and I’ve given myself that window to write as much as I can, to go on record with a brief point.
There are only 2 ways the story can go, and telling either of them will involve platitudes and hyperbole. Either
- The Cubs rally to win behind their stopper, the ace so far this season, Greg Maddux, or
- This becomes the worst slump of the entire Dusty Baker era.