April 2007 Archives for Agony & Ivy
Well, the last thing I want to write about is Cubs baseball. They are just playing bad. Bad bad bad. Where would one start? I took a couple of hours off from studying to watch the game, hoping for Rich Hill to be the stopper once again. I figured this would be the game worth taking a break for. I even kept score. Little did I know the offense would take the night off.
So, anyway, I wanted to put up a postscript to the essay from a couple of weeks ago, and this seems like a time to take a minute and finish it.
Pat Hughes: “That might be the best throw by a Cub outfielder we’ve seen in two or three years.” Felix Pie, throwing out Russell Branyan at the plate on a perfect strike, on the fly. In the 10th inning of a tie game. Preserving the tie. My oh my.
Let’s not make a mountain out of a molehill. But let’s also not make a molehill out of a mountain.
Several of my friends had the occasion to attend one of the first two home games at Wrigley, and I’d like to pass along a few of their observations. First though, to complement PMc's post, this is what I think is the most telling statistical trend in the early development stages... one I hope busts up very, very soon:
When the Cubs’ opponent scores first, the team is 0-4.
I'm not normally a numbers guy but something about baseball demands that you can crunch, remember, recite and generally be conversant with some general sense of the way they all add up. It's not necessary to enjoying or even earning a living analyzing the game -- Joe Morgan the other night came out and admitted, somewhat astonishingly, that he's not much for statistics -- but it does enhance the experience, say, if you know going in that Craig Biggio is a "Cub killer,'' as is Chris Capuano and....you get the idea. I can't immediately summon whatever target Barry Bonds is aiming for in his chase of Henry Aaron's all-time home run mark this season, but I know it's within reasonable range. I remember 714 and 56--individual milestones buried deep in the memory bank. So was 61 until Sosa, McGwire and Bonds smashed it in the last decade.
I was hoping that a full moon waiting to rise over the end of opening day would be a harbinger for strange currencies in a good way. And then it seemed like maybe it would, when the agreement for the sale of TribCo was announced. Around the Texas law school, chatter among baseball fans immediately turned to Mark Cuban’s potential ownership. Consensus: it might be kinda fun to have him own the Cubs.
But on the field, recurring problems recurred: Cubs pitchers walk too many batters, and when the team falls behind, Cubs batters swing at pitcher’s pitches early in the count. Losses follow.
I've (finally) finished my annual essay, this year titled Why We Might Bother. Just ahead of my deadline of opening day. It's not so much about baseball as it is armchair philosophy about life more generally. It's a longer piece of writing, but hopefully there's something in there worth reading. Enjoy!
(The other essays are all available here.)
"Nope, just tall," I said. "That's why we usually stand at the back, so we aren't blocking the view. What's your excuse for standing back here?"