Heroes: Carlos Pena (home run) Kosuke Fukudome (double) each contributed three hits and bookended a dramatic two-run ninth inning rally off Cincinnati closer Francisco Cordero (2-1) to lead the Cubs (15-17), as Pat Hughes described it, "to their most gratifying victory of the season."
Hero: Finally, the Demp we know and love. Ryan Dempster, who turned 34 on Tuesday, walked the first two batters he faced on eight straight balls, but bounced back to work seven solid innings. Dempster- who lowered his ERA to 8.05 while not figuring in the decision- allowed one (earned) run on six hits while walking two and striking out five.
"To say this was the best outing of Ryan Dempster's season would be probably the understatement of the year," Len Kasper said during the WGN telecast."He was really good."
It was one of those nights.
The Cubs trailed 7-0 in the first inning.Thank goodness for the Cubs broadcast crews, who helped ease the pain with their banter.
(Editor's Note: Twenty-eighth in a series recalling the 30 greatest moments in Cubs history.)
My friend, Terry, gave me a call on Wednesday morning, May 6, 1998, and asked if I wanted to join him for that afternoon's game at Wrigley Field between the Cubs and the Houston Astros.
We're just five games into the new season, but Cubs TV broadcasters Len Kasper and Bob Brenly, now in their seventh season together, are already in midseason form.
Life has thrown me more than a fair share of curveballs, but throughout my many trials and tribulations, I have tried my best to maintain my optimism and to reflect on my many blessings.
And I could not have a better role model in regards to having a sunny disposition in the face of adversity than former Cubs star and longtime radio broadcaster Ron Santo.
It was very sad to learn Friday morning that Santo, the greatest third baseman in Cubs history, had died at age 70 from complications of bladder cancer.
Santo was one of my father's favorite ballplayers and I was very familiar with the nine-time All-Star's playing exploits long before he joined the Cubs broadcast team in 1990. Say what you will about Santo's on-air style ("Who's this guy pitching, Pat?"), but understand that listening to a Cubs game on the radio will never be the same.
You don't put together a 103-year championship drought without a few infamous and embarrassing moments. Cubs history is full of head-scratching and gut-wrenching moments. I believe these are the 13 worst:
Memories are made of moments.
As great as Hall of Fame second baseman Ryne Sandberg was - a consistently good hitter and spectacular fielder - during his 15-year Cubs career, he will always be remembered by most Cubs fans old enough to remember for his exploits on a single afternoon. On June 23, 1984 at Wrigley Field, Sandberg hit game-tying home runs off Cardinals relief ace Bruce Sutter in the ninth and 10th innings of a game that the Cubs eventually won. It has become known as the "Sandberg Game."
Hero: Geovany Soto went 3-for-5, scored three times, and knocked in five. Soto hit a three-run homer in the seventh inning off former Cubs right-hander LaTroy Hawkins.
It was great to see Scott Sanderson at Wrigley Field on Tuesday night as the guest conductor for "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."
Jeff Baker hit a solo homer in the first inning Thursday - his third of the season - and it led to some informative radio courtesy of Pat Hughes and Ron Santo.
Hero: Randy Wells (3-2) allowed just four hits and one walk while striking out eight over eight innings, but was done in by a pathetic Cubs offense and two-out home runs by Florida's Cody Ross in the second and Gaby Sanchez in the third.
Hero: Carlos Marmol shook off some rust and struck out the side as he pitched a scoreless eighth despite allowing a single and pair of walks. Marmol lowered his ERA to 0.61 and has struck out an incredible 30 batters in just 14 2/3 innings.
"And we can't get to him (for save opportunities)," Ron Santo said. "That's the amazing thing."
"That's the frustrating thing," Pat Hughes added.
Hero: Marlon Byrd's two-run homer in the fourth inning tied the game at 4, and came right after Pat and Ron explained what a terrific guy Marlon is and what a great presence he is in the clubhouse. He could not have timed it better.
Goat: The Cubs have a full-time nutritionist on the payroll. Would someone please tell him to make sure that Carlos Zambrano is properly hydrated? Water, Gatorade, whatever. I thought the mention of Z's cramps was a thing of the past.
Hero: Lefty starter Tom Gorzelanny looked very much like the pitcher who won 14 games with Pittsburgh in 2007 but was victimized by a lack of support. The Marist High School grad allowed one unearned run and four hits while walking two and striking out seven.
Goats: There was plenty of blame to go around but relievers John Grabow and Esmailin Caridad again fared poorly. With the score knotted at 1 in the eighth, Grabow loaded the bases. Caridad entered and issued a tie-breaking walk to Ramon Hernandez.
"Terrible. Absolutely terrible," Ron Santo muttered.