For a loud mouthed guy from Chicago, I’ve been conspicuously silent since Curt Schilling threw his wild pitch the other day. The missus asked me if I could be like that more often … and on stuff that has nothing whatsoever to do with Schilling, or gas station bathrooms in North Carolina. That reminds me: Mets fans, please don’t eat the urinal cookies.
As far as ESPN brooming Schilling, I look at it in kinda the same way the Cubs handled that human IED, Carlos Zambrano; no shortage of talent, but a total friggin’ disaster waiting to happen. And eventually, it did. Ka-BOOM! To ESPN, Schilling had become a problem that had to be dealt with. But ESPN’s real problem is they’ve got too many lawyers, and not enough nuts. What ever happened to “The opinions expressed by whoever are not necessarily those of this station or its management?” Plus, it’s not like he walked onto the Monday Night Baseball set wearing high heels and a pencil skirt to make his point. He reposted a tasteless photo — yes, it was tasteless — on his personal Facebook page, with his own commentary. The hypocrisy at ESPN is staggering. They flush Schilling, but still fawn over serial hole-chaser (of the non-golf course type), Tiger Woods, like he’s the Dali friggin’ Lama.
This play has been making the rounds on social media like Yasiel Puig just cured cancer and balanced the federal budget. On the same day. Most every comment I’ve read makes this throw — which, I admit, did nail the guy at third — into something other-worldly; like God himself breathed some sorta biblical power into Puig’s arm. My charitable side, if I had one, would assume these guys never saw Roberto Clemente, Fred Lynn or Reggie Jackson throw a ball from the wall — not 20 feet inside the warning track— to nail a guy at 3rd or home. Happened all the time, my friend, and I saw plenty of them myself. Even Chicago’s own hero-turned-juicer, Sammy Sosa, woulda made that throw better than Puig.
I saw Puig’s throw the night it happened. Who didn’t? ESPN and every other jock sniffer on the planet ran it to friggin’ death. Hell, Jennifer Aniston could walk down Michigan Avenue stark-friggin-naked and she wouldn’t get that kinda coverage. (By the way, if she ever does that, I’ll be checkin’ off number 3 on by bucket list.) But like I said, I can’t argue with the end result; Puig nailed the guy. It’s the way his throw was characterized — by sportswriters, no less — that’s chaffing my backside. It was called “a laser” to third. A laser? Look … I may be closer to a Christian Scientist than a rocket scientist, but I’ve seen enough Star Trek to know that lasers don’t come in “rainbow”, which is exactly what that throw was, pal. If I didn’t know better, I might have thought the game was in St Louis with that kinda arch.
Anyway, while we’re busy dipping Puig’s arm in bronze and adding a wing to Cooperstown to keep it in, let’s try not to crap all over the guys that perfected the art of the cannon shot from deep right center. Have a little respect for the game, and the guys that made it great by doing the impossible, not just flippin’ bats and shit.
Of all the mind-numbing things that I couldn’t possibly care less about, we have the 4,327th reason why baseball kicks football’s ass; Deflategate. Does anybody with an IQ higher than a door knob really give 2 craps if a little bit of air was sucked outta some footballs 2 Super Bowls ago? That’s like still arguing about a bad call at second base in a 11-0 game from 2014. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we’ve added 2 or 3 trillion dollars to the national debt over that period of time! A stark raving lunatic or a pantsuit-wearin’ pathological liar are likely to be president! And the Cubs are the hottest team in baseball! But the geniuses at NBC think we should care about a little air in some balls?! Gimme a break.
Who is it that makes these decisions? I swear, if you could wire together the brains of everybody in the NFL and everyone sittin’ above the mezzanine level at 30 Rock, you couldn’t power a 10 watt light bulb. If Roger Goodell and Tom Brady wanna keep swinging their itty bitty man parts at each other, I say let ’em. But do we really need to hear about it on the national news? Cuz if we do, maybe we should also get the Wenatchee River steelhead count, and live coverage of the Cheese Rolling Festival in Brockworth. It’s not news, people.
I guess if you’re a Patriots fan, maybe you think it’s news. But if you’re in that part of the country, I’ve got some news for you; IT’S FRIGGIN’ BASEBALL SEASON! You should be thinking about Big Papi, Pedey and the Sox. Or at least Gisele, who is like a set of those special radial tires; “all season.” So, puh-leeeeeeeeze, can we bench the Deflategate noise already? Nobody gives a crap.
The Brewers will be stinking up Wrigley starting tomorrow, my friend, which means it’s time to get ready … or, uh … get up for the game, so to speak. Now, if I was former Cubs cannon-armed, superstar-turned-jagoff Sammy Sosa, this would involve needles and some cork. But seeing as how I’m just your average fat guy from Chi-town, I got another — and I hasten to add, superior — way to make sure I’m game ready for the Brewskis on Tuesday night. That is … I plan on doing my best Joey Chestnut imitation at Hot Doug’s while jiggling both of my chins and my 6-pack* to the best food song ever. This tends to help me find my game face. Not to mention my game gut.
Then, after the missus has brought me home from the emergency room, I like to put the Laverne and Shirley intro credits on “loop” and play it over and over until it’s time to leave for the ballpark. This reinforces why I can’t friggin’ stand the Brewers (as if the fact that Bud Selig used to own them isn’t enough).
Anyway, whatever your ritual is, like stickin’ pins in a Ryan Braun doll, wearing a thong (it worked for Giambi), polishing your dog, shaving your forearms … Whatever. Just be ready. And when you’re at the yard, and you happen to bump into those morons wearing Brewers gear, remember the words of my sainted Mother: “If you can’t say anything nice, be sure and say it to a Brewers fan.”
*A true 6-pack, by the way, ain’t the kinda shaved, metrosexual 6-pack you see gawking at you through the windows at Abercrombie. It comes from actually CONSUMING vast quantities of 6-packs. Preferably of the Old Style persuasion.
I’m a really superstitious guy. I don’t walk under ladders, if I see a black cat I turn and go the other way, and I never ever change my underwear in the middle of a winning streak. (Already been a little crispy a few times this year.) Because of this, I normally wouldn’t want to tempt the curse of the goat by talkin’ about the start the Cubs have pounded out this season. But I’ve sat back in the Barcalounger as long as I can, pal, so — Schwarberless and all — I gotta point out the obvious fact that the Cubs are the friggin’ class of the sport of baseball this year. (Which is the real Sport of Kings, not horse racing, like most people think.)
And although we got a taste of our own medicine yesterday by lettin’ Cincinnati lay a little of the old Red Machine on us, today we hung another 9-spot on ’em, taking the last game of the series, makin’ it 6 outta 7 against them so far. That means our 14-5 record is the best of any team in baseball. Thee best. The top. The Mona Lisa, baby. It’s also one of the best starts in the long, agonizing and painful history of the Cubs. Anyway, it got me wondering what other kinda great starts there have been — ones that are worthy of being on the list with the 2016 Chicago Cubs. Alright, here’s what I got:
What is this, football season already?! Kinda sounds like it when you’re playin’ Cincinnati.
To clarify, so far this season, Chicago has outscored Cincinnati 46-7. Ouch! If this was September you might think I was talkin’ about the Bears and Bengals (except for the fact that baseball kick’s football’s ass, and I’d rather get a colonoscopy from Dr Jack Hammer than talk about football). Nope. It’s the Cubs and Reds, pal, and in football parlance we’re barely into the 2nd quarter with these guys.
At the current pace, the Cubs are gonna run up 156 runs over the course of our 17 meetings with Cinci this year. I know a lot of you are thinkin’ that we can’t sustain that pace. But I say, if the Warriors could damn near run the table this year, then why not the Cubs? Yeah, they have Stephen Curry … But we got Arrieta, Lackey, Bryant, Rizzo … hell, I could sooooo go on. And look at their history; a very Cubs-like futility on a basketball court. Plus, we’ve got the law of averages on our side; we’re due. Past due. Way, way, way past due.
And as far as football goes, they have cheerleaders, we don’t. That’s the one thing I have to tip the Joe lid to, and is the second thing I think (Hey, Womanfred, are you listening?!) the Commissioner could do to improve the game. The first thing would be to get rid of that sissy Designated Hitter crutch. Have you seen Arrieta hit?! Case closed, pal.
As noisy as the Cubs bats were tonight — and it was like a friggin’ Linkin Park concert on steroids — they couldn’t quite drown out the silence of Cincinnati’s, who failed to produce a single base hit (not a little squib, not a dying quail, nothin’) against the super-hero arm of Jake Arrieta. You’ve heard of the zone? Well, wherever the hell that is, Jake’s smack dab in the dead center of it.
To be honest, I felt a little sorry for Cincinnati tonight. I mean, not sorry enough to feel bad; sorry in a way that I wanted to spare them the embarrassment of stepping into the batters box against this guy right now. Plus, it was just a colossal waste of time. It woulda been easier for everyone if, instead of stepping into the batters box, they just penciled in a strike out, or weak ground ball or pop out in the score book and then headed back out on the field. (Probably would have made Rob Manfred, MLB’s official time-keeper, happy.)
Likewise, instead of pitching to the Cubs tonight, it woulda been easier if Finnegan had just turned around and thrown the ball into the gap, or over the fence or something. 16 runs on 18 hits. In tennis that would be called “abuse of ball.” Love it.
I feel like I oughta be drooling over the offensive production more, and normally I would. But holy crap!, Arrieta has 2 no-no’s in his last 11 regular season starts. And … AND … the Reds haven’t been no-hit in the regular season since 1971, which I’d guess is long before most of you were born. That’s 7,110 games.
And tomorrow, we get to play these guys again.
Off to Cincinnati today for 4 days of fun with the Red Stockings. This is a club — not unlike the Cubs — with a long, colorful past; one full of intrigue, deception, and moronic moves that rival anything the Cubs have been able to pull off during the longest championship drought in professional sports history. Still, the average guy on the street can’t tell you much about the Reds. Yeah, everybody knows about Pete Rose, but Reds knowledge basically starts and ends with his whining buttocks gettin’ broomed from the game, with some Big Red Machine thrown in for good measure. On the other hand, the same guy who flunks Reds 101 can recite in painful detail incidents like Bartman, and the black cat, and the billy goat, and Lee Elia’s meltdown, and tradin’ Greg Maddux, and a bunch of other things that have helped define the Cubs as the door mat of the National League over the past century.
So, to brighten my day, and maybe make you feel like we’re on an even playing field — historically speaking — I thought we’d have a little Red Stockings history lesson.
Normally I would just let this slide past me, since it seems to be a relatively frequent occurrence these days … kinda like how I don’t pay attention to whatever idiotic thing just came outta The Donald. But one of these teams was the Cubs, so I gotta put in my 2 cents. And that’s this:
The utter stupidity of some Little League coaches (and some Little League parents, for that matter) never ceases to make me wanna secede from the human race. I’ve been around baseball since I was in diapers, so I’ve seen my share of this kinda thing. Like I said, it’s not that uncommon. What’s uncanny, though, is that every damn time — at least it seems like it — the eunuchs involved are the sorta loud-mouthed know-it-alls that have as much useful knowledge about baseball as I do about string theory and particle physics. I money-back guarantee you that’s the case here.
I find it mildly ironic that the candy-assed St Louis Cardinal organization has banned Joe Maddon’s “Try Not to Suck” t-shirts from their ball park. Cardinals spokesman Ron Watermon said the word “sucks” is on a list of curse words forbidden to appear on clothing in … get this … “Busch” Stadium.
That’s right. “Busch.”
I think you know where I could take that, my friend, but I’m not as petty as Mr Watermon or whoever came up with their list. The word “suck” happens to be part of everyday language in America. It’s part of the jargon. So, Mr Watermon, while you’re un-wadding your delicate little panties, you should know that it doesn’t take on any meaning beyond “you’re no good at something” unless you have a sewer for a mind, or you also define what’s being sucked.
Hey, Watermon … I got a definition for ya.