Tonight, I figured I’d be celebrating our series against the Brew Crew in the time-honored Joe Schlombowski cheap seats way; by pouring a frosty cold Miller straight into the crapper every time we score. Then — since Joe’s Bleachers is the environmentally responsible center of the universe — flushin’ that nasty-tastin’, gut-bombin’ swill and sending it sloshing back to the brewery, where they can bottle it right back up for sale. Maybe even at Miller Park. (I flush twice, cuz it’s a helluva long way to the Miller Brewing Company.)
Unfortunately we happen to be down by 4 at the moment … which sucks. We haven’t pushed a single run across the plate, either … which also sucks. And Anderson’s got a no-hitter through 6. More sucking. Even worse (for me, anyway) … there’s an entire case of Miller contaminating my man-fridge. I was figuring on our usual 6, 7, maybe 9 runs a game. Not today. Haven’t flushed a single drop down the oval office yet, and if the Cubbies don’t get busy pretty soon, my Old Style is gonna get infused with the stink emanating from those clear bottles. C’mon, Cubs!
Know what I love about baseball, Cubcakes? The Code, that’s what. That good old free market system of behavioral correction that finally got Joey Bautista cold cocked on Sunday by the Rangers’ Rougned Odor. And I mean friggin’ hammered, sport fans. Shellacked like a shit house toilet seat. Odor answered that age-old question, “You wouldn’t hit a man with glasses, would you?” by drilling Joey Bats in the jaw so hard his extra pair of Oakleys fell out of his locker. Hey, Brycie, still think the game is boring? Still love how Bautista “expressed himself” with a bat flip against the Rangers in last year’s ALDS? Well, Vegas, eventually that comes with a price, as your Blue Jay buddy found out when Odor rattled his nuts like a handful of dice in a Yahtzee cup.
It appears, my Cubs-loving friends, that expression is a two-way street patrolled by The Code. Hey, I don’t care if you like the Rangers or the Blue Jays or even that corrupt gang of World Series sellouts from the south side of town, act like an asshole in in this game and you’ll get set straighter than a ten-peckered billy goat. Eventually.
Robbie Womanfred’s sissy, college-boy slide rule didn’t keep Joey Bats from sliding hard and late into Odor at second. Maybe Joey’s trying to break up the double play, maybe he’s answering back to getting plunked in the back earlier in the inning. Don’t know, don’t care. There are three things Smokin’ Joe Schlombowski does know, however: 1) Chanel-wearing ESPN babes wouldn’t have wrinkles in their undies if Joey Bautista hadn’t “expressed himself” last fall; 2) Rougned Odor landed the cleanest shot to a jaw I’ve ever seen outside the ring at Johnny Coulon’s Gym on East 63rd; and 3) with all due respect to the Rangers’ second sacker, I’m sure glad my last name’s Schlombowski.
I’ll say this about Gerrit Cole; he’s in good company, although it has absolutely nothing to do with his arm. After beating the Cubs last night, thereby barely and finally scratching out a victory — the first in 6 tries against Chicago this season — Cole says, “I don’t really think they’re the best team in baseball.”
Really? I think maybe this Pirate is suffering from scurvy or something.
Before I get to the “good company” part, let’s just mow the facts into the infield grass where even the Lump of Cole oughta be able to read them from his 12 inch perch (assuming he can read). 1) The Cubs, at 27-9, are, in fact, currently the best team in baseball. Period. 2) The Cubs have a +109 run differential. Also, the best in baseball. In fact, it’s higher than the next two teams (Red Sox +58 and Cardinals +46) combined. 3) The Cubs have the highest power ranking, the lowest team ERA, and opposing teams (like the Pirates) have a batting average against us just two points over the Mendoza line. I’ll mention here that the Cubs have also outscored the Pirates 38-13 in their six head-to-head games this season. Seems like Cole oughta keep his nose outta the rosin bag.
Okay, cubcakes. So a couple of days ago the Commish dealt your reigning National League MVP a one-game suspension and an “undisclosed” fine for his post-game MF-ing of home plate umpire Brian Knight on Monday. To that I say, WHAT A FRIGGIN’ D-BAG! No, I’m not talking about Robbie Womanfred (for once). And please don’t get me started on umpires — hasn’t been a good one since Dutch Rennert forced me to stuff napkins in my ears to soften the blow my eardrums took each time he called a strike. I’m talking about the pretty boy from Vegas who thinks baseball is “tired” and in need of more players who express themselves.
Express yourself? Really? What … the metrosexual haircut and shaved chest ain’t enough, Brycie?
You know who gets tired of Harper’s expression, besides me and … oh, I don’t know … Jonathon Papelbon? Dusty Baker, that’s who. The Nationals’ skipper doesn’t give a rat’s ass about Harper expressing himself in any other ways besides hittin’ the orb out of the house, and gettin’ his friggin’ batting average above .265; a mark usually reserved for all-pick-no-stick shortstops, not someone on the verge of signing the fattest contract in sports history. Dusty’s old, man! He’s got no patience for a 23-year-old punk who thinks his crap oughta be sold next to Chanel No. 5. He’s not interested in damage control, which Harper’s mouth heaps on him regularly. Dusty just wants to win. To a veteran baseball guy, that’s the best form of expression. It’s just harder to do when your best guy gets tossed with the score tied in the ninth.
Holy crap! The Cubs lay a couple of goose eggs on Wednesday and you’d think the friggin’ sky was falling. Hey, Cubs fans, what the hell is wrong with you people?! Did you really think we were gonna go the entire season without losing 2 in a row? Is that realistic? I can understand that maybe … just maybe … your perspective might be a little off. After all, the Cubs are havin’ their best start in 109 years, we’ve got a run differential as wide as Bartolo Colon’s butt, and we’ve had both our offense and pitching in annihilation mode since we broke camp. It’s easy to get caught up in that, I know, but you gotta stop the Varuca Salt impersonations when every little thing doesn’t go our way. Grow the hell up.
My advice: Crack open an icy cold Old Style and try to enjoy what’s happened so far. Think about it. With just a Donald Trump-sized handful of exceptions, the Cubs have basically sucked for over a hundred years. This year? We’re good. I mean for real, we’re good. For the first 5 weeks of the season the Cubs have been the main topic of conversation on just about every sports program known to man. Why? Partly because when the Cubs win with monotonous regularity it’s pretty unusual. Partly because we’re really kicking the crap outta just about everybody, and then rubbin’ their noses in what we kicked out of ’em. We’re so good, in fact, that ESPN’s resident pinhead, Stephen A. Smith (middle name always initialed due to obscenity reasons) felt compelled to attribute Arrieta’s performance to PEDs. He just had to pin that kind of exceptional play on something … anything but the fact that we’re actually good. Too monstrous of a concept for the feeble minded.
If I’m Maddon, I’m takin’ a trip to the mound to settle you down. Try to remember that for a team that’s been defined by our ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, we’re doin’ pretty damn good. We lost a couple in a row … to a crappy team. Don’t jump off the Sears Tower just yet, pal. Take a deep breath, do some of that zen yoga meditation crap or somethin’ and have a little faith, baby. Did we fold when Schwarber went down? No. Have we found ways to win some close ones? Yes. Have we mostly treated opposing pitching staffs like a baby treats a diaper? Absolutely. So let’s have a little more Alfred E. Newman and a little less Chicken Little.
In the words of Nuke LaLoosh, “You win some, you lose some. Sometimes it rains.” It’s a long season, my friend. You gotta trust it.
I don’t know what it is … maybe I’m just a product of the 60s, when ballplayers were loyal to their teams (even if it was because the owners were as much slave owners as they were team owners). Still, when I read that Jake Arrieta — who’s havin’ by FAR the two best years of his career — is willing to walk away if the Cubs don’t offer him a minimum of $200 million and 7 years, I just wanna slap his greedy little Wall Street face.
I get it. Arrieta won the trophy last year, and he’s looking like Cy Young himself this year, while Strasburg — an inferior pitcher, if you go by the numbers — just penned a seven-year extension with the Nats for Jesus money. Plus, if you throw in the deals Price and Scherzer got (both 7-year stints for more than $200 million) then mix all that information together in the context bowl, then yeah, it sounds like Arrieta is worth what he and that bottom-feeder Boras are gonna be asking for. However, it’s totally friggin’ unreasonable in a world where garbage men are gettin’ 60-some grand a year to wade through Chicago’s trash, no matter what it’s doin’ outside. And what really rubs me raw is when I hear some of these guys, who drive Bentleys outta their 10 car garages to the ballpark, talk about how much they care about the fans. Quite frankly it insults my intelligence. Limited though it may be, I got enough gray matter up there to tell when a guy who plays a game for a living is dropping his kids off at the pool … and I’m the pool.
If the Cubs win the Series, Chicago is gonna be pretty much as depicted in this TV spot. Only it’ll be real.
Until this year, asking that question was an indication that 1) it was 1945, 2) you were referring to your kid’s Little League team, 3) you were completely friggin’ nuts, or 4) it was before the bottom of the 8th, October 14th 2003. It’s not a question one would really ask — even on those occasions when it’s been warranted — cuz there was always a feeling way deep down inside, down where brats get processed and weird sounds emminate, that the Cubs would figure out a way to F it up. And they never failed to live up to that expectation.
If hope springs eternal, Cubs fans have perfected the art of it. We even created “wait until next year” in an attempt to throw down a gauntlet; a warning that the following season would be different. But that’s always been false hope, intended primarily to take the sting out of our yearly belly flop into the Sea of Ineptitude.
Tonight’s game against the Friars was like a trip down memory lane, only this lane was more like a dark alley smack dab in the middle of Fallujah. I don’t know why, but the bull pen decided it would be a hoot to reenact one of its performances from 2012. Now, I would try to do the duck thing and just let this roll off my back, but I’ve been a Cubs fan way too long for that. I remember trading Maddux, I remember Bartman pretending to play left field, I remember getting broomed in the first round of the playoffs after winning 97 in the regular season. So nothin’ is rolling off my weary, old, hairy back, my friend.
You have to take this stuff seriously. Especially if you’re Maddon. In fact, I’d like to see him channel a little Lee Elia … and like right friggin’ now. I mean, Joe had an awesome first season, right? Better than anyone, including management, expected. So I’m not sure he’s 100% dialed in on the historical voo doo that swirls around the club like the winds in Wrigley. If Joe doesn’t bring a little Old Testament, wrath-of-God kinda whoopass down on the bull pen for that performance tonight, and just laughs it off, that’ll just invite complacency. You get enough of that and pretty soon there’ll be no joy in Mudville, pal.
The Cubs and Padres have been postponed, so let’s talk about brooms.
This sweep thing the Cubs have going is getting monotonous. First it was the Reds, then the Brew Crew, followed by the Pirates. And yesterday it was the Nats — the mighty Bryce Harper Nationals. Each and every one of ’em broomed by the Cubs. Yeah, yeah … there were a couple of rain outs in there. Still, I’m thinkin’ Ricketts oughta consider hiring a witch to fly over Wrigley and skywrite “Surrender (team name here)” during the last game of a home stand. It’d make for an awesome promotion, and would be fantastic optics for Hillary Clinton. Hold your water there, snowflake. Before you Hillary lovers get all micro-aggressioned and try to have me water-boarded, I’ll also point out, while we’re skippin’ down the yellow brick road, that the other candidate is in desperate need of a brain. There … Is everyone sufficiently triggered?
The ‘sweep’ thing sounds a little cocky, I know. Especially since it’s so early. We’re also Schwarberless, Montero is injured, and Bryant and Heyward are not 100%. Still, there’s definitely something in the water this year; some kinda special sauce or magic dust … or spinach maybe. Something that’s turned the Cubs into the baseball version of the Avengers. By the way, spinach flavored water? … Bleeeaaaaaacccckkkkk! Whatever it is, though, this has been one of the best 5 week stretches of my 55 years. There was that incredible thing with the missus and that medication snafu, but other than that, this is tops.
The other day, I made a wise crack about the play the White Sox made at first base which, I admit, was pretty awesome. Mark Buehrle chases down a ball up the line and, on a dead run, scoops it to Konerko between his legs to nail Eric Hosmer at first. Highlight reel stuff.
Nonetheless, seeing as how it’s against my religion to say anything nice about the White Sox, I went to their Facebook page and posted the following comment: “BFD. When your right fielder pegs a guy at third with that kinda throw, then pop off. The class of Chicago plays at Clark & Addison my friend.” Figured I’d see if anybody on the South Side had any detectible brain activity. That, and the fact that I absolutely LOVE poking Sox fans cuz they’re so easily agitated. Not sure why that is, but rumor has it it’s the cheap material in those Victoria’s Secret panties they like to wear for good luck.