Hey there, double wides. What’s shakin’? (Besides Asdrubal Cabrera’s voice, that is.) The Mets activated the self-proclaimed center of the universe from the DL before yesterday’s game and listed him as the starting second baseman. And what did he do? He got his jock strap twisted all up in knots, and started cryin’ to the press about it.
Full disclosure: I don’t have any first or even second hand knowledge that Asdrubal (Wouldn’t his natural nickname be “Ass?”) actually claimed to be the center of the universe. But any trouser snake that huddles the reporters to announce he’s “not happy about the move to second base” and “has asked his agent” to facilitate a trade, thinks he’s the friggin’ big bang itself.
News flash, Asdrubal … you ain’t no Ernie Banks, my friend.
He ain’t Derek Jeter, Ozzie Smith or Cal Ripken Jr, either. And as much as I can’t stand that gargantuan cheat, A-Rod, the fact of the matter is that he was a helluva good 6. Better than Asdrubal could ever hope to be … even in his wildest fantasies. (The baseball ones. Not the ones involving a whip cream-filled hot tub and every last model from the 2017 SI Swimsuit Edition.) In spite of how good he was, the Yanks still moved A-Rod to third. Did he go all Veruca Salt on ’em and demand a trade? No, he did not. He acted like he was part of a team. (He also acted like a total douche bag, but that’s a whole other TMZ topic.) Anyway, the last time I checked, baseball was a team sport. Even the version the Mets try to pawn off.
This year’s record aside, the team sport thing is a concept that the Cubs have perfected. Take third baseman, Kris Bryant, for instance. He spelled Rizzo at first yesterday, but you’ll see him roamin’ the outfield a lot, too. How ’bout Baez? He’s a shortstop that plays second base, cuz we got Addy at short. He’ll play third, too, like yesterday when KB was covering for Riz. Last year’s World Series MVP, Ben Zobrist, was brought to Chicago to play second, but when Baez came along, Zo headed to the outfield, though still plays second, too. Contreras and Schwarber, both catchers, also play the outfield.
Now, you could load up Chicago’s clubhouse with all the NSA spy shit you want, bug every cell phone, intercept the collective social media streams of the entire roster, and you ain’t gonna hear a single whining peep about gettin’ moved to whatever position. That’s called team baseball. You do what’s best for the team in team baseball, unlike whatever it is that Cabrera plays, in which he does — or at least expects to do — whatever is best for Asdrubal. Not only that; in a move that would put him at the top of his class at the Alex Rodriguez School of Douche Bags, he punctuates his ass-holian behavior by publicly announcing his dissatisfaction with the Mets’ decision. He’s gotta be a natural blonde.
So on one hand you’ve got former Rookie of the Year and NLMVP, Kris Bryant, playing first and left and right, instead of his natural position, third base, without turnin’ into Kanye West. And on the other you’ve got Cabrera, a mediocre glove, an average bat, and an arm like my sister demanding to be traded cuz he’s been asked to start at second base instead of short. Can you detect an attitude difference there? Any at all?
Hey there, grease traps. You know, the missus happens to be a big fan of Chopped, a cooking show where the contestants have to make somethin’ tasty using surprise ingredients. If they don’t, they get eliminated … or chopped. Clever.
It got me thinkin’ about the Cubs, and how every season is like a mystery basket full of ingredients — winning streaks, slumps, heroes and goats, dazzling plays, mental errors and player chemistry. No matter what’s in your basket, though, you gotta put somethin’ on the field that can win. If you don’t, you get chopped. Or you’re the Phillies.
This season, the Cubs haven’t exactly been turnin’ the baseball world on its tastebuds. In fact, last night’s roasting of the Marlins — tasty as it was — was little more than one of those amusing bush things you get at a place like Alinea. It was a taste; somethin’ to get your appetite going. Problem is … you never know if they’re gonna follow it up with a gigantic slice of chocolate covered winning streak, or a dried out, nasty tastin’, stick-in-the-throat, pathetic two hit loss.
That’s been the recipe so far this year — outlined below — and it’s left a pretty bad taste in my mouth. I don’t know about you, but it wouldn’t break my heart if Maddon figured out how to serve up some of that 2016-style, deep dish Cubbie pie.
CUBS RECIPE FOR DISASTER
(Serves approximately 3 million people)
1 fresh World Series champion baseball team
1/2 (approx.) season of baseball
1 disabled list
Remove any remaining glory from last year’s championship team and discard. Separate out Kyle Schwarber, Addison Russell, Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist and set aside. Combine the 37 wins and the 35 losses until they reach an average consistency. Remove the skin from Jason Heyward’s hand, and fully strain one of Ben Zobrist’s wrists. Add both to the Disabled List. Let chill for 10 days. While chilling, bring Addison Russell’s marriage to a boil and spread it out all over the newspapers. Finally, take one partially seasoned Kyle Schwarber and send him down to Triple-A, Iowa. Sprinkle the remaining ingredients with errors or until fully bland.
May cause indigestion, headaches, hair loss and occasional bouts of Tourette’s Syndrome.
Now I don’t think it’s time to go full on Gordon Ramsay or anything just yet. There’s a lotta baseball left. Plenty of time for the Cubs to whip up a batch of wins and make it to the playoffs. But they better turn the heat up pretty soon if they wanna pair any champagne with their season.
Hittin’ a Major League worst .171, it’s no wonder there’s a cast on Schwarber’s bat.
Word is out this mornin’ that the Schwarbmeister is headed to Iowa to see if that’s where he left his swing. A temporary setback for the Kyle-driver and the Cubs, but maybe a good thing, nonetheless. Funny how a guy can lose his swing in Chicago and find it in Des Moines. Somebody oughta invent a Find My Swing app or somethin’, where if you’re normally the spittin’ image of Babe Ruth, like Schwarber, but then somehow turn into Mario Mendoza, you just open the app and — presto — there’s your swing! In the corner of the friggin’ dugout the whole time!
Or maybe there could be some kinda lost-and-found for stuff like swings, exploding fastballs, command of the strike zone, or your gold glove — whatever happens to be missin’ and because of that has turned, say … the former human no-hitter, Jake Arrieta, into the current no-way-he’s-gettin’-a-$250-million-contract Jake Arrieta. If we had one of those, Schwarbs could just go rummage through the big, overflowin’ box of sun glasses, cell phones, umbrellas and the occasional folded and dog-eared picture of Scarlett Johansson and … voila! … the swing! Findin’ it there would always be a huge relief cuz there are a ton of guys who, if they happened across Babe Ruth’s swing lying around, wouldn’t turn it in. They’d show up at a Major League tryout tryin’ to pawn it off as their own.
Isn’t that right, Mets fans?
Anyway, Schwarber is on his way to Field of Dreams country. Hopefully it won’t be too long before he starts hearin’ voices — something on the order of, “If you come, we’ll rebuild it.” Seems like if you can get a bunch of dead ballplayers to come back to life in Iowa, doing the same thing for a swing oughta be a piece of cake. And — no disrespect to Schwarber — he does look like he knows his way around a cake. Know what I’m sayin’? If it works out, I can think of another 24 guys who could use a little AAA tune up.
In fact, I’d like to see the whole AAA thing bein’ applied to other jobs besides baseball. For instance, that team we got in Washington — mind you I’m talkin’ about the whole friggin’ ball club; Republicans, Democrats, the lot of ’em — is about as productive as a box of hair. They don’t even have the friggin’ fundamentals down. You’d have to send ’em all the way down to low A. You know, for the ultra-basic crap … “This round thing with stitches … this is a baseball.” That kinda stuff. To which half of ’em would reply, “Hey, coach, can you take it a little slower?”
I’m lookin’ forward to seein’ Mr Schwarber back in Chi-town, with his swing back to the “stand back or you could get hurt” setting. In all honesty, I don’t know if Iowa is gonna make that much difference, cuz 99 times out of 100, when a swing is misplaced, you don’t have to look any further than that patch of grass between your ears to find it. But, hey, if the smell of corn or the sound of hogs (7 of ’em for every man, woman and child in Iowa) will put the fear of God back in Schwarbs’ swat, I’m all for it.
Hey there, weed whackers. The other day, I was readin’ in the Trib that the Cubs are sellin’ individual ivy leaves from last season. FOR $200 A PIECE! Shipping, handling, taxes and brain surgery (which is what you need if you buy one of these things) are not included. I was so flummoxed ($10 rare word bonus) that it’s taken me until now to gather my thoughts.
“There’s a sucker born every minute.” — P.T . Barnum
A box of rocks. That’s what comes to mind, right off the bat. And in spite of the fact that no one would ever confuse me with Stephen Hawking, at least I know how to count to ten without usin’ my fingers, I know the Earth ain’t flat, and I know that anyone payin’ $200 for a single leaf of ivy, allegedly plucked from Wrigley’s outfield wall after the Series last year, is dumber than a friggin’ box of rocks. Or maybe a hub cap.
I feel compelled to warn any of you rocket scientists out there that already plunked down a couple of bills for your hologrammed yard clipping (and you know who you are) that, in spite of the deceptive name, urinal cookies are not for human consumption. It’s a head-scratcher purchase of gargantuan proportions, my friend — like I could wear a hole in my noggin with that kinda scratchin’. Seriously. You gotta wonder how the hell anyone who’s sittin’ next to their mailbox — probably drooling — anxiously waitin’ for their leaf-in-a-box, ever got successful enough to achieve “premier” status (which I thought was somethin’ you got for spending half your life in the friendly skies, by the way) or afford Cubs season tickets. That’s who gets a shot at this botanical rip-off. 2016 of ’em. Cute number, if not a bit obvious. Anyway, I’m at a total loss to explain why some weed whacker who probably spends his days asking the question, “Would you like fries with that?” has the scratch for season tickets. Makes no sense.
Which brings up a few questions of my own:
1) Can anyone be 100% sure — hologram and all — this ivy is actually from Wrigley and not Mrs Yonkers side yard? 2) Let’s say it is … how do you know it was clipped last year; the World Series year? 3) If it really was, why have the Cubs waited until now to go moron hunting? 4) Is it because moron season doesn’t open until mid-June? 5) Which is longer — moron season or baseball season? 6) Is there a limit on morons? (Not in St Louis.) 7) Besides foliage clippings and shiny objects, are there other equally-effective ways of attracting morons? 8) Wouldn’t DC be a waaaaaay better place to hunt morons than Chicago?
And here’s one more: What about the nickel-and-dimin’ Cubs? The least they could do for fans — no matter how bird-brained — who leverage the college fund to buy season tickets is GIVE ’em an ivy leaf. Every damn one of ’em, too, not just a couple thousand. I mean, how opportunistic can you get?! I don’t need to remind you that it took this franchise every last minute of 108 years to bring us a World Series title. How do they thank us for stickin’ with ’em through 4 generations of abject suckitude? They jack the wombosi outta the ticket prices, that’s how. And they’ve topped that off by preying on idiots, and servin’ up a team that looks a whole lot more like the 2012 Cubs than the 2016 Cubs, thank you very much.
“Nobody ever lost a dollar by underestimating the taste of the American public.” — P.T. Barnum
This all takes me back to P.T. Barnum, who invented “the greatest show on Earth.” And it might have been, until last year’s Cubs-Indians World Series which was — no friggin’ question — the absolute greatest, most electrifying, ulcer inducing, bouncin’ off the walls show on Earth, Mars, Jupiter and any other planet you can come up with. Barnum created the circus and made his fortune off what he called “suckers.” As a lifelong Cubs fan who’s gotten to celebrate as many as ONE championship in 56 long, wait-until-next-year seasons — including the current reasonable facsimile of 1977, which so far has pretty much been a circus itself — I’m seeing a lot of similarities between Ricketts and Barnum, and Cubs fans and suckers.
Of course, I could be wrong. But I’m not.
Hey there, cheese doodles. I’ve had my eyes closed for most of the season, for obvious reasons, so I was wonderin’ if anyone out there can tell me whether that was a corner the Cubs turned last night, or was that 14-3 enema we administered to the Mets just another one of those smooth spots in this bolder-strewn dirt road of a season?
Don’t get me wrong, pallie, I coulda poured last night over my pancakes this morning. Still, in spite of rackin’ up 15 hits, five of which left the yard, including a grand salami by Ian Happ, I’m not quite ready to head down to Party City. Yeah … we finally got some hits with guys on base — friggin’ amazing! I’d like to think that whatever it was — Rizzo hittin’ in the lead off spot, Lester still high from pickin’ Tommy Pham off of first last week, or Maddon puttin’ on his uniform in a different order — the Cubbies are about to catch fire. Of course, I’d also like to think that the missus is gonna put more hide-the-sausage days on her ‘to do’ list.
Take last week, for instance. The Cubs had won five straight, including a 10-2 A-bomb (that A is for Arietta, my friend) where the Cubbies treated the Marlins like a Donald Trump pinata at Elizabeth Warren’s birthday party. As a result, the wire was all abuzz with a heapin’ helping of hyperbole tied to the North Siders. Words like “surging” and “dominant” — terms that this year are usually associated with the Stros and the Nats — were actually being used in the same sentences with “the Cubs.” And lemme tell ya … I was pretty happy to read stuff like that about this year’s vintage. Still, I found it mildly entertaining — sorta like a guy juggling bowling pins, or Anthony Weiner’s last name.
What I mean is that beatin’ the Cards (26-30 at the time) and the Fish (24-33 at the time), although satisfying, wasn’t exactly a sign that the Cubs had rediscovered the lucky charms that made ’em magically delicious last season. It means they wrestled victory away from a couple of ball clubs that are slightly more mediocre than themselves. Yeah, I sound skeptical. Sue me! One incredible season (last year) — which, admittedly, was un-effing-believable — isn’t enough to break up the previous 55 years of scar tissue on my ass. History aside, though, winnin’ those five games was a distinct improvement over where we were a couple weeks before — limping outta Petco Park after being royally pants’d by the Preachers — the worst team in baseball, except for the Phillies. Kickin’ the Mets (29-34) around their own ball park last night comes with a certain measure of satisfaction, too. But winnin’ games we’re supposed to isn’t exactly somethin’ to do cartwheels over. Yeah, it’s nice, but was it a sign that the Cubs are finally runnin’ on all cylinders?
As it turns out the answer is no, cuz in spite of the fact that tonight Rizzo, Happ and Schwarbs picked up right where they left off last night, the Cubs found a way to reach back to 2012 and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. I’m at a loss to explain how the same damn team can play like they did last night, and then fertilize the lawn tonight. I’d consult my crystal baseball but in April it predicted 111 Cubs wins this season, and obviously can no longer be trusted.
Still, I have hope. I grant you … it’s Schlombowski hope, which means it’s tempered by that hemorrhoid, Steve Bartman, and a lifetime of other rash-inducing memories that the Cubs have scarred me with. Of course I also remember the 2006 St Louis Cardinals — a skid mark of a ball club that took their hairless 83 regular season wins all the way to the World Series title. Which is to say, hope will get you just so far. After that you can squeak by with just enough hitting and pitching to win 83 games, as long as you also have a shit load of luck. So rub it if you got one, my friend. No … I’m talkin’ about a rabbit’s foot, nimrod. Sheesh.