Hey there, ice chips. How ’bout those friggin’ Cubs, huh?! I gotta tell ya, I luuuuuuvvvvv flyin’ the playoff W. I’d say it makes me feel like I’m on top of the world but that’s kinda stupid. I mean think about it. First — SPOILER ALERT — there’s no Santa Claus up there and second, it’s butt ass cold. It’d be a lot more accurate to say I’m feelin’ like I’m sittin’ on a clothing-optional beach in Bora Bora, the missus has exercised her option, and is feedin’ me pork sliders while I sip on a frosty Old Style. Yeah, that about captures it. Thank you for that, Cubbies.
Anyway, as the Central Division Champs are makin’ their way to the city of whackadoos for Game 3 against the Giants, I thought it might be a good time to reflect on the meaning of the oldest phrase in baseball: Keep your eye on the friggin’ ball.
Lemme start by sayin’ that anyone who pays attention to my microscopic corner of the Cubs universe knows that I live and die with them. If that’s you, 1) thank you for payin’ attention and 2) you know that my 55 seasons have seen a whole lot more dyin’ than livin’. That’s given me a certain … let’s say … perspective. I tend to call it like I see it, rather than wearin’ Cubbie blue shaded glasses. Sometimes the Schlombowski forecast is “cloudy with a chance of losing.” Hey, I don’t make the weather, pal, I just report it.
Don’t get me wrong. I not only think the Cubs are in the driver’s seat right now, I think the Giants have been stuffed into the trunk and are about to get dumped on the side of a dark, winding road out in the middle of the redwoods.
IF they keep their eye on the ball, that is.
And I don’t mean pickin’ up the rotation on Bumgarner’s cheese and watchin’ it all the way to the plate. What I mean is that bein’ up 2-0 to the Giants, even in a best-of-5 series, isn’t a Labron James better-get-the-hell-outta-my-way slam dunk, unless we do one thing: stay focused on the ball that matters — winnin’ the World Series. To me, that mean’s not actin’ like we just won the friggin’ lottery cuz the first two games went our way, or cuz our pitchers have turned into Babe Ruth, or cuz Wood just penned his name in the record books. The Cubs gotta go about their business like they’re mailmen or something. You know … that whole “neither rain, nor sleet, nor dark of night” thing. Only with us it’s “Neither Mad-Bum, nor Posey, nor wicked line drives off our pitchers will keep us from our appointed victory over the Halloween-colored San Francisco Giants.” Do I think that’s gonna happen? You bet your sweet ivy-covered ass I do. Do I think it’s gonna be easy? Read on, my friend:
Did you hear that, Cubs fans? That heavy metallic clunk was the last piece of the championship puzzle being lowered into position — the 99.999% pure steel arm of Aroldis Chapman. The first thing I did when I heard the news was call my mother. I wanted to find out how old I was the last time I wet my pants. Yeah … I’m jacked … sorta … and I think this is a kind of a good move. Why? Cuz it’s about FRIGGIN’ time that Binny’s Beverage Depot had an actual reason to be the official champagne supplier of the Chicago Cubs.
You gotta admit, the Cubs appear to be teeterin’ on the edge of a Championship. We’ve led or been tied for the best record in baseball the entire season. Even without Schwarber, and with various injuries plaguing a variety of players, not to mention our coin-toss bullpen, the Cubs are still wearin’ the yellow jersey as the race to the World Series is comin’ outta the back stretch. (How’s that for mixin’ metaphors?! That’s like a metaphor salad, my friend.) Adding Chapman and movin’ Rondon to a set-up position means that Theo is pretty serious about roastin’ some billy goat in October.
Naturally, there’s a Mount Everest sized pile of second guessing goin’ on — everything from Chapman’s domestic violence history to what the Cubbies gave up to get the Usane Bolt of pitchers.
Hey there, chip shots. So I’m sittin’ here watchin’ the Cubs/Braves game, thinkin’ they’re about to snatch victory from Atlanta’s jaws of defeat, when Hector Rondon comes in to close things out. And guess what … instead of doin’ that, he applies his human pink pearl effect on the game, erasing our lead in true Carlos Marmolian fashion by servin’ a meatball to Markakis. Ka-boom! The lead engineered by our bats in the 8th wiped off the scoreboard with one crappy pitch.
We’ve had a lotta closers like that in the last dozen years, and from what I could tell, the only reason any of ’em had the job title “closer” is cuz every friggin’ time they’d set foot on the bump, we all had to close our eyes so as not to experience a coronary. Most of ’em couldn’t close an automatic garage door. And now … really, Theo … are these the bulls you want in the pen? I’m all for givin’ guys a chance, but the season’s half over. Starters are tired, so the pen has got to take on a bigger roll. Given that reality, is what we’ve been watchin’ lately sort of a front row seat to what the ass end of the season is gonna look like? Cuz if it is, I’m gonna have to start drinkin’ something a lot stronger than Old Style.
And, hey … I don’t mean to single out Hector. His performance tonight is simply indicative of the way the entire pen has been playin’. I’m not the only one that thinks so, either. It’s definitely the weak link on an otherwise pretty stellar ball club, which is why you hear me wonderin’ if we have a firm grasp on the job descriptions of reliever, set up man, or closer. I know this: it doesn’t include servin’ up yard shots. Or walkin’ guys either. To be fair, Rondon has generally played well this season, but you could say that about the Golden State Warriors, too, and look what happened to them. You gotta do the job every damn time you’re in the game. Do you have to be perfect? No. But bein’ more like Mariano Rivera and less like a friggin’ launching pad is something to shoot for. Just living up to our offense would be a really nice gesture. That way, when they get us a lead in a close game, we can actually hang on to it; somethin’ we’ve not been so good at over the past couple of weeks.
By the way, the game is over. The W was in our grasp, but we took the L instead. Crap.