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 order 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, wing nuts. Well, watchin’ Game 1 was about as much fun as gettin’ a colonoscopy from the Tasmanian Devil. Things didn’t go well from the start. The “start” being the stupid friggin’ Bud Selig All Star game rule which takes World Series home field advantage away from the team that actually earns it. So let’s see, Bud … Umm, a game that doesn’t count at all steers the direction of the most important series in the entire baseball season. Great friggin’ idea, ass hat. We shoulda been in Chicago last night for the opener. Period. Would it have made a difference? Well let me put it this way: If it doesn’t make any difference, why then are the best teams in every sport in the known universe (except for baseball) ALWAYS given home field/court/ice/pitch (whatever you wanna call it) advantage in a championship series? If it were up to me, I’d throw Selig in a poorly lit basement with Marsellus Wallace, the Gimp and a blow torch. Maybe a pair of pliers, too. That rule has gotta be flushed.
Anyway, let’s take that outta the equation. It still didn’t start out well. I mean it did, but then it didn’t. Lester threw 5 pitches and had 2 outs in the bottom of the first. Total cruise control. And then it started raining dirty diapers on us. When you’re the Chicago Cubs, Lester is on the mound, you’ve got two outs, and the bases are 100% Indian-free … you oughta get outta the inning unscathed. Not last night.
On top of that, Kluber Lang struck out almost everybody in the first 3 frames. What a fascist. Reminded me a lot of NLCS games 2 and 3 when the Cubs pretended they couldn’t hit. They did a convincing job, too. We snuck a few in last night, though, and had some excellent scoring opportunities, especially against Andrew Miller, that sky scraper they brought in for Kluber. Even Schwarber, who’d had 11 at bats all season before steppin’ into the batter’s box in the 2nd, smacked a double. On balance, though, we looked like Tim Tebow at the plate.
And … AND … the home plate ump had two strike zones — one for Kluber and another for Lester. It was as plain as the blank stare on Bud Selig’s face. Seriously, the quality of the umpiring in the playoffs — at least the games I’ve been watchin’ — is like it was made in Taiwan. Pathetic.
We got KO’d by a team that’s not nearly as good as we are. Personally, I don’t think that’s gonna happen again. We didn’t win 103 games by accident, my friend. As nice as Cleveland’s story is — gettin’ to the Series with so many injuries and all, and not even being in the thing for 68 years — I just don’t think it’s gonna hold up against the Cubs. We only have to do one thing — play like the 2016 Chicago Cubs instead of the Wexley School for Girls.
I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’ve been stranded in the middle of the baseball desert, dyin’ of a thirst that’s only gonna get quenched by drinkin’ the metaphorical blood of the Mets. It’s not just that they waterboarded us in the playoffs last year … it’s that they found a way to do that after we zeroed them in the season series, 7-zip. I practically went into some kinda painintheassic shock, which admittedly isn’t as bad as your hypovolemic or neurogenic or anaphylactic shocks, but it hurts like a beach ball sized hemorrhoid. Anyway, I’ve been impatiently waiting for this series cuz it’s our chance to reassert our obvious superiority over the flowing locks of Noah Syndergaard, the 57-inch waistline of Bartolo Colon and the rest of that group of Queens … I mean from Queens.
What happened last year just doesn’t add up for me, cuz theoretically the Cubbies got a lot better AFTER we swept the Mets during the regular season. We called up Schwarber, who basically was Babe Ruth reincarnated for the rest of the season, moved Castro to 2nd and added Russell, although he was injured for the post season. But Baez stepped into his slot so there were really no beats skipped there. Not enough to put us on a 4 game skid against that bunch of plankton anyway.
As David Schoenfield points out, it seems like we’ve got an edge this year, and I’m talkin’ Game of Thrones, swingin’ Valyrian steel sword edge, pal. Better pitching, better hitting, waaaaaay better record, more confidence, better uniforms, better city, better fans, better hot dogs, better pizza. Gettin’ carried away there, but you get my point. I’d like to say if the Cubs lose this series I’ll eat my truck, but I said that about The Donald becoming the nominee of the Republican party, and look how that turned out.
Game starts in a couple of hours. That oughta be enough time to pin the hell outta my Steven Matz doll.