Refusing to be denied, I see where the Giants have come up with a trophy of their own as a substitute for the one the Cubs snatched outta their halloween-colored hands in the playoffs last year. It’s not somethin’ I’d wanna put in my trophy case … But who am I to judge?
There’s a major league amount of Freud in the form the trophy takes, though — a golden urinal. I mean, one of the biggest juicers of all time, Barry Bonds — former Giants outfielder and home run cheat — tested positive for 3 kinds of steroids … not to mention amphetamines, the Incredible Hulk and two rottweilers. That’s what I heard, anyway, and all of it was found in his urine.
By the way, how’d you like to have the job of playin’ Sherlock Holmes with people’s wiz? In fact, who does want that job? Maybe it’s some kinda fetish thing — like wearin’ women’s underwear. (Calm down, Cardinals fans. I know you get all steamy when someone mentions that.)
Anyway, havin’ a urinal as the Giants’ trophy is priceless. And as I’m sure every Dodgers fan that ever sucked in a lung full of that brown crap Los Angeles calls “air” would agree, it’s perfect for the Giants.
You know, Pete Rose and I aren’t exactly on each other’s Christmas card lists. But tonight, the former Cincinnati gambler took the reason the Giants choked on a 3-run, 9th inning lead, and folded, wrapped and very neatly packaged it into a single word: “Stinko.”
“That was a stinko bullpen, man.” said Rose. Then he went on to paint the picture — much to my personal delight — of an on-field disaster that rivaled anything that Hollywood special effects wizards coulda dreamed up. “Five pitchers give up 3 runs before they get an out in the inning? … They didn’t deserve to win. That’s the worse collapse I’ve seen in a long time for a bullpen playin’ for what they were playin’ for.” Pete is no George Will, but those words … those were pure Shakespeare, baby.
“Idiotic” is another word that comes to mind. I came up with that one on my own, though. But at least I’ll combine it with “thank you” and a big wet kiss for Bruce Bochy for takin’ Moore outta the game when he did. Perhaps the stupidest move I’ve seen by a manager since Dusty Baker came to work at Clark and Addison. Moore had 10 K’s and had surrendered just 2 hits. And you take him out?! With the Giants’ bullpen? Wow. Bochy and Pete Carroll gotta be in the same knitting circle.
Full disclosure: I had to employ the “don’t watch cuz you’re jinxin’ the team” strategy during the last half of the game. I haven’t had to use that one all season, which may explain why it worked; it wasn’t expected. Anyway, tonight around the 5th, it became obvious that if I kept watchin’ we were gonna lose for sure, but if I turned the TV off, the Cubs had a chance. Yeah, it was a sacrifice, but that’s part of baseball. The missus headed upstairs and started yellin’ the blow-by-blow down the stairs, and in between askin’ me, “Don’t you wanna turn it on? They’re doin’ good.” (One of the million reasons why she winds my watch.) I resisted.
Deep down inside, where the corndogs and brats are processed, I know my watchin’ probably has nothin’ to do with whether the Cubs win or lose. It’s just a superstition thing. Like black cats and goats and Steve Bartmans. They’re like Justin Beeber fans — they can’t be explained with logic.
Whatever it was — me, or the Cubs finally startin’ to play like the Cubs — our visiting grays are gettin’ a champagne wash cycle tonight. And so is everyone in Wrigleyville. That doesn’t stinko.
Holy meat balls, that was some friggin’ game last night, wasn’t it?! Am I happy we came up short? No, I am not. Was it a friggin’ epic battle royal cage match fought by two teams refusing to yield to the bloody gloves of the other? In spades, my friend. In spades.
It was Godzilla vs King Kong; the Federation vs the Clingons; the Sharks vs the Jets (no, that ain’t hockey vs football); Neo vs Agent Smith; the Crows vs the Wildlings. You know that scene in Gangs of New York where the Natives and the Dead Rabbits have it out in the square? Last night’s game was like that, my friend. EPIC! It reminded me of the Thrilla in Manilla. Howard Cosell’s grating New York cadence was in the back of my head, deliverin’ the blow-by-blow. Only insteada “Frasier goes down! Frasier goes down! Frasier goes down!” it was “Bryant has tied the game! Bryant has tied the game! Bryant has tied the game!” That was electrifying. No matter what happens through the rest of the playoffs, you’re not gonna see a better game than that.
When Arrieta went yard, I went in my pants. No, not really, but holy crap! I usually need an elevator to get that far off the ground. Whatever Maddon has been feedin’ our staff, it’d be nice if he started givin’ it to some of the rest of the guys. Bryant has obviously discovered where he’s hidin’ the magic dust. But Rizzo? Keee-ryste … he looks like me at the plate. The offensive prowess of our Murderer’s Row pitching staff is probably somethin’ we should not totally rely on if we expect to beat theses yayhoos.
Kudos to Montgomery, last night, too. He gave it up in the end, but I think he did a lot more than anyone expected, including Maddon. And speakin’ of Joe, who is a certified, Grade-A, Wagu genius, I can’t say I thought bringin’ in Chapman when he did was his most Einstein-ish move of the season. What do I know, right? But I read it like a sign of desperation; like we couldn’t play regular and still win. We had to bring the Saturn V rocket arm in early. And that’s what the Giants thought. They smelled blood in the water, started circling and then takin’ chunks outta Chapman’s hide. Hindsight. I know. But I’m just sayin’.
So now Bochy is 10-0 in elimination games. Ten and oh! Unreal. Someone has gotta put an end to that. Personally, I’d like it to be John Lackey and the re-ignited bats of the best offense in baseball. And, if it’s not askin’ too much, it’d be nice if the game is more like we’re playin’ Cincinnati, so when we have a 10 run lead by the 5th, I can relax and enjoy myself a little insteada bitin’ my fingernails down to the second knuckle. Go Cubs!
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:
There were 2,430 games played this season, and it took the very last one for the Giants to manufacture a chance at the Post Season. How you interpret that can either give you hives or a grin the size of Prince Fielder’s butt.
It’s hard to figure a team like San Francisco. They’ve got a good staff, a line up of veterans, a damn good manager in Bruce Bochy, and a ton of experience with the post season in the last decade. A little too much. Like there should be a special episode of Hoarders about the Giants. And yet they still sucked like Linda Lovelace with a Dyson since the All Star break.
This is also an even year, which holds sway over the superstitious. Not that Cubs fans are immune to that condition. Two words: Billy Goat. Me, personally? I never, ever change my underwear in the middle of a winning streak. Needless to say, I got a little crispy now and then this season. Totally worth it, though. Anyway, Giants fans believe that even numbered years belong to their team — that they own ’em. And I gotta tell you … it would give me a world of satisfaction for the Cubs to prove what a Mount Everest-sized pile of crap that is.
The fact that the Giants made it to the Wild Card game at all, in spite of playin’ the second half of the season like the fog had rolled all the way into their clubhouse, says a whole lot about them, none of which I like very much. But I think an even numbered year has about as much to do with the Giants makin’ the playoffs as the color red does.
And that’s the thing. If they didn’t get in because of some voodoo, witchcraft, hocus pocus BS, then what’s the reason? As much as the legacy of Barry Bonds still sandpapers my backside, I gotta hand it to the Giants; they’re a grizzled lineup that plays team ball, doesn’t give up, and somehow finds a way to survive when they’re nose-to-nose with the grim reaper. Those are admirable qualities in a ball club, no question, and even though the words are gonna taste like the south end of a sick rhino, I gotta say that the Giants are probably for real and, unlike the geeked-out, cucumber mist bottled water-drinkin’ fans they got, they’re probably not big believers in the make-me-laugh, even-numbered-year thing.
Full disclosure: I was pullin’ for the Mets last night. And I gotta tell ya, after what happened last year, that felt a whole lot like havin’ a heart transplant without anesthesia. I just figured the Cubs would have an easier time with them than San Francisco, and that they’d do the same thing that the Giants did — chip away at the Mets’ pen.
The Cubs are in San Francisco for the start of a 3 game series with the halloweenies. Given that english is now a second language in California, this probably won’t be necessary, but I’d like to point out right now that Arrieta is Spanish for “no hitter.”
San Francisco’s AT&T ball park — home of the Giants — is where Mr Arrieta will be notching his 8th win tonight. I hate to admit this, but I have a soft spot for the Orange and Black. It’s cuz they so dutifully rolled over for our broom last August, almost single-handedly ensuring the Cubs’ spot in the playoffs. Mind you, this soft spot is very tiny … and it’s not located in my heart, like most soft spots. It can be found on the caboose of my digestive tract, my friend, which always makes me think about Barry Bonds, and is why I’ll never forget who’s soft spot it is.
Excuse me while I meander back over to my original subject — AT&T ball park. I’ve been there a dozen times or so over the years. Meh. You’ll hear people from the Bay Area talkin’ about it like it’s a friggin’ holy shrine to baseball, cuz it supposedly has characteristics of the pre-Astrodome era. Personally, I’d say that if Wrigley is the Friendly Confines, then AT&T is the Hair Salon. It’s all a little to polished and schmick — not that it doesn’t get properly trashed during a game — but it’s missing whatever it is that Wrigley and Fenway have that make you feel like you’ve gone back far enough in time that baseball is still a game. Before free agency. Before ball girls and designated hitters. Before $14 beers, and idiotic mascots, and obnoxious music blarin’ so loud it almost breaks my ear drums. And certainly before Rob Womanfred’s nad-clipping 2nd base slide rule. AT&T sits squarely in the middle of “right now.” It’s a ball park. Nothin’ more, nothin’ less. Where it’s got it over Wrigley, though — and you have no idea how nasty these words taste in my mouth — is the 3 World Series Championships that have been hosted there. Credit where credit is due, pal. Still, the steroid inflated cheat, Barry Bonds played there, which in my mind sorta cancels that out.
Hey there, ring tones. I had to go to San Francisco the other day, which was pretty much a series of kidney stone moments for me, only with extra large, economy-size beach balls instead of those little tiny rock doo-dads. It was a lot like being in Road Warrior, if you know what I mean. I’ll spare you the play-by-play, except for the biggest get-me-the-hell-outta-here moment, which was me trying to talk to a live human at AT&T. Not the ball park, the phone company.
I bring this up for one reason: to help put the frustrations of being a Cubs fan into perspective. It looks a whole lot different for the Cubs this year, I grant you that. But let’s just say something weird happens, like the even numbered year thing the Giants got going, or Obama does one of his executive orders mandating the White Sox as World Series champs. (Technically, I guess that wouldn’t be considered weird for the guy.) So the curse continues, right? Well I’ll tell you one thing, pal, that damn curse is nothing compared to working your way through that friggin’ pain-in-the-ass AT&T computer voice thingy.
Hey there snowballs, Joe Schlombowski here, with another “general manager” off season tip.
So, I’m thinking the Giants oughta sign Cheech & Chong. I mean, if an itty-bitty bag of weed can turn Lincecum into a Nolan Ryan/Louis Tiant hybrid … imagine, just imagine what those two could do. Friggin’ lights out, that’s what.
Besides, I think half the San Francisco population has a prescription for medical marijuana, so it’s a natural fit. And think of the cross promotion possibilities with fast food joints. You could have Munchies Night, or Jack in the Bong Night … stuff like that. I’m tellin’ you that ballpark would be packed. Nobody would care about the outcome, but it would be packed.