My New Home

Monday, October 06, 2008


My response to Aaron's comment is just a little too long to keep buried in the comments section. Here it is in its entirety:

No question, it was painful. But that's just the way the playoffs go. The horror of the last two years is comparable to playing Ninja Gaiden with no save feature. You put in an entire year of despair, longing, excitement, hoping, and World Series lust only to see it devolve right back to despair. There's no do-over. No memory card slot. You just have to go back to the beginning and start over.

But you have to think about it historically for some perspective. The 100 years of futility has been particularly barren of positivity because of the lack of any postseason appearances altogether. After 1945, they went almost 40 years before selling a single playoff ticket. Then things got relatively better, with waits of five years, nine years, five years, and four years in between October series. And in those modern iterations (1984, 1989, 1998, 2003, and 2007--the Cubs only previous entries into the Divisional playoff era) the Cubs won only one series (2003). But think of this: the Atlanta Braves made the postseason 14 consecutive times and won exactly one World Series. They were the best team of my generation, and they won 1 trophy.

So this year, the Cubs went for two in a row for the first time in a century. That, my friend, is where you need to be--every year, not just every century--to have a reasonable expectation of winning it all.

Because in the playoffs, the best team doesn't always win, and the best players are rarely the ones who come through when it matters most. Look at the White Sox when they won it all. Their biggest October home runs came from Geoff Blum and Scott Podsednik. I don't want those guys on my team.

The thing is, you don't get to choose when you do well and when you fail. Pitchers never decide to lose command. Hitters don't pick their slumps. Fielders make their errors in the subconscious and the pre-programmed firings of muscular impulse. One glitch, one tiny glitch, and any player on a baseball team can run a city's hopes into the ground. On the other, heretofore unseen shiny side of that coin, some pitchers manage to find their rhythm in big games. Some batters suddenly see the ball better in a big moment. Some fielders are fortunate enough to avoid the yips that turn their finely tuned machines into error-making machines. When that happens for your team in the playoffs, you win. You win big. You win it all.

Over the course of a long season, the averages even out. In the microcosm of a playoff series, they don't. Anything can happen. Anyone can win. Anyone can lose, be it in a 3-game sweep or a 7-game nail biter.

Certainly, though, there must be some formula, right? It can't be entirely unknowable, this magic potion called winning? Some factor or factors must surely add up to a recipe for winning in October, yes?

Yes. Generally, if you're relaxed, you play better. Generally, if you're nerves translate into tightness and apprehension, you fail. And generally, when you play in a place where panic sets in the moment anything momentous occurs, good or bad . . . well, when you play in a place like that, it's hard not to be too nervous.

Now, it used to be that Wrigley Field was that kind of place in August and September. Once you got close to the playoffs, panic would set in. Maybe that will become commonplace now. We're a long way from becoming the kind of place where winning in the playoffs is commonplace, but it's amazing what one win will do. I firmly believe that if the Cubs could have won just one game this year or the last, they would have kept winning. The nerves would have loosened. The burden would have lessened. Alfonso Soriano would have made decent contact.

But I guarantee, if they keep this team together, they are going to win a lot, and eventually . . . someday, we'll go all the way.

Now, I believe a change of opening song is in order.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

12 freaking 13 p.m.

I don't know how, but James Ingram put it best. Just . . . listen.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

11:48 p.m.

The Cubs just scored a run. 3-1. You get used to hell after awhile. I have my wail down. Teeth gnashing ain't that hard. All in all, it's manageable.

11:30 p.m.

My coffee table is made of better stuff than I would have guessed. I'm really surprised it didn't break.

11:24 p.m.

Pitching change. Two on. Two out. I'm dying. Soriano just flew out. Mike Fontenot, little Babe Ruth is my only hope.

And I'm tired of TBS showing Mr. GQ on the side of the field.

10:53 p.m.

It's 3-0 now. This is painful to watch. It's not by any means over. I just wish they'd get to playing like something resembling the team I had so much watching all spring and summer long.

I flipped over to SNL to see Queen Latifah making a surprise appearance as the moderator of the Biden/Palin debate. Yeah, it's great, Tina Fey looks like Sarah Palin. There were a couple funny moments, but the big downfall of SNL political sketches of the past 8 years or so has been that they just recreate entire debates or speeches and insert jokes. Seriously, I think that cold open was just as long as the actual VP debate. Way too long and not nearly funny enough.


10:23 p.m.

He did try to bunt, but he missed it. Now he's trying to get a hit. He's staying alive, fouling off a couple pitches. Now I'm hoping for any kind of infield single. Let's see . . .

Swing and a miss. Strike three. No runs.

In better news, Ohio State won.

10:21 p.m.

Crap. Now there are two outs. Runners on 1st and 3rd. The pitcher's up, but he should bunt. Heather disagrees.

10:18 p.m.

Lead-off double for the Cubs. Thank you, Geovany Soto. It's still 2-0 Dodgers, but at least they're still in the game. There's one out now, but with a runner at third DeRosa has a shot to do some good.

Let's see if he can do it.

9:27 p.m.

The Cubs just got raped. Third base umpire blew a call that couldn't have been easier to get right. As a result, it's 2-0 Dodgers. I am not happy, and this is not right.

Here We Go Again

9:02 p.m.

The game hasn't started yet. This is total garbage. A 9:07 start on a Saturday that featured just two games is unconscionable. Of course, this is the normal starting time for game in L.A.


And I don't know that it's a great sign that the beginning of the Cubs game is interrupting Titanic on TNT. Ugh.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

11:51 p.m.

They lost. It's hard to say they got screwed on a strike call when the score is 10-3, but they did. Classic case of an umpire just deciding it's too freaking late to be playing baseball and calling strike three on general principle, even when the pitch is obviously low.

But it probably wouldn't have mattered. They got their butts kicked. And this is the point where feeling good about the possibilities of a comeback goes against your basic human need for self-preservation. It just plain hurts to be a Cub fan. There's a very small concentric circle of hell reserved for people who aren't Cub fans who make fun of Cub fans. Cub fans are already in hell.


11:38 p.m.

They're switching pitchers right now, and I can't help but think of the worst-case scenario. It's always tough when you have the near comeback. When you get enough guys on base to start getting excited, but you don't finish the deal. You go from excited when the game starts, to massively disappointed, to hopeful, to resigned, to annoyed, to really angry, to ready for the game to be over, to mildly interested, to delusionally hopeful, to really interested, to excited, to really really excited, to positive of success, to devastated.

It's not pleasant. 

11:34 p.m.

Three straight hits to start the 9th. It's 10-3. For now, I'll take it.

11:30 p.m.

It's 11:30. The Cubs are down 10-1 with a runner on 2nd, no outs, bottom of the 9th inning. Sweet! Base hit Ramirez, runners at 1st and 3rd.

I know, it's a long way off. But I haven't given up hope.

This is why people call me "idiot" behind my back.

10:50 p.m.

The Cubs just scored, and this is ridiculous. Not that it's 7-1. No, the ridiculous thing is that it's the 7th inning and it's almost 11:00. I hate TBS, and I hate that MLB agreed to an exclusive rights package in the NLDS that allows only one station to broadcast FOUR SERIES. It is absolutely insane! Addison went to bed before the game started. That crap ain't right. But when you have three games going on every day and you decide that they can't overlap at all, you wind up with a downright ludicrous schedule. That decision itself is stupid. The games absolutely should overlap. You can't expect an audience to tune in for 10-11 hours, which is how long it takes to get all the games in. But within the constraints of their own idiocy, TBS starts the games too late. They all start at idiotic times at which no game ever starts during the regular season. 2:00, 5:30, 8:30 . . . morons. The people behind the playoff schedule deserve to die. They're worse than the network of subprime mortgage security lenders, dealers, and bailer-outers. 

Okay, maybe that's a bit extreme. But they're stupid, stupid people. 

It's 8-1, now, and the candidates just made their closing arguments (on my screen). Okay, now it's 9-1. Unbelievable. Ugh.

10:41 p.m.

The Cubs just gave up another run, but Kosuke Fukodome made an outstanding play to hold a runner at third and stop the bleeding at 7-0. The Cubs made it out of the inning only giving up one more run when it could have been much worse.

Well, it could have been worse. It's really bad. Ugh.

Palin just said doggone it.

10:14 p.m.

Palin just said "noo-kya-ler" about 100 times. I love her. We just might have another 4 years of "noo-kya-ler."

I think that's a song in Wicked.

Iran has gone noo-kya-ha-ler.
Mahmad Ahmadinejad wants to bomb your bod,
And lose you in a mushroom cloud.

'Cuz he's noo-kya-ler.
He knows about noo-kya-ha-ler.
He doesn't give three goat butts if you think he's nuts.
And to him it's just as well, 
'Cuz he wants to blow the entire free world to hell.

Cubs still losing.

10:10 p.m.

I just had a debate flashback . . . that lock box is starting to look real good right about now, don't you think?

10:08 p.m.

Manny Ramirez just caught a ball at the wall. Looked like an Edmonds homer. Ugh. One pitch later, Geo Soto is out on an infield grounder. This is rough.

They just showed a shot of the broadcast booth (to whom I'm not listening). Dick Stockton, I swear it, uses the same type of hair coloring they put on dead bodies in the morgue. Ick.

10:02 p.m.

The Cubs just turned a double play . . . on the infield, without making an error. Yaaay.

Palin just (again, I'm clearly behind) got in the first real good dig of the debate, using Biden's previous anti-Obama attacks against him. Yaaay. I still think she's losing this thing.

9:58 p.m.

They just keep replaying the homer. If replays counted, the Dodgers would be leading 156-0. Ugh.

Ron Santo was in the bathroom during the Manny homer. Thank goodness. It might have killed him.

9:57 p.m.

Manny just hit a bomb. 6-0 Dodgers. That's just ugh being ugh.

9:47 p.m.

Zambrano worked out of a tough jam, yet another one created by errors. He's really keeping his cool through this ridiculous defensive collapse. That's a big positive. He got a bum rap in the media about being unstable, but he really hasn't been that bad.

In the debate, nobody can remember anybody's name. Sarah Palin called her opponent Joe O'Biden.

The question was just asked if the candidates support same-sex benefits to couples. Can benefits have a gender? Are the benefits sexual in nature? Odd question. Odd wording, anyway.

Derrek Lee just blocked a throw to first with his bare hand to break up a double play. It probably should have been ruled interference and a double play, but still I was glad to see it. I wasn't so glad to see the next batter, De Rosa, ground into a double play to bring justice into the equation. Ugh.

9:41 p.m.

The Cubs just made defensively what I'm thinking is their first out in the infield. Yay. Ooh, they almost made two outs in a row, but nope. Now every infielder has made an error (even though the official scorer didn't give Theriot one when he fully deserved it). Ugh.

9:36 p.m.

Soriano popped out. Theriot grounded out. Ugh.

Rattled or no, Palin is a hottie. Tina Fey looks like her, but kind of in the same way Randy Quaid looks like Dennis Quaid.

9:31 p.m.

Zambrano worked through the top half of the 3rd pretty easily, a great sign that he hasn't become rattled even though the rest of his team did.

In the debate (at least the point of it I've reached) Sarah Palin has become rattled, too. Biden's pretty smooth, and he's attacking McCain, not Palin, which is a genius move. Palin seems unsettled by (and, dare I say, a bit attracted to?) Biden. Fascinating.

Zambrano just walked. He's a stud. Hopefully Soriano can catch Billingsley shaken and hit a homer off of him. I'm listening to the radio broadcast, which is a few seconds ahead of the satellite feed. I like that right now. I couldn't listen to the TBS guys. Dick Stockton is not a baseball announcer. I don't know why they've assigned him to the Cubs for the 2nd year in a row. Ugh.

Okay, Here We Go . . .

Alright, I'm watching the Cubs get pummeled. I'm also swapping during commercial breaks to watch the debate, which I have on pause. It's atrocious. Both of them. But I have so many cranky, annoyed observations to make, I needed a better outlet than to simply update my Facebook status every 15 seconds.

So I decided to do blogging the old fashioned way. You know, when you keep an actual log of events or impressions throughout a certain course of time. Here's my first one:

Both of these things are unwatchable. The Cubs just went down in order after committing three consecutive errors, one of which was not called an error. Ugh. 5-0.

The debate is crap. They aren't answering the questions. They aren't really talking about what they're planning on doing. They're both experts on what the other person can't do. Ugh.