The transition from off-season to spring training to regular season is always kind of awkward. Some years you come into the season overamped. Some seasons you're too distracted by the NCAA tournament or perhaps the road to the Kentucky Derby or the upcoming Masters. You overreact to the first few games. Or you say to yourself "Ahh, I'll start caring in a couple of weeks..." And then there's that moment when you hit your groove and are all "Hot damn! It's baseball season!"
I got Lucky. Mine happened on the second night of the baseball season. ( I never, ever consider the Sunday made for ESPN game an opener of anything.)
Yu Darvish took the mound against the hapless Astros Tuesday night when the Cubs and the Sox both had the night off. So did the Blackhawks and even though the Bulls had a game against the Washington Wizards, they took the night off too. (If I bloggged on the Bulls, I'd be the angriest person in Chicago. But I digress.) There was a spotlight needing a star to enter it's cone of light. And Darvish did just that.
Most of my Twitter baseball clan started chirping about it in the 6th inning. Although there were some who after 2 or 3 innings were saying "Darvish could have a special night"... Although those were probably aimed at how awful the Astros are. But soon after my local friends started talking about it the national baseball guys started piping in. Suddenly a tweet from Tom Loxas was followed by a tweet from Jeff Passan from Yahoo sports, an observation from one of my drinking buddies was right next to Joe a comment from Joe Sheehan. It was like we were all in one big bar watching this pitcher with just sick SICK stuff slice through this awful team. Vines were being made of Darvish's breaking ball ( Vine is a Twitter App that allows you to make 6 second movies and loop them over and over...) Debates were being had on the worst team to get perfected ( The 2012 Astros by Matt Cain was my entry. Toronto by Len Barker grabbed some votes....) facts were pouring out of nowhere. Did you know the 2004 braves were the team with the best record to get perfected, I didn't.And of course there were the '56 Dodgers that got perfected in the World Series by Don Larsen
There was a slew of bad puns. "Yu the man." "Oh no Yu didn't." But what made this so much more palatable was that every tweet was being driven by what was happening on the field. It was a reaction to what we were all watching and not just trying your usual look at me I'm a jokester on twitter ( of which I'm just as guilty as anyone of being.)
It seemed everyone sent a " Yu gotta be kidding me" when former Cub Marwin Gonzalez broke up the bid with a shot to center. Tyler Kepner of the New York Times wrapped it up perfectly when he pointed out that it's twice as rare to see a perfect game broken up by the 27th out as it was to see a perfect game "So there's that..." as he concluded. I shared some memories about Chuck Rainey's bid being broken up by Eddie Milner... ( I remember being pissed that in the USA Today the next day featured Milner, who just had a hit and Rainy, who was perfect for 8 2/3rds was nowhere to be seen. Still kind of grates...). But everyone I tweeted with had a great experience.
And baseball was back. And all was right with the world.
Things and Things.
So when I claim in "Things to look for" that we should watch the Bullpen and the bullpen blows up like Paula Dean, that counts as getting it right.......right?
I'm not defending Marmol. he's been awful. But I can't help but have some empathy for the guy. He was once insanely good. Baseball record good. Now he sucks. that's hard. Also, Lou Pinella and Mike Quade pitched him like 837 times and had him warm up an additional 3000 times in their four years with him. Throw in the fact that the Cubs almost traded him and there were rumors that he was going to be traded and now he's on a team where he's not really wanted and universally hated. Life has to kinda suck right.....?
Speaking of Twitter, if you're not following @cubsden when Arguello is at a Kane County Cougar game, you're missing some of the finer things life has to offer.
Let's just say I know the day baseball arrived for John Arguello too.
And I'll wonder if you knew, when I got Blue, and things got weird, And I started growing Josh Riddick's beard.
So which happens first, Chris Rusin makes a start for the Cubs or Brent Lillibridge gets released or sent down? Might want to throw Ryan Sweeney getting called up into that equation too.
This Saturday night wrap, Sunday column, Sunday wrap thing is gonna kill me.
By the way, I think I'm gonna give the Sunday wraps a different skin. Kind of like how the Sox are wear a special Sunday uniform. Anyway, check this space Sunday Evening and tell me if you like it or not.
In honor of the Stones coming to the UC, Beggars Banquet is today's Sunday album. "No Expectations" might be a song I play regularly through this Cubs season...