That's how it's supposed to look. Packed house. National TV. Best team in the league in the other dugout. Cubs winning the game. Decidedly. Yes we can zoom out and see where the Cardinals are in the standings, as an organization and where the Cubs are and realize that there's still lots of work to be done. But if you needed a carrot, or a postcard from the future to put on the wall, last night's game was it. There was a time not too long ago when the Cubs had national relevance. Right now it's only as a ship to be pillaged and bartered with if you believe last night's telecast. But if tonight's game on ESPN matches that of last night's game on FOX, it will start to feel like 6 years ago when the Cubs were the darlings of the NL.
Dale Sveum realized how big last night's game was. He managed it like it was a playoff game. Perhaps it was. While I've had my issues with the Cubs manager this year I will give him this, his team plays hard consistently. And he never gets too mad or too happy. Some see that as being emotionless. or Dull. But I sensed a little urgency from #4 last night. Of course, Putting Borbon in right field for defensive purposes only to have the first ball hit to him get dropped doesn't make you look that great, but the white flag went up all the same.
Part of what makes last night's game was the opponent. Chances are if it was any other team except the Cardinals ( possibly the Brewers) that game is played before 30,000 people. Maybe. But those 200 Cars from St.Louis carried a good 5 to 6 thousand Red Bird fans ( perhaps they were hauled in 18,wheeler cargo shells.) and they definitely added to the atmosphere. But it was the fact that it was first place team and considered the best team in the NL that got my attention. And with Cubs fans focus on the entire rebuild of an organization, last night's opponent is the standard for which all comparisons are drawn. You don't think watching Rosenthal, Martinez, Maness and Joe kelly, all home grown arms, come running out of that bullpen wasn't part of the reason Zastryzny, Hanneman, Skulina, Masek and Frazier were drafted right after Bryant? Plus the Cardinals are the living example of Theo's proclamation that you just need to consistently get in the playoffs because anything can happen. Those 2006 Cardinals were the worst team to ever win the World series. Of that I have no doubt. They're followed very closely by the 2011 Cardinals. Ron Washington what are you do.......But the point is they won the World series.
I ranted last night about the broadcast. And how they wouldn't shut up about the trade rumors. I was trying to watch a ball game. In front of a packed house. Against the best team in the NL. That the Cubs won. Decidedly. And FOX refused to get out of my way. And we're reminded time and time again by Sports Radio and write-by-numbers columnists about how far the Cubs are and what dates we should be circling...2015...2017....blah blah blah. And I will say it one more time. Seeing the big picture doesn't mean you're married to it. You don't have to see everything through the big picture lense. In fact, being aware of the long term plans means you get to enjoy the short term fodder unconditionally. Soriano hit a double and a homer to beat the Cardinals. Garza fought through 10 hits to keep the best offense in baseball at bay. Kevin Gregg fought through some adversity to get the save. Trade value be damned. They were Cubs on July 13th, 2013. And they played their asses off.
Beautiful Chicago night. Packed Wrigley Field. National TV. First place team in the other dugout. Cubs win. Decidedly.
That's what it looks like. That's how it should be.
LITTLE BIT OF THIS. LITTLE BIT OF THAT.
Good for you Timmy Smoke.
Baseball in the Social media age is a fascinating thing. Checking my timeline one last time before going to Bed I saw the hype. "Timmeh through 7" "Lincecum's arm is going to fall off....." "Tim Tim through 8". Naturally I click over to my At-Bat App and see the Padres are coming to bat. Watched the 9th on my phone. I'd like to think that Dick Enberg went silent to let the last out play in front of our eyes uninterrupted. But listening to the call, I think Enberg just got lost. No matter, it was wonderful to watch.
Let me at least throw this out there for all the armchair GM's. Garza and the Cubs DID discuss a contract extension. This was quickly poo-pooed by the beat guys with Gordon Wittenmeyer channeling his inner Bronson with the words "No Dice". Is it at least POSSIBLE, that the Cubs found out what the demands were, figured that they could live with those terms and said. "Okay, if we don't get A, B, and C we'll simply sign him after the trade deadline passes....". By all accounts the Cubs demands are high. Just wondering.
Of course Buster Olney reports that the Cubs are "down the road with at least two teams".
But it's a long way off to Holliday road!
With very little baseball this week and the biogenesis suspensions possibly coming this week, this will test the mettle of baseball fans.
Couldn't be a better time for a Pearl Jam show at Wrigley.
By the way, Theo if you're reading this ( I like to think Theo reads our Blog. Keeps my head in the game....) can you tell your good friend Eddie that the best Pearl Jam shows I've seen and heard open with "Release" and close with "Yellow Ledbetter". The 20 + in between songs are all his to choose of course, but Relase for the opener and/or Yellow Ledbetter to close. Thanks.
Oh and Jacoby Elsbury.....you know what? We'll discus him in the offseason.
Really amazed how much Luis Valbuena has grown on me.
I feel I owe it to a certain Cub fan to promote his new movie "Dealin with Idiots" which is currently playing at the wonderful Music Box theater. The movie features Bob Odenkirk, Jami Gertz and Timothy Olyphant whose comedic chops are incredibly underrated. It's about youth baseball, I'm sure it's a scream, and if you have a chance please check it out.
Jeff is currently working on a second screenplay called "Dealing with Idiots 2" which is about a Cubs fan who goes to war with a certain over the top blogger. If you need help with that screenplay Jeff, I got some ideas.....
Love ya Garlin.
"Meet the Beatles" is my Sunday listening. And since I might be on the treadmill a little later, I might substitute some Smithereens covers of that first album to kick up the pace.