Ah, free baseball, the extra innings fans get without having to pay for them. Well, not with their money anyway. With last night's loss dropping the Cubs to 1-5 in extras (and 2-8 in 1-run games), fans are finding that while the baseball itself might be free, the tax of sitting through it is anything but.
I'll give the Cubs this though: they sure are doing a great job of finding new and interesting ways to lose ballgames. While I realize full well that the karma from yesterday's piece about an ill-advised beanball (I suppose rather than linking to it I could have trusted you to simply go back to the homepage after reading this, but I thought it better not to leave that to chance) didn't impact this game, you have to admit that the Cubs losing on a walkoff HBP is some pretty ironic stuff.
At least the Blackhawks series-clinching win in Minnesota and the fact that the Cubs/Cards game was being broadcast on The U prevented this loss from being any more damaging than it already was in a vacuum. Well, the fact that this is exactly the sort of thing Cubs fans have come to expect from their team may have cushioned the blow too. Same old Cubes, amiright?
Much has already been written and discussed in terms of the Cubs' ticket prices and the overall high cost of attending games at Wrigley, so that's not a topic I'm going to get into here. And not only because they were playing in St. Louis last night, but because I want to look a little deeper into the costs of calling this team your favorite. After all, it sometimes feels as though being a Cubs fan is more detrimental to your health than a pack-a-day commitment to Marlboro Reds.
I enjoy reading the work of my esteemed colleague AJ Walsh because he gets into advanced metrics to look below the surface of the game and into the true performance of batters and pitchers. He wrote Monday that the Cubs basically need to score at least 5 runs in order to have a shot at winning the game (there I go linking to a very recent piece again), a tally I considered unlikely after Monday's explosion.
After all, as I have continued to state, the Cubs are like an offensive camel (social media experiment time: you think we could get #offensivecamel trending?). I don't mean that the team is some sort of uncultured dromedary, but rather that it can survive for long stretches without scoring many runs, allowing relatively infrequent outbursts to carry it through in the meantime.
I've got neither the time nor the desire to get into an actual cost analysis relative to the Cubs "free" baseball this year, but I'm going to take a stab at a guess. And I think the total will be higher than many of you might care to admit. By my estimation, the true cost of watching the Cubs play past the 9th is comprised of, but not limited to:
- lost sleep
- extra beer consumed
- emotional damages
- neglect of family and friends
- cost of energy (for TV, PC, etc)
- phone data charges
- property damage (which is likely magnified by the first couple points and includes burning shirseys in effigy)
So if we add all of those together and multiply by the total number of extra innings played, then divide by the number of Cubs wins in extras, we'll get our baseline. That must then be multiplied by the square root of π before being run through the proprietary Cubs Insider Cost of Extra Innings (CoEI) algorithm.
When all the chalk dust clears, we're left with roughly $1 billion *raises pinkie to mouth.*
Okay, you got me. There isn't really a proprietary CoEI algorithm, nor do I have concrete figures for the factors listed above. Disappointed? Probably not as much as you are that your team can't scratch out more runs in the late innings of close games. And while I can't put a real total on the cost, there's no doubt that we've all lost more than just a couple hours of time.
Regardless of low expectations and gleaming beacons of hope shining in the minors, even the sunniest Pollyanna watching the game through rose-colored glasses had to have felt a little glum after last night. At this point, I would prefer that the 10th inning refer only to the Cubs post-game show and not to those additional frames that serve little other purpose than to shave time and happiness from my life.
Filed under: Uncategorized