My father attended one of the 1945 World Series games in which the Cubs played at Wrigley Field. He was 10 years old at the time. Sadly for him, he hasn't been to another one but through it all, he remains a Cubs fan.
After today's opening day bullpen debacle, he called me to vent and to tell me to write a blog post about it. "The Cubs are going to lose 100 games!" he shouted to start the conversation. "Are you allowed to write about this kind of thing?" he asked. I think so.
"Did you hear what happened in the eighth inning today?" He hollered at me over the phone. My father is somewhat famous for hollering.
"As a matter of fact I did," I responded. It so happened that I drove to an appointment at about 3 pm just as Kerry Wood was walking in the Washington Nationals' first run and Keith Moreland reported on the radio thereafter that he was sure Wood, "felt bad about it."
My father was incredulous. "Kerry Wood should be fired immediately. If these guys want to make a statement and show the fans that they care about building a winner, why wouldn't you fire a guy who just proved that he is an incompetent." He continued, "he walked four guys in a row." (He doesn't always get the facts exactly right, but the point is made.)
I wanted to tell my father to calm down, but he was just getting started. His rant came on the tail end of a two and a half day drive home from Miami and he had listened to the Cubs game from first pitch to last on the car radio. That kind of confined despair is enough to make anyone crazy. He was rolling.
"How can you keep a guy on your team who can't throw strikes," he continued. "I'll bet if Zambrano had been the starter and pitched as well as Dempster, there would have been mayhem in the locker room after the game." Maybe so. And then, "If I was Dempster, I'd make sure that Wood knew I wasn't very happy."
(Chicago Tribune) At least Dempster looked good.
He also teed up Keith Moreland - "And then Keith Moreland said Kerry Wood probably feels bad. You're darn right he should feel bad and why won't Moreland criticize the guy? Typical Cubs."
"Kerry Wood has got to be fired (I love how he says fired instead of cut - old school businessman-speak). Today. They (Theo and the boys) have no credibility if they keep him around."
The subject then turned to David DeJesus. "And then in the ninth inning, this guy in right field botches a fly ball to give them a man on second." I asked my father if he dropped the ball. "No, he didn't drop it, he ran to the wall and the ball bounced away from him. Why is he playing right field if he doesn't understand how the wall in Wrigley Field works?"
"It's only his first game out there," I suggested. Now it was Moreland's turn again, "And Moreland said, "DeJesus made a mistake out there." That didn't help the long-suffering 1952 Senn High School graduate. "You're damn right Einstein, he made a mistake. Give me a break and make a play."
(Chicago Tribune) -- Whoops!
And then there's Marmol. "When Marmol came in I had to pull the car over because I started to feel ill and I didn't want to throw up in front of your mother." I had to ask, "Did Moreland say anything about him when he gave up the winning run" on a single to Ian Desmond. "Yeah, Moreland said, 'his slider didn't slide.'" That went over well - I'll leave out the profanity.
I've been fortunate to never consider myself a "die-hard" fan of any team in Chicago (the closest would be the Blackhawks), but for my father, I don't know how he is going to survive this season. He called today's lineup, "The worst starting lineup I've ever seen for the Cubs in my entire life." Yeesh, that's bad and I remember the Mick Kelleher and Carmen Fanzone eras.
I know it's only the first game, but maybe for my father and other 70-something Cub fans, Theo Epstein and his crew can advance their timeline a bit and think about winning something sooner rather than later. In the meantime, Hey Theo - Can you at least do me a solid for my old man and fire Kerry Wood?
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