I suppose it will be another day I look back on when the plan works out and laugh. Or yet another one on the pile that we laugh about in the bar when we try and figure out why it is we still bother. But yep, I sat through 18 innings of scoreless Cubs baseball yesterday. At least I wasn’t there, freezing my ass off along with Yankees fans mocking the Cubs mercilessly. What would have been my defense?
18 innings. You joke about it happening before the double header, but you never think it will actually happen. You joke about it after the first game, more to ease your now real fear that it could actually happen. And then you get to about the 4th inning of the second game, and you know there isn’t any other conclusion coming. They’re not going to score today. Today, which they played two games. They’re just not.
But you keep watching, because obviously you want to be wrong and you don’t need another moment of incompetence to add to your Cubs files that stick out more than the thousands and thousands of others that have just faded into the fabric. And then every situation with runners on leads to Darwin Barney coming to the plate, and we all know where that ends. I think The Purple Evolutionist batted eight times last night. That’s what it felt like. MLB instituted some rule for just this one game that when the Cubs got runners into scoring position, Barney had to bat. I’m sure of it.
That’s not to demonize Darwin, because he is what he is. It’s not like I expected him to belt a gapper. I knew the pop outs were coming. And yet your shoulder still sink when you see them.
I know what the real components are. The Cubs don’t walk enough, and they don’t have enough good hitters, meaning they have to string together three or four singles or a couple of doubles to score, and they don’t have enough in the lineup to do that. I know that their manager took the bat out of the hands of one of their few capable power hitters by having him bunt, which I thought would have been No-No #1 for this regime. Let’s review that: The Cubs had Welington Castillo (he of the game-winning HR off Trevor Rosenthal last Friday, mind) bunt two runners over for Ryan Kalish and Barney, who have a combined batting-average of .004 or whatever.
But of course, when something like this happens yet again to the Cubs it’s not about what actually made it up. That’s too simple. We know they’re bad and far away. It’s how they’re bad. It’s what it entails. But in the end, the Cubs’ bad and incompetent isn’t any different than any other team’s bad and incompetent. This is just what bad baseball looks like. It’s what a 90-loss team looks like, no matter their colors. I don’t know why I or any other Cubs fan feels a need to glorify it or give it meaning. It’s just bad. 18 innings of bad. No more, no less.
But it didn’t feel like that yesterday.