Sitting On The Precipice
I write this with first pitch in about eight minutes on what I’m told is the biggest series for the Cubs in seven years. Hell, Anthony Rizzo even got a front page spread in the Tribune today, so it must be something. And on paper, you can’t argue with that. They’re playing the team right in front of them for four games. They could catch them this week, or even with a sweep by Thursday. In reality, that’s supposed to feel charged.
So why doesn’t it feel that way?
Probably because the Cubs don’t have anything to lose here. Unless they lose the next seven to the Pirates and Cardinals, they’re not going to be in any danger of missing out on the coin flip game. And even that would involve either the Giants or Nationals getting their act together, and neither have proven they can go three or four games without tripping on their own dick. What are we fearing? The Cubs split or lose three of four and then have to go back to Pittsburgh October 7th? Oh heaven for fend.
And what do they have to gain, really? An 82nd home game on the 7th? I guess that would be cool, but as we know home field advantage doesn’t really mean anything in baseball. Sure, the sight of everyone standing for everyone of Arrieta’s 12 Ks that night would be cool, but it doesn’t actually make a difference on the field. It feels like we’re scraping here.
And it certainly doesn’t act as much of a preview for what would come in the wild card game. Any baseball game could go any number of ways, so “planting a seed” over the next seven games with the Pirates (or the three with the Cardinals I suppose) isn’t really something that’s going to happen. It’ll just breed more familiarity I guess.
Still, I guess there’s a buzz because these teams were in the wilderness for so long, and the NL Central has become so freakish this season. At the end of the day, it’s four games between two of the four best teams in baseball, at least record-wise. The baseball world takes notice when these things happen in September. These two also look poised to do this every September for a while, so in that sense it does feel like we’re at the beginning of something.
But I’m not bouncing off the walls here. I’m not pacing. I’m not dreading every pitch and just waiting for the killer Aramis homer in the 7th inning (you know it’s coming). It’s Baseball First World Problems, I know. I guess that’s the true joy of this Cubs season. They’ve taken away any of the stress (though a lot of us weren’t saying that when they got swept by the Phillies were we?)
But here it is, and if you feel like reading all about it, you can get this week’s Ivy Drip to set it all up for you.