Cubs Season Well Past the Brink
To say the least, I'm not particularly motivated these days to write about the Cubs. The road trip disaster and the reality of the standings coupled with the anemic offense has pretty much put an end to the season. Never say never and all and Carlos Zambrano will be back this week, but I'm expecting nothing more than the same frustrating Cubs team the rest of the way. At 62-60, I figure 90 wins gets them in the picture and that means a 28-12 run over their last 40 and that still might not be enough for the wild card or the division. So as the season winds down, I'll probably be talking a lot about the new ownership and 2010 and the Chicago Bears. Live with it...
I did go to the game Saturday afternoon...happened to be the AngelFan Wife's birthday as well. I know how to treat the ladies. For her gift, I got her a washing machine...for Christmas I'm thinking a vacuum cleaner or a big screen TV.
Brief description of the day and photos after the jump...
We were the benefactors of 2 amazing seats just 2 rows behind home plate, something I doubt we'll be experiencing ever again. It's the "Dugout Club" at Dodger Stadium and what I'm sure is becoming a trend at most stadiums, it's for the "privileged" crowd or lucky bastards like myself. Just to get to the area is a roped off glass door that leads downstairs, and at every checkpoint I half-expected someone to stop us and let us know we don't belong there. Eventually you make it downstairs, pass by both clubhouses and to get to your seats you have to go through the all-you-can-eat buffet that comes with the tickets. Most people were chowing down before the game, but we headed right out since we had a big breakfast with the wife's family for her birthday. Another usher and yet another moment of expecting to be turned back, but he led us to our seats, a row ahead of CNN anchor Larry King who looks every bit of his age.
I won't bore you with the rest of the details of the game, even sitting that close you don't hear much from the field except the home plate ump between innings interacting with the fans. I'll say the Dodger fans don't like Milton Bradley much either, being warmly greeted with a serenade of "Meltdown" in his first few at-bats. Some photos below for your pleasure....
Fun at the old ballpark as they say...
Ride the Kid Magic! Schwarber hadn't homered in a long time before last night.
Greg Maddux was 8-18 in his rookie season. Kyle has the 8 wins down pat.
Think Baby Maddux.
Prof. Harold Hill's THINK system at work.
Kyle is on the far left.
I support this. Hendricks has not only looked better lately but seems to start struggling after a few innings which is better than the 1st in the playoffs.
Just tweeted via Jesse Rogers: Hendricks starting Game 2. Wow. Just wow.
That was good!
Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.
My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.
Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.
Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.
How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?
Call me lost.
Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.
I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:
Carl Crawford $20MM
Brandon McCarthy $17MM
Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
Darwin B $2.2MM
Dan Haren $10MM
Matt Kemp $18MM
Brian Wilson $10MM
Ryan Webb $2.2MM
Dee Gordon $2.5MM
So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.
And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):
i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.
there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.
I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.
O & B: I like the one-game Wild Card heart attack game, but I'd actually like to see a best two-out-of-three LDS played in the home parks of the two division winners with the best records, and then the LCS as a best two-out-of-three in the home park of the division winner left standing with the best record, and then let's get to the World Series already.
I...don't know. If chanting would help the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the next series or ultimately the World Series I think I'd be ok with it lol. I'm not supportive of saying insulting things to opposing fans or throwing things but loud noise and chanting seems appropriate to me.
I also grew up in France though and that kind of thing is par for the course at soccer and rugby matches and I love it. I find crowds too passive here.