A Double-Dare to the Baseball Gods

It's official. I've double-dared (if I were Ryan Theriot, it would be a single dare) the Baseball Gods to invoke their wrath. All I can hope for is that they won't think about reversing reverse psychology.

My spouse loves to travel. I love baseball season. This has lead to 30 years of negotiating the avoidance of travel during just a few parts of the year. Early April and September-October.

I'm serious losing this battle. Last year we took a 3 week trip to China, breaking my string of being at Wrigley Field for opening day, a streak of over 30 years (I've been back in Chicago since college days).

The one absolute taboo was that we wouldn't take a major trip in September or October because that was the wrapup of the baseball season and playoffs. Her argument was September/October is the best weather for travel to many of her favorite places. For years, she checks in every so often asking that if the Cubs were out of contention, could we take a trip in September or October.

After taking this seasons beatings and holding out hope as long as I could, I've given in. The plane tickets are booked to southern France and I'm daring the Baseball Gods to beat me up, invoking the 1935 Cubs as my lesson on what I'm about to miss...

1935 was the year Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into Law. The US was in the peak of the Great Depression. Alcoholics Anonymous was formed. Nylon was created by a DuPont chemist. George Gallup started his now famous poll. Radar was invented. Persia was renamed Iran. Mussolini attacked Ethopia. Germany passed the Nuremburg laws. Benny Goodman brought "swing" to the music world.

In Chicago, "Big Ed" Kelly was elected mayor. Polk brothers started the first "big box" appliance warehouse which grew into the signature department store chain. Cubs owner Phil Wrigley had all his team's games broadcast on radio.

1935 in Major League Baseball, Babe Ruth's career ended as a Boston Brave and...

The Chicago Cubs won the NL Pennant is a very unique way.

I'm always interested in mentioning a well written book. This one goes to author Doug Feldmann and his 2003 book, September Streak: The Chicago Cubs Chase the Pennant. You can get a taste of the first 26 pages here.

The Chicago Cubs ended the year with a record of 100-54 and beat out Dizzy Dean and the "Gashouse Gang" Cardinals by 4 games (winners of the 1934 NL Pennant as written about by author Feldmann in another book). The '35 Cubs had an outstanding team lead by manager Charlie Grimm with some star power in catcher and 1935 NL MVP, Gabby Hartnett (.344), 2B  Billy Herman (.341), 3B Stan Hack (.311) and an 18 year old 1B, Phil Cavarretta (.275).

The starting staff was lead by Lon Warneke (20-13), who also won two World Series games. Bill Lee (20-6), lefty Larry French (17-10) and ageless Charlie Root (15-8) all pitched more than 200 innings.

So why bring up the 1935 Cubs? One word: September.

After a lackluster August of 15-15, they ran off the greatest of all end of season runs, winning 23 of 26  in September (and two losses were after they had clinched!) including a miraculous 21 game winning streak to blow past the Cardinals.

The Cubs were in 3rd place on September 4th, 2.5 games behind the Cardinals and their player-manager Frankie Frisch, when the streak started. The streak included four shutouts and two double header wins, with a critical double win vs StL on Sept 27th to clinch the title.

That is the longest consecutive win streak in MLB history. The NY Giants won 26 games in 1916 but in that streak, game 13 was a tie.

October wasn't as kind to the Cubs. The Cubs lost the World Series 4-2 to Detroit and slugger Hank Greenberg.

Don't worry, I don't mistake the 2010 Cubs from the 1935 version and neither should the Baseball Gods. Still, just to get back at me for turning my back on the team in September...well, you never know. Twenty-one game win streaks can cure a lot of badness even if they only happen once per century. 

Here's comparison #1: The 1935 Cubs were 15-7 vs the Pirates. The 2010 Cubs are 3-9 vs Pitt with 3 games to play at Wrigley.

This 2010 team ends July hovering 9 games under .500. They haven't had a stretch of good baseball beyond 3-4 games. By winning the first two games of the current series vs Stl, they won their first series against a divisional foe since April, a stretch of 10 series losses (PIT, CIN, PIT, STL, PIT, HOU, MIL, PIT, CIN, HOU). Somehow I noticed 4 series losses vs the Pirates which just may be the 2010 Cubs signature memory. My wife sends her best to the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. Bonjour 2010 Cubbies, only heaven can help you now.

Comments

dan haren the first "name" pitcher to go...

LAA gets him with joe saunders + a slew of others going

Better have been some better "others" than joe saunders.

"The Diamondbacks have traded RHP Dan Haren to the Angels for LHP Joe Saunders, LHP Patrick Corbin, RHP Rafael Rodriguez and a player to be named."

saunders has 2 years of club control left (i think)

r.rod will probably be in the pen very soon and is 2011-ready.

i dunno who corbin is, but since he's named before r.rod he's probably someone worth knowing.

-shrug-

not much given up...volume.

Muskat: #cubs lineup sun nite is rf colvin, ss castro, 1b lee, 3b ramy, cf byrd, lf sori, c soto, 2b riot, p demp

RT @MLB: Dawson: "From my heart, thank you Cub fans...you are the reason I continued playing the game. You were the wind beneath the Hawk ...

from Dawson's HOF Induction speech: "Nothing wrong with the game of baseball. Mistakes have hurt the game and taken a toll on all of us. Individuals have chosen the wrong road, and have chosen their legacy... Do not be lured by the dark side. It's a stain on the game. A stain gradually being removed. But that's the people, not the game. Nothing wrong with the game. There never has been."

http://www.sbnation.com/2010/7/25/1587314/and...

Hawk's intro acknowledged Cub Hall of Famers and fans: "We got a lotta Cubs in this group. Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins. These guys had to go through a lot to fight their way here. More than you will probably ever know. I admire you all a lot and I thank you for paving the way. Ryne Sandberg, he was a teammate of mine for 6 years and I didn't even know the man could speak until I saw him up here 5 years ago. My kind of player, never whined, never complained, showed up every day. Left it all on the field. Speaking of the Cubs, thank you Cub fans for coming all the way out here. No fighting with the Cardinal fans but lets make sure we don't hear from the Cardinal fans the rest of the day."

Then quips about Tom Seaver, Tom Lasorda, Reggie Jackson and Rickey Henderson before more general stuff about his baseball career.

Recent comments

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  • FOX Sports @MLBONFOX
    Chris Sale was scratched from tonight's scheduled start due to a clubhouse incident before the game

    ...wow

    he was sent home by the team, too. the wsox released a press statement and everything. they stated it was non-physical in nature.

    crunch 2 min 14 sec ago view
  • He was scratched from his start today. No reason given.

    Rob Richardson 7 min 2 sec ago view
  • At the start of the season the book was that he was trying to pitch to more contact so he could stay in the game longer and it seems to be working so far. Contact against is 77.5% this year and it was 70.2% the year before. He averaged 6.7 IP/game last year and so far it's 7 IP/game. His actual pitches per game are only down to 106.1/game from 107.2/game last year but if he's able to go a bit farther into games without throwing more pitches and without giving up more runs that is a good thing.

    johann 1 hour 10 min ago view
  • sale's skills and insane value makes it almost too hard to have a market for the guy...he's got 3/38m owed to him over 3 seasons (2 team options). he could easily pull in 30m/yr if he was on the market as a FA.

    he's throwing a bit differently this season, especially with more sliders and less changeups like earlier in his career, but all his stuff still looks great even if the HRs are a little elevated and the Ks are down.

    crunch 3 hours 5 min ago view
  • Torres, Happ, McKinney, Jimenez, and Candelario for Sale. Deal or no deal?

    "The White Sox are reportedly asking for “five top prospects” for Chris Sale, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports."

    John Beasley 3 hours 18 min ago view
  • Unless he develops 30+ HR power and keeps his walk rate close to his K rate at the MLB level, he's not going to turn into Prince Fielder. And even if he does turn into Prince Fielder, he's gonna have a short prime. His very limited athleticism is likely to also detract some value from his ability to reach base--I don't buy making an out as being preferable to base clogging, but you'd certainly prefer just about any base runner other than Vogelbach, David Ortiz, etc.

    Charlie 3 hours 49 min ago view
  • seeing as arod has played a total of 27.1 innings of D at 1st/3rd and somehow managed a -0.5 dWAR with his 1 error at 1st and an overall positive total zone rating...he might end up even more in the shitter via the characteristics/flaws/whatever of how some sites determine various WAR values. dWAR doesn't directly lead to a WAR value, but the 2 main entities pushing the most popular variations of WAR sometimes lead to some interesting discrepancies in value.

    crunch 4 hours 4 min ago view
  • I have a lot of faith in Baez that he's going to turn into a more consistent, solid player. It looks like it took him about a half season or so of futility at the plate to figure out he was not talented enough to get away with the crazy approach he had. I think his running game will eventually have a more measured aggression.

    Charlie 7 hours 59 min ago view
  • I hope the D and bullpen show up. Cubs haven't had much luck against Davies, and he's been going well lately. A little uncomfortable with the Cards only 6.5 back--feels like they're right on our tails compared to the 11 game lead I've grown accustomed to.

    Charlie 8 hours 3 min ago view
  • Cardinals, stop that. Right now.

    billybucks 8 hours 56 min ago view
  • In a year or two, a lot of fans are going to point at trading him as a mistake. He'll probably be slashing something like 280/400/480 for Seattle at the time. Of course, by WAR, he'll still be worth less than 3, since we're talking zero defensive value.

    John Beasley 10 hours 26 sec ago view
  • vogelbomb debut for tacoma (AAA SEA)... 3-3, 1bb, 1 HR, 1 double...DH'd.

    while he mostly played 1st considerably more than DH for AAA CHC, DJ Peterson is probably going to see most of the time at 1st for AAA SEA.

    crunch 18 hours 26 min ago view
  • Carl Jr.! Very nice!

    Baez with another "WTF?" play trying a delayed steal with a runner on 3rd and one out.. Remarkable talent, needs to make better decisions.

    billybucks 19 hours 23 min ago view
  • m.montgomery up in the pen with a man on 2nd, 2 out, and rondon 20 pitches into the inning.

    ...and rondon ends it 22 pitches in with a popout to RF.

    crunch 19 hours 33 min ago view
  • I gotta say with the crappy defense the Brewers have displayed outside of Fowler I'm pretty disappointed the offense hasn't shown more and Rizzo seems to be very swing happy lately. That said my god am I happy Madden has finally given Carl Edwards a chance after multiple times up with nothing. I don't think he could handle a starting role with his body frame but his stuff plays so well in a relief role and he seems to be able to handle high stress situations very well.

    johann 20 hours 37 min ago view
  • 2nd at bat. Fowler is good for the Cubs run differential.

    Cubster 22 hours 13 min ago view