The Days of Santo
The easier thing would be to just get up tomorrow, slap on the chinos and a polo and shuffle off to work, as usual. Instead I’ll be up an hour earlier, donning shorts and a t-shirt apropos of the occasion and motoring solo to Chicago for, yeah, Ron Santo Day III (or is it IV? Yes, it’s IV).
When the Cubs announced it I reflexively got online and grabbed a ticket, albeit an upper deck reserved one in the interests of cost control. I’ll be driving straight back after the game for the same reason. The road/ballpark ratio comes out about 10/3; not good. I damn well better be one of the first 10,000 through the turnstiles. If I don’t come home with one of the replica HOF plaques I’m gonna feel foolish. Actually, I will anyway and why not?
See, I’m 58 going on 12. I figure since I was there on 9/28/03 when #10 was retired and on 8/10 last year when the statue was unveiled my attendance tomorrow is effectively mandatory. Never mind that I couldn’t make it on 8/28/71, Ron Santo Day I. I’m sure I was listening in. I was 17 going on 18 then. My parents probably wouldn’t let me have the car.
If I ever knew that Santo was the first player to invoke the 10/5 rule to veto a trade I’d forgotten. He didn’t want to go to the west coast and eventually got himself traded across town for Steve Stone, among others. Ironic, huh, in light of current events?
When Santo was in the lineup or the booth I listened to the Cubs on the radio a lot. Now I hardly do at all. There are several factors. The Cubs aren’t very good right now, but that’s more rule than exception when you have the panoramic perspective my (chronological) age affords. Keith Moreland doesn’t tell me much, but Santo wasn’t exactly a sabermetrician. Really, I think the underlying reason I don’t listen as much now is because I’m pissed at Pat Hughes. I used to get a kick out of his tuna sandwich/slap a twenty/ugly sweater shtick when Santo was there to chuckle at it. But things have changed.
When Santo died in late 2010 I got the news on the morning of my second book release. STUBS includes a couple of Santo-related vignettes, one of which I read at the release that evening. When Opening Day 2011 rolled around I sent a copy to Hughes, c/o Wrigley Field, hoping, selfishly, that he might mention it on the air and Cub fans everywhere would start clamoring for STUBS. In the first broadcast of the year I heard him recite some boilerplate BS about how many books get sent to them in the booth and how they can’t possibly acknowledge them all.
We’re not talking about e-mails and birthday reminders here, we’re talking about an actual book I wrote and gave you a gratis copy of. You don’t have to bother to read it, not even the bookmarked excerpts about your late sidekick, and I’m not looking for a 7th inning promo gig a la John Grisham, but if you can’t manage a brief mention of it maybe you could at least reciprocate by sending back a copy of your own book which rushed into print later that season. Any thought of that probably got lost in the shuffle of promoting that book on the air along with your Ron Santo “Voices of the Game” CD.
Now that the juice is squeezed from those sour grapes I can make them into raisins and sprinkle them on my bran flakes in the morning. Maybe I’ll even listen to the “Al Fonseca” interview from the Santo CD on the road. My son gave it to me for Christmas and it always makes me laugh.
When we played the Reds with Chapman, I always thought of it as an eight-inning game. So now other teams have eight innings to try to get a lead against the Cubs. Should be a challenge, assuming three or four Cubs ever start hitting again.
I don't really try to get to know and like these players personally. I'm rooting for laundry, for the most part. Exceptions might be when a player makes trouble in the clubhouse or in the dugout. (Zambrano and Bradley come to mind. Also Papelbon.) But I don't think Chapman is one of those jerks.
Unfortunately, a pretty good summary. It looks like next year Heyward will be getting yet another batting stance adjustment.
The recent good news has been Baez. I'm afraid about the next league adjustment on him, though, which is probably right around the corner.
Bryant I don't worry about too much. Just not seeing the ball well right now. He'll turn it around. Russell's been good with men in scoring position all year and he's 22ish. He'll be fine but next year is likely to be his breakout year.
If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.
Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."
This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.
I expect they will go 5-9 games above .500 the rest of the year. 96-98 wins will win the Division.
They should have one more 2-3 week hot streak in them.
However, several players are just "average" for the last month: Zobrist, Ross, Russell, Ceasar. Montero is terrible, plus he cannot throw anyone out. -WAR. Heyward is abysmal at the plate, but a plus in the OF. Still with RISP he has been terrible. KB has not been driving in runs as of late. But Apparently the team is still above average with RISP according to S Sahadev.
I came to that realization tonight. I kept expecting them to play better, but now I realize they aren't going to. They are a .500 team now.
- They have one reliable starting pitcher. Jake's magic is gone, and it doesn't look like it's coming back. Lester has been lousy recently. Lackey's ERA goes up every time he pitches.
- Heyward has been dead weight all year. I can't remember a single series where he was a significant offensive contributor. Not one. Great defense, but but if he were hitting .270 with 10 HR and played average defense, the Cubs would be better off.
new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup
Team is .500 since early May and is playing like a .500 team. Lack of offense seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the pitchers...and they aren't handling it terribly well.
.500 the rest of the way still may win the division though.
...i hate espn.
nothing like settling into a cubs game to get a few minutes cutaway for an ortiz AB in the 6th inning of the det/bos game.
oh, at least they're doing split screen now...i guess.
I'm liking this rookie Nathan.
Richard DFA'd. Meh...
Throwbacks with fashionable cutouts would be a nice touch.
The next 2 games are nationally televised. I think we dominate tonight, hitting 3 HRs off Shields. Great night for KB to end HR drought facing HR prone pitcher in one of the most hitter friendly parks in the league.
If the ball didn't deflect off the pitcher's mound, the game wouldn't have ended. Montgomery did miss his location though, but if that same contact was made and went in any of direction, good chance of ground out if it doesn't get through.
If it was 1 night later, Chapman would be out there and we probably would be going to extras.
Also, If KB wasn't robbed of a HR, perhaps we would have won. We will never know. Nice play by Melky though.
The comparison isn't Chapman replacing Rondon. It's Chapman replacing Richard (hopefully) in the pen. Chapman's better.