A River Ran Through It
I wandered down to the ballpark yesterday. Nothing better to do.
Two years ago at about this point of the season Iowa and Memphis hooked up with a division title and playoff spot on the line. Yesterday they took the field a combined 64 games below .500.
Standing out in the center field picnic concourse I gazed across the street at what remains of the Des Moines River after a severe drought. Kids were using the middle of it for a sandbox. Hard to believe this puddle flooded Sec Taylor Field more than once in recent years. Yesterday it struck me as the perfect metaphor for the 2012 Chicago/Iowa Cubs.
A decent crowd shuffled in on a comfortable day as the club again inches toward the 500,000 mark for season attendance in this the final home stand of the year. But nobody’s heart was in it. I could plainly hear a peanut vendor working the GA section in the left field corner. We could have had a conversation, no cell phones required. A group in that bank of otherwise empty seats clad in yellow t-shirts resembled the last kernels on a mostly eaten cob of corn.
Rizzo, Jackson and Vitters are gone, leaving behind a rotting carcass of I-Cubs. Not that the team was flying high with them on the roster, but it’s more interesting to watch a bunch of up-and-comers than a patchwork of refugees from the independent leagues, many of whom aren’t even on first name bases with one another. They come and they go. Only the uniforms remain the same.
In the bottom of the 1st with two aboard Greg Rohan got down a couple of quick strikes and started fouling off pitch after pitch. The PA blared a couple bars of “Stayin’ Alive” and then abruptly shut it off. Nobody gave a damn. Then, sudden as a siren in church, Rohan reached out and banged one the other way, a three-run homer that rattled off the metal bleachers to my left and beneath the right-field scoreboard. There was a ballgame going on.
I didn’t stay long, just long enough to be reminded of what I’ll be missing all winter, starting a week from today.
It's Dusty's fault. It'll be the end of them.
Speaking of how teams "look", my take on the Nats- It's really weird, but the pace of the entire team seems slow. Slow walking to the plate, slow on the mound, even on some routine groundouts, it looked as if there wasn't a ton of hustle. Don't get me wrong, when the ball is hit to their outfielders, they get after the ball, I'm really referring to non-critical action- they mosey around. It's kind of odd. Maybe that "calm power" is part of the Nats ethos, idk.
My favorite moment of Hendricks' performance last night was the last strikeout he rung up- the cajones it took to throw a high, 86MPH fastball to Zimmerman on a 0-2 count. And he swung the bat like it was a 96MPH heater. I literally laughed out loud.
In listening to Maddon's post-game, he is interested in how these other teams "look" to him. He is assessing for today...and tomorrow. I love this guy.
One observation from last night: Joe Ross is incredibly slow. 20-30 seconds between pitches at times. Hendrix had a nice, peppy rhythm which is great to see.
I know there are plenty of purists here which I applaud, but the game just will not sustain itself unless change of pace rules come into play. Pitch clock, improve the shit-ass reviews, mound visits (there is a clock for this), batter time outs, etc.
Thanks, Phil. Albertos at 17, and having gotten a good signing bonus ($1.5, even though as Mexican prospect I think his team gets half of that?), throwing in the 90's and showing some command of a curveball sounds pretty interesting, even if that control is only for a dozen-pitch sample.
What kind of a frame does he have? Is he on the stocky and short-ish side (I'm recalling Fernando Valenzuela!), or somewhat taller? A lot of 17-year olds have projection, "when he fills out" projection. Would that apply at all for Albertos?
I definitely hang around here looking to reply to your comments as noticed by my nearly year long absence.
there's a fine line between posting something relevant, useful or at least humorous versus posting something irrelevant, useless or unfunny...actually it's rather quite a thick line and easy to see for most people not named crunch.
I certainly am digging the RISP machine Zobrist version.
Cubs are taking advantage of bad D by their opponents -- did it a few times in PIT and the Nats botched 2-out rundown leads to 3 Cub runs in the 8th. Which were nice to have.
I hope Kyle had fun at the dance party -- he was terrific.
i hope he's getting more consideration for the 2-slot vs lefties, too.
I hope we can dispense with the Zobrist RISP concerns.
Is this heaven?
They call me Schwarberino because I'm basically Ruth,
and as long as we're rapping I'm gonna tell you the truth:
This team would be even better if I wasn't laid up;
we'd win the World Series, the Superbowl, and the Stanley Cup.
As long as we're at it, I'm putting the Premier League on notice.
Hell, if I were healthy, Epstein could run for POTUS.
My busted knee's even sadder than this presidential kerfuffle,
but my first rehab assignment will be the World Series Shuffle.
I am avoiding grading papers.
With Mutton on the DL now, does Victorino finally get to Iowa?