Somewhere along the way the Cubs contracted the "paralyzing suck" virus and it seemed to spread from one Cub to the next last night. I felt like I was watching 28 Days Later, just waiting for the Cubs fans at the park to start ripping each other apart. It started with Ryan Theriot, and not on that ill-advised bare-handed play. After Soriano singled and took second, Theriot flailed away looking thorougly overmatched by Chad Billingsley. What a fantastic time for a guy who hits the ball to the right side about 95% of the time to fail.
He sure made up for it later though when he attempted a bare-handed do-or-die play on a ball he should have probably have just gloved. I admit I stepped away for a second and only saw the back end of the replay. The Parachat crowd was 50/50 on whether Theriot would have even gotten Loney had he tried to field it cleanly, but nonetheless, it certainly wasn't a good play.
Next up was DeRosa, who turned two routine outs into none when he muffed an admittably hard-hit ball. Had he not been infected with "the paralyzing suck" virus, he might have realized he still had plenty of time to at least secure one out, but instead rushed his throw to still try and get a double play which was gone as soon as he didn't fieldl the ball cleanly.
Around the diamond it went and next up was Derrek Lee who did all he could to keep a hot smash in front of him, but unfortunately the "paralyzing suck" virus must mess with your equilibrium because he couldn't pick up where the ball went. And to complicate matters, Zambrano was a little late getting to the bag.
I think somewhere in that exchange, Zambrano caught it because a few hitters later, he left an absolute cookie up for Russell Martin that pretty much sucked the air right out of Wrigley.
Quick sidebar: That was just an absolutely fantastic drag bunt single by Furcal right before that. Hope Hendry can land him this time around in free agency.
Oh but, it wasn't done. Aramis booted a ball later in the game and the entire offense started hacking away down five runs rather than remain patient and try to chip away one run at a time. In the 7th, the virus spread to the dugout when Neal Cotts was brought in to face Andre Ethier and James Loney. Problem being with Bob Howry warmed up in the pen, Lou left Cotts out there to face Matt Kemp who predicatbly singled in a run. You ask, what's the difference between 6-0 and 7-0, I say a whole lot when you have as talented an offense as the Cubs do. They're in every game and the manager doesn't need to be giving up in the 7th inning.
By the 8th, Lou decides to go with his bullpen aces and they certainly weren't immune. Marmol gives up another two and Wood - in possibly his last game as a Cub in Wrigley - gives up one more. Everyone gets a ride on the "suck ass" carousel.
More ranting after the jump....
- Way to be a leader of the team, DeRosa...
Beforehand, Piniella was taken aback by second baseman
Mark DeRosa saying the Cubs already were in a do-or-die situation. If
that was the case, Piniella said, they might as well forfeit Game 3.
Piniella had a little talk with DeRosa and amplified his feelings afterward.
"And this is why I don't like talking about do-or-die
things, and I heard that from a few of our players," he said. "I'll
talk to them about it. This is not do-or-die. Actually, we're sending a
pretty good pitcher out there on the mound in Los Angeles on Saturday
in (Rich) Harden, and we're sending a darned good pitcher to the mound
also on Sunday in (Ted) Lilly."
- Good to see the Cubs learned about being up front to their fans about injuries....
Multiple team sources confirmed Thursday that Harden received an
anti-inflammatory shot for the discomfort that sidelined him for 12
days between his Aug. 29 and Sept. 11 starts.
It's not rare for pitchers to get anti-inflammatory injections, and
insiders suggest it can be considered maintenance as much as injury
relief for a pitcher with a history of problems but no structural
The story began a couple days ago, when Cubs
Chairman Crane Kenney left a message on Greanis’ voice mail to call
him. Greanis thought his friends were playing a prank on him, but when
he eventually got in contact with Kenney, he found out the reason for
“He said, ‘I’m a devout Catholic, and I’m not superstitious, but if
there is anything there, I want to take care of it,’” Greanis said
The Billy Goat curse was placed on the Cubs in 1945 when Billy Goat
Tavern owner William Sianis was denied entrance to a World Series game
at Wrigley Field because he wanted to bring in his goat. The curse was
immortalized in newspaper columns over the years, particularly by
syndicated columnist Mike Royko, and gained widespread attention during
the 2003 postseason when Fox played it up during the Cubs-Florida
match-up in the National League Championship Series.
Kenney told Greanis that they wanted a Greek Orthodox priest to
bless the dugout, since the alleged curse was placed by a
“I told him ‘I’m honored,’” Greanis said. “I said we’d bring some
holy water and say a prayer. It’s not for ensuring the Cubs winning,
but for being safe and protected. I’m a priest first, and a Cubs fan
second. I don’t want anything to be mocked, and neither did Mr. Kenney.”
Greanis came to Wrigley on Wednesday well before the media was
allowed inside the park. But a TBS cameraman setting up near the dugout
saw the ritual and got some of it on tape. TBS then aired it during
their pre-game show, ensuring it would get national publicity.
- However you feel about "The Sports Guy", Bill Simmons, his take on why this game means so much to many of us and why many of us take each and every loss so personally is about as spot-on as I've ever read:
The relationship between a fan and his baseball team is unlike anything
else. If you love a team -- if you truly love it -- then that team
infiltrates your daily life for six straight months (seven if you're
lucky). You wake up, you shower, you eat, you work, you eat, you watch
your baseball team, you sleep. When the Mets collapsed for the third
straight season last week, my devastated friends who follow them all
said the same thing: it wasn't losing again as much as reflecting on
those 162 games and the hundreds of hours wasted along the way. They
felt betrayed. Only baseball does that to you. It's a game of routine,
of watching one at-bat after another, hoping something different
happens, of relishing the little things that happen along the way. You
don't know your favorite players personally, but you feel like you do
- I'll have the "pleasure" of being there for Games 3 and a possible Game 4. Sort of like the pleasure of contracting genital herpes.
Arizona Phil 12 hours 37 min ago (view)
In addition to 40 players signed to 2020 MLB contracts, after releasing 22 minor leaguers this week the Cubs now have 279 players signed to 2020 minor league contracts (plus one minor leaguer on the Restricted List), for a total of 320 players in the organization (181 pitchers, 30 catchers, 60 infielders, and 49 outfielders).
JustSayin' 21 hours 51 min ago (view)
Years of over-drafting pitching shown here.
Dolorous Jon Lester 23 hours 40 min ago (view)
Some of the players cut I am not too surprised by. Some of them I think are definitely victims of the minor league pay thing and being squeezed out.
That said, I am very surprised they gave up already on Riley McCauley and Niels Stone.
Hagsag 1 day 1 hour ago (view)
Baseball America is showing a big group of players that have been released.
Arizona Phil 1 day 14 hours ago (view)
The Cubs have released minor league catcher Rafelin Lorenzo. He was selected from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the AAA Phase of the 2018 Rule 5 Draft and spent the 2019 season at South Bend. He was eligible to be a minor league 6YFA post-2020.
JustSayin' 3 days 11 min ago (view)
The organizations will cut rosters down, as if the full-season teams were breaking camp to start the season, THEN pay the remaining minor leaguers $400/week or whatever. That's similar to what costs would have normally been but the "one last chance" players who got spring training invitations this year and didn't have an obvious roster spot won't be getting their last chance.
crunch 3 days 1 hour ago (view)
"According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, all minor league players will be receiving $400 per week from MLB through at least May 31."
so that's where that promise landed. the scary thing is that's still more than some in the low minors make on a weekly basis.
crunch 5 days 18 hours ago (view)
"Jeff Passan of ESPN writes that the players and league agreed that the 2020 season won't start until "there are no bans on mass gatherings that limit the ability to play in front of fans, there are no travel restrictions and medical experts determine games will not pose a risk to health of teams and fans." Passan does add that the two sides "will consider the feasibility of playing in empty stadiums" and also at neutral sites.
crunch 5 days 23 hours ago (view)
i miss baseball. it could happen in june...it may happen in late may...it might not happen either way.
there's so many things getting messed up right now i would get lost making a list. there's some college guys making a serious "okay, we need to look at that guy" push that's dead. former cubs draft pick russell smith (2017, LHP highschool) took last season off for injury (TCU college) and returned with a low 90s fastball, impressive control, and a MLB-quality changeup. his "comeback" was 4 games and done thanks to this current situation...
JustSayin' 6 days 2 hours ago (view)
COVID 19 + a short draft + Manfred's obsessive drive to shrink the minor leagues will change baseball forever. It WAS still America's grass roots sport. Where I live, from June through August, you could see a quality live game any day of the week, within an hour's drive. I believe that era is over. What's going on will have ripple effects, contracting serious college ball, college summer leagues and independent pro ball just as much as the MiLB systems. With those changes, some of the game's charm will also go. I've seen a kid from Cape Cod play in the Ca
crunch 1 week 5 min ago (view)
fyi for anyone who bought MLB.tv
for "some reason" getting a cancel+refund via phone is like pulling teeth, but if you contact them via a webpage contact request many people are getting a cancel+refund confirmation within an hour or 2...
bradsbeard 1 week 7 hours ago (view)
I imagine because the new labor agreement freezes rosters as of whenever the agreement is approved by the owners and it might affect what those guys are paid under the agreement.
Hagsag 1 week 9 hours ago (view)
AZ Phil. what was the reason that a whole bunch of teams optioned or assigned players to the minor leagues yesterday on March 26 ? Thanks.
Arizona Phil 1 week 13 hours ago (view)
jdrnym: Ordinarily, players on an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) who are on Optional Assignment to the minors do not accrue MLB Service Time, are paid at the minor league rate rather than at the MLB rate if the player has a "split" contract, and if the player gets hurt or becomes sick after being optioned, he can be placed on a minor league IL instead of on an MLB IL (so that he cannot accrue MLB Service Time or be paid at the MLB rate while he is on the IL). Also, a player who is optioned to the minors for at least 20 days will burn an option year.
jdrnym 1 week 1 day ago (view)
AZPhil, what are the technical ramifications of optioning/not optioning guys during this period of no baseball? Seems like some teams are more eager than others to trim their roster down.
crunch 1 week 2 days ago (view)
"Major League Baseball has agreed with the MLBPA to grant a full year of service time to players in 2020 regardless of how many games the schedule includes.
Rosenthal adds, however, that the two sides have agreed to "table discussions" on how much service time the players would receive if the worst-case scenario plays out and the 2020 season has to be canceled entirely due to the coronavirus pandemic."