I told Mike, after he asked me what "Endy" is short for (the name of the Mets outfielder, and if you look at his baseball-reference.com entry, turns out it's not short for anything. His full name is "Endy"), that I had to get "The Endy Of The Beginning" into this post somehow.
So, there it is, right up there as the title.
I'm going to leave what I wrote earlier right here, because there are already quite a few comments posted, and I'm going to stand by this:
I want to tell you quickly that my sources say that Todd Walker IS in fact going to be traded, likely to the Giants, perhaps as soon as tonight. That's all I know.
The rest of the hot afternoon (and it's going to be even hotter tomorrow, though with the ESPY Awards-mandated 5:05 pm CT start, the hottest part of the day will be past by game time) was enjoyable, as the Cubs routed Tom Glavine and four Mets relievers and beat the Mets 9-2 to even the series.
This despite my friend Tom sitting there holding up a copy of a Mets fan magazine with Paul LoDuca on the cover, trying to urge him on to be a "clutch" hitter -- as the cover story said he was. Not today, my friend -- LoDuca was 0-for-4.
This was a tale of two games -- the first five innings, and the last four. Carlos Zambrano and Tom Glavine matched zeroes for the first five, and Z had a no-hitter into the sixth, which was promptly broken up by a Jose Valentin triple, and by the time it was over the Mets had a 2-0 lead.
This is where Dave and Mike and I agreed -- the Cubs have had SO many games like this in 2006, where they'll play a good team close for a while, then give up a couple of runs (or as yesterday, turn a one-run deficit into a three-run deficit), and it seems absolutely insurmountable. This team exists on such a thin margin for error, that any time it gives its opponent an opening, they grab it and never let go.
Today, things were different, and you can thank Jim Hendry for benching Walker in anticipation of a possible deal -- thus giving Dusty Baker the chance to actually give Ryan Theriot a start against a guy who's been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season. Theriot responded with a triple, a single, a walk, a stolen base and two runs scored. OK, so the triple was aided by the fact that good ol' ENDY lost his fly ball in the tough late afternoon sun -- but that is part of the game, and you take advantage when the other team gives you a chance to.
Matt Murton, who has seemed to pick up his game after sitting on the bench while the Cubs forlornly hoped that Phil Nevin would hit well enough to get dealt (he hasn't, and was 0-for-2 again today before being replaced by Jacque Jones), also had two hits and two RBI today.
Does this mean this is the future of this team? Well, of course it doesn't. One good game from Theriot doesn't mean the Cubs ought to pencil him in as the starter at 2B or SS in 2007. But it does mean they ought to take a look at him for the next week or two, not sit him and let him rot on the bench as he did in his last callup. If Walker is indeed traded today, that gives them that chance, and they ought to take it.
There has been a large number of Mets fans in attendance this weekend -- yesterday, enough so that you could hear "Let's go Mets!" chants in the LF corner. Today, they were quieter, especially after the Cub rallies, though we were today surrounded by frat types who insisted on attempting to start the wave a couple of times. After being shouted down by us, the ringleaders gave up and went elsewhere.
Angel Pagan, perhaps another part of this club's future as a spare-part outfielder, hit a pinch-single and then limped off the field, apparently having aggravated the hamstring injury he suffered back in April, which kept him out nearly two months. That's a shame if he has to miss more time, because I believe he can be a useful bench player.
Hey, it was a fun day all around. Z actually beat out an infield hit and stole a base (the first of his career), and obviously suffered absolutely NO adverse effects from the accidental hit he got on his elbow from Joey Cora at the All-Star Game. In fact, before the sixth, he had thrown only 70 pitches in the first five no-hit innings, very efficient for him -- then the 33-pitch sixth and the over-90 degree heat did him in.
We took note of where the shadows were at 5:05, tomorrow's game time. The shadow of the LF upper deck is just about at the foul line and the light towers just about reach the mound. This will make the first couple of innings good for pitchers Sean Marshall and Orlando Hernandez, and tough again for anyone who's in right field tomorrow night (and RF is adventure enough for Jacque Jones without shadows!). Thanks, ESPN, for giving those of us in the Midwest a taste of what West Coast fans put up with when their games are on Sunday Night Baseball (5:05 PT starts).
Yes, that was a little snarky. That's OK today, right? The Cubs won, beating the best team in the league decisively, and though it means little in the great scheme of things -- with a possible trade in the works tonight, things may be starting to be put together for the future.