I was looking for something in my top desk drawer this afternoon while I was watching the game and realized it had gotten stuck behind the drawer, so I tried to pull the drawer out; something in the back was stuck so I pulled harder.
What this accomplished was, once the thing that was stuck came loose, for the drawer to fall on the floor and twenty years' worth of pens, paperclips, petrified rubber bands, and ten years' worth of bleacher ticket stubs all spilled out in a mountainous mess.
Which prompted me to spend the last few innings of the Cubs' 6-3 win over the Brewers cleaning things out, reorganizing, making it look new, sort of sweeping out the past and looking forward to a bright future.
Sort of what the Cubs are doing, too, isn't it?
Once again, as yesterday, the Cubs combined solid starting pitching -- that's now four in a row from the rotation -- with timely hitting, to win convincingly. Carlos Zambrano wasn't his absolute best -- he gave up six hits and two walks, allowing three runs, in seven innings, throwing 109 pitches -- but he was far better than he was on Opening Day in Cincinnati. He retired the first nine hitters he faced before it was broken up the same way last night's was -- by a solo home run, this time off the bat of Rickie Weeks. By then the Cubs had already taken a 2-0 lead; the one-run margin became three in the sixth with Aramis Ramirez' first HR of the season, a two-run shot off Ben Sheets.
Z also gave up another solo HR, to Geoff Jenkins; and if you have to give up HR, that's the way to do it -- with no one on base. Yet another good sign.
Still a further good sign: the Cubs' handling of Sheets, who had come into this game 7-6 lifetime with a 3.86 ERA against the Cubs.
And another: Bob Howry throwing a 1-2-3 eighth inning, striking out Prince Fielder to end it. And Ryan Dempster finished up with an easy 1-2-3 ninth, to put the Cubs over .500 for the first time since May 5, 2006.
This is the team we had seen over the last couple of weeks of spring training, particulary the pitching staff putting up good outings by the starting rotation. Tomorrow, Wade Miller completes the quintumvirate as he makes the start against Chris Capuano, who's even better in his career vs. the Cubs (7-2, 3.75 in ten starts). I'll be making the drive up I-94 to attend my first game of the regular season.
Finally, I think I've figured out why Fox-TV has the odd 2:55 (CT) starts for all its games this season. MLB, for TV purposes, divides its TV coverage timeslots into three-hour periods, generally starting at noon, 3 pm, 6 pm and 9 pm Central time.
Fox, by starting games at 2:55, five minutes into the first of those three-hour windows, was probably able to claim that window as "theirs", and thus, black out games such as today's, on WGN, that otherwise would have been available nationally -- instead, only people in the Chicago area who have WGN as a local station were able to view it. MLB Extra Innings' schedule for today (and I was able to sign up for it via Comcast in Chicago this morning) has no games before 6 pm Central time; in fact, the Pirates/Reds game, which was originally a night game and was supposed to be on EI's schedule, was changed to a day game (due to the horrid weather in the east and midwest) and thus was shown as "not available".
This is just another way for MLB to screw its fans. Five minutes' encroachment entitles them to a blackout? The average length of a game is about two hours and forty minutes, so a 12:05 CT start, like today's, should 99% of the time be over by 2:55, as today's was. I am still at an absolute loss to understand why the people who run MLB seem to go out of their way to prevent their customers from viewing their product. If there's anyone in an official MLB capacity who is reading this and would like to give any sort of explanation to us, I'd love to hear it.
OK, rant over. The Cubs go for the sweep tomorrow. Let's all enjoy!