The photo attached to this post is partly in honor of celebrating New Year's Eve tonight, and partly to tell you where the Cubs played on July 4, 1986. (If you don't recognize the stadium, you'll have to look after the jump for the answer.)
About the game itself... well, you'll just have to keep reading.
Maybe firing Jim Frey wasn't the answer.
It seems impossible that only a year and a half after the Cubs' triumphant return to the postseason after a 39-year absence, the manager who led that charge lost his job. Gene "Stick" Michael replaced him... and has led the team to a not-so-resounding 8-12 record, including tonight's frustrating 2-1 loss to the Padres in San Diego, the second straight loss to the team that knocked the Cubs out of the '84 playoffs.
The Cubs' only run was a solo homer by Gary Matthews off Goose Gossage, tying the game at 1-1 in the eighth. Matthews is hitting just .217. I dunno. Is he done at 35? If only he could have hit Gossage during the NLCS in 1984...
There was one bright spot in this otherwise miserable game in which the Cubs managed just four other hits besides Matthews' home run, and that was the Cubs debut of Ed Lynch, who was acquired from the Mets five days ago. Lynch got hurt earlier this year and after a few starts at Triple-A for the Mets, the Cubs got him in a deal for minor leaguers Dave Liddell and Dave Lenderman. Although it's kind of weird to see Lynch in a Cubs uniform less than two years after his brawl at Wrigley with Keith Moreland, I think this is an excellent trade. Lynch is only 30 and tonight, he looked solid. He gave the Padres just three singles and a run before being lifted for pinch-hitter Thad Bosley, who doubled after Matthews' homer with just one out. But Bosley was stranded by the impotent Cubs offense.
Such has been the fate of this team, and even though I'm usually an optimist, I know that the Cubs, now sitting 24 games behind the front-running Mets, have pretty much zero chance of making anything out of this season.
But Lynch looks like a keeper. Hopefully he'll be part of this organization for a long time to come.