Aramis Ramirez of the Chicago Cubs walks off the field after being called out on a controversial 3rd strike while umpire Bill Miller ejects manager Mike Quade from the game during a game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)
It appears likely that Mike Quade is going to join Jim Hendry as a former member of Cubs management when this dreary season is over, 29 games from now.
So it seems somehow fitting that Quade is on the way to being remembered as the Cubs manager who was ejected from the most games in a single season. Quade was tossed in the first inning on Sunday after Aramis Ramirez was called out on strikes by home plate umpire Bill Miller. Replays indicated the pitch was pretty far out of the strike zone, but you can't argue balls and strikes like that without being tossed. Give Quade credit for protecting A-Ram from being tossed, too, although that didn't stop Ramirez's 16-game hitting streak from ending when he went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
Maybe Quade is trying to get himself ejected from the entire season. Can he take us with him and we can start over fresh with 2012?
Quade is one ejection short of the team record, seven, set by Johnny Evers in 1913 (in a year where the Cubs went 88-65 but finished a distant third). Despite Evers' status as a Cubs hero, he was fired at the end of the year. The mark was tied by Frank Frisch in 1951 -- in only 80 games, because Frisch was fired midyear in that dismal 62-92 season. He never managed again.
Frisch and Evers are both in the Hall of Fame, mostly for their playing careers, although Frisch won over 1100 games in a 16-year managing career. It's pretty safe to say Quade isn't going to Cooperstown, except by buying a ticket. Oh, and there's this:
Q's 6 ejections ties him with Gardenhire for ML lead. Also ties Lou's 4-yr total as Cub mgr.
For the record, the Cubs are 3-3 in games Quade has been excused from by umpires: wins on April 30 vs. the Diamondbacks, June 14 vs. the Brewers and Aug. 3 vs. the Pirates, and losses on July 2 vs. the White Sox, July 30 vs. the Cardinals and Sunday's 3-2 loss to the Brewers.
What can you do? Casey Coleman threw his best game of the season, though that bar wasn't set too high. Seven innings, allowing three runs, is actually decent. If I thought he could keep doing that, maybe he'd be an effective fifth starter next year. His only real mistake was a two-run homer allowed to Corey Hart, who has absolutely crushed Cubs pitching this season: .333/.476/.667 in ten games (33 AB), with three doubles, two home runs, six RBI and nine walks. And that's with a series left at Wrigley Field in September.
In the ninth inning, the Cubs made a run at Brewers closer John Axford, who was facing the Cubs for the third straight day. Tyler Colvin hit a one-out home run -- after Carlos Pena had hit a ball to the warning track. After Marlon Byrd walked on four pitches, Alfonso Soriano hit another ball to the track that was caught at the RF wall by Hart. Reed Johnson, batting for Koyie Hill, hit a sharp grounder that Casey McGehee couldn't handle.
So the Cubs had the tying and lead runs on base; Axford, who had thrown a bucketload of pitches on Saturday night, did not look sharp. Geovany Soto, in a horrendous slump, had the day off but was sent up to bat for Carlos Marmol.
Naturally, he hacked at the first pitch and grounded to McGehee to end the game.
That's the kind of season it's been. No wonder Quade doesn't want to watch.