Admittedly, this is my first post for Bleed Cubbie Blue. As an avid Cubs fan and writer/blogger/wordsmith, I probably should have been here a lot sooner. Just to vent, to get some things off my chest. Call it a 2003 hangover, if you will. I still see the ghost of Alex Gonzalez meandering through the hallways of my house.
But throughout these many, many years of heartache, the spectre of Ryne Sandberg in a Cubbie blue uniform has kept me company. I keep a shadowbox of his jersey in a that same Alex Gonzalez-haunted hallway, the yin to Gonzalez's yang, and I often wonder, "What would Ryno think about this?" Go ahead, call me nostalgic.
As I write this, the Cubs are finishing up another win over the Miami Marlins. Isn't it nice? It is -- you don't have to answer that. Every time we beat the Marlins, it's like going to Lowe's (yes, I did link to it. Please go get your own nails for that confidence-rebuilding project) to grab one more nail to help prop up that re-built house.
But, we all know that the Cubs have struggled this year. When the year started, it looked like they didn't have the players to keep up. They still don't, but they've gotten off to a helluva start in the second half. Pitching is on. Hitting and baserunning are keyed in. The addition of Anthony Rizzo has been a breath of fresh air in a smokestack. Darwin Barney has been lights out at second base and seems to pick up clutch hits at times. Yes, the Cubs are re-building, just as we are, and they're doing it the right way.
They're doing it the Ryno way. He may not be the manager, but his Hall of Fame acceptance speech pervades every aspect of this new direction.
I live in Houston, and I watched at Enron...er, Minute Maid Park as the Cubs were mired in a 12-game losing streak. My brother on his Blackberry, me on my Ultrabook, we took to the web to find something -- anything -- that would relieve our dread. There it was, Ryno driving a grand slam over the left field wall in the 7th inning against the Astros when they still played in Astrodome. The Cubs didn't win, but it was a bright spot, and those bright spots are what Cubs fans need to keep in mind when things get tough.
At his Hall of Fame speech, a fan yelled, "We love you, Ryno!"
And he'll always say, "I love you, too."
Thanks for the bright spots.