Barry Larkin and Vicki Santo, widow of inductee Ron Santo, pose for a photo with their plaques at Clark Sports Center during the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cooperstown, New York. Santo was named to nine All-Star games in his 15 major league seasons, 14 of which he played for the Chicago Cubs. He finished his career with 2,254 hits, 1,331 runs batted in, 342 home runs and won 5 consecutive gold gloves at third base. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
I'm going to give the first words of the recap of Sunday's 7-0 Cubs loss to the Cardinals to Josh:
Cubsminorswrap) July 22, 2012
You know that if Ron Santo had been standing at the podium Sunday afternoon, his speech would have been filled with jokes, hilarious non sequiturs and love for his family and the Cubs. Vicki Santo included that love in her moving speech, which talked about the challenges that Ron faced, how he overcame them, his love for the game, the city of Chicago, the Cubs and Cubs fans, and then she paid tribute to his career and the work that Ron did for JDRF since he retired from baseball.
Vicki Santo hit all the right notes; her speech was inspiring. It's sad that Ron wasn't there to share the day with all the rest of the Hall of Famers in attendance, the Cubs fans who traveled to Cooperstown, and the rest of us. But he's now a Hall of Famer. That lasts forever.
Too bad the game wasn't a tribute to Ron. He'd have been agonizing, "Aw, geez" in the broadcast booth most of the afternoon. The first inning was more or less a continuation of the Cardinals' 12-run inning from Saturday night, with Jon Jay and Tony Cruz both smacking two-run doubles. If you were watching -- I wasn't, I was watching Vicki's speech at the time -- you could have switched channels after that, because with the Cubs getting shut out for the second straight day, the game was essentially over after that.
Travis Wood soldiered on, throwing six innings, even though the Cubs had lefthander Jeff Beliveau available in the bullpen after his recall from Iowa earlier in the day (Rafael Dolis headed back to Des Moines in return). Beliveau did eventually make it into the game, making his major-league debut, in so doing becoming the 42nd player to appear in a Cubs uniform this season.
With trades likely coming over the next nine days, before the non-waiver deadline, that number is only going to increase. The team record is 51, set in 2000, a bad year where the Cubs lost 97 games; second is the 103-loss 1966 team (49). This year's headed for that, or worse.
The Cubs went 2-6 in eight games at Busch Stadium this season (and scored just one run in being swept in this weekend's three-game series); they still have six games remaining against the Cardinals this year, three of them next weekend at Wrigley Field. Given the Cubs' record on the road (now 14-35) compared to their home mark, it's entirely possible they could even win the series next weekend.
The same cannot likely be said of the upcoming series in Pittsburgh, where the Pirates have the best home record in baseball (32-14) and swept the Cubs in a three-game series back in May.