Think about it logically. This well-known sign, on the roof of the Lakeview Baseball Club on Sheffield, just about directly behind where we sit in the RF bleachers, indicates how many years it's been since the Cubs have won a division title, NL pennant, and World Series.
2004 is 59 years since the pennant of 1945, and 96 years since the World Championship of 1908.
But in the LBC's weird math, it has been zero years since the division title of 2003.
They posted the "00" right after the division clincher last September, and it was indeed correct until 2003 ended.
Now, to be consistent, it should say "01". So I e-mailed them about this today and got the following response (and I'll bet they get this all the time, because it was addressed "To Whom It May Concern"):
The first set of numbers will read 00 until the Cubs fail to win the division championship. The year for the purpose of the sign, begins November 1st.
OK, that makes some sense. So it should have changed over on November 1, 2003, right?
Wrong, apparently. I stated that in a follow-up e-mail and got this answer:
The first 2 didgets will remain 00 until the Cubs fail to win their division. Thank you for your interest.
And yes, they did spell "digits" that way.
So I guess they'd rather be stupid than right. Hey, why not fill up their e-mail box? The e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm not the first member of the Cubs Blog Army to mention this, either. Brian Hipp of Cubs Now! wrote about this back on April 15. Maybe a concentrated CBA effort can change this mathematical error.
Having gotten this silliness out of the way, the Cubs completed their road trip today with a satisfying 7-3 win over the Cardinals. Sure, they should have won at least 3 of 4 in St. Louis, but given the dearth of wins there in recent years (5 of the last 31 before this season), we'll take it.
Greg Maddux finally looked like the Maddux of old today. Sure, he gave up a home run to Albert Pujols, but lots of good pitchers have done that, and there was no one on base, at least. Maddux didn't walk anyone, scattered six other hits (five singles and a double), scored twice, and stole his first base in two years (he's got six for his career, tops among all active pitchers). His second win of the year gave him 291 for his career, and he lowered his ERA to 5.05, throwing only 84 pitches in seven innings.
In fact, an oddity today -- both starting pitchers stole bases, but there was some bad baserunning otherwise on the part of the Cubs, who might have had even more than the seven runs, given the 11 hits and four walks this afternoon. Instead, the long ball was the weapon today, with Todd Walker, Derrek Lee and Sammy Sosa (#545, three short of Mike Schmidt for ninth place) all hitting two-run homers. Lee also singled and is showing signs of coming out of his usual April slump.
Sosa also struck out once, the 1998th of his career, and with two more will become only the third player in history to strike out 2000 times (Reggie Jackson, the career record holder with 2597, and Andres Galarraga, with precisely 2000). But you have to swing to hit the home runs, and at least for the last seven seasons, since 1998, Sammy has made many of the swings count.
Joe Borowski pitched an efficient ninth inning today, though not in a save situation. Perhaps he's finally getting back in last year's groove. I still wonder where Todd Wellemeyer has been, because he has pitched only once in the last 11 games. And we need twelve pitchers exactly why?
Pending the result of the Houston/Cincinnati game tonight, the Cubs will either be tied with the Astros or still a game behind, but at this stage, that really doesn't matter much. And even with the 3-4 road trip, the Cubs are 8-7 for the season on the road, and now coming home to play two teams with suspect pitching staffs, and the weather supposed to warm up between now and Sunday, this homestand could look a lot like the last one.
And maybe by then the LBC will see the truth in changing the number to "01".