clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Wake Me Up When September Ends

New, 5 comments

There's a point to the title of this post, so indulge me for a moment before I get to the summary of last night's exciting come-from-behind 4-3 Cub win over the Astros.

Idly googling around, I decided to try the search "wake me up when september ends" + blog. That resulted in approximately 2,300,000 hits. So it struck me that I must be the last blogger in the entire universe to have thought of using the lyrics to this song as part of my blog.

September having, in fact, ended last night, I thought it would be appropriate to do so, and there's a more personal reason involved as well. In case you don't know, the song is a personal remembrance for Billie Joe Armstrong, lead singer of Green Day, whose father died of cancer when he was twelve.

I relate to that. I lost my mother to cancer when I was 11, and the song speaks volumes to me, so I wanted to share the lyrics with you.

Summer has come and passed
The innocent can never last
Wake me up when september ends
Like my fathers come to pass Seven years has gone so fast Wake me up when september ends
Here comes the rain again Falling from the stars
Drenched in my pain again Becoming who we are
As my memory rests But never forgets what I lost
Wake me up when september ends
Summer has come and passed The innocent can never last Wake me up when september ends
Ring out the bells again Like we did when spring began
Wake me up when september ends
Here comes the rain again Falling from the stars
Drenched in my pain again Becoming who we are
As my memory rests But never forgets what I lost
Wake me up when september ends
Summer has come and passed The innocent can never last Wake me up when september ends
Like my fathers come to pass Twenty years has gone so fast Wake me up when september ends
Thanks. I feel better now.

September is over, and there are only two days left in the regular season. As is the pattern for Dusty Baker-managed teams, they had a strong September -- the Cubs went 16-11 in September. If only the previous five months had been just a little bit better. And this record was accomplished with Aramis Ramirez missing the entire month, Todd Walker missing big chunks of it, and Corey Patterson playing most of it. Patterson has compiled a .182 BA and .502 OPS in September. In fact, Patterson has hit .167 in 246 AB since June 1 -- pathetic. You have to go back 37 years -- to 1968 -- to find players (Jake Gibbs, Tom Tresh, Hal Lanier, and Mark Belanger) who have had as horrid an offensive season as Corey has had in 2005. And keep in mind that 1968 was known as "The Year of the Pitcher" -- the AL batting title that year, for example, was won with a .301 average, the lowest ever.

So you can see that Corey's offensive incompetence is not only difficult to watch, it is historic.

I don't want to dwell on that today, as the Cubs actually looked terrific last night. Derrek Lee got one hit last night, his 199th of the season, so tonight, he could reach all three -- 100 XBH, 200 H and 400 TB, if he can single, double and homer. That's a big day, but certainly within Lee's reach, even against Roger Clemens.

Still, it appeared that Carlos Zambrano's seven-inning, eight-strikeout appearance would go for naught after Roberto Novoa coughed up a Lance Berkman two-run homer in the 8th that just barely made it into the Crawford boxes above the scoreboard in left field -- and this after Nomar had doubled in a tie-breaking run in the top of the 8th, setting up a possible 15th win for Z.

If only the Cubs had shown this sort of resilience earlier in the season, we'd be talking about how they were chasing down the Astros for the wild card this weekend, instead of chasing down a .500 record. Two seeing-eye singles set up Michael Barrett, who nearly duplicated Berkman's blast; it hit high off the scoreboard for a game-tying double. Then Corey came up.

For once, he made an out that didn't cause too much harm -- an infield grounder that resulted in Jeromy Burnitz being thrown out at the plate. He could have struck out, which would have produced nothing, or hit into a double play.

But let's celebrate Todd Walker's game-winning single, because it's clear that Walker couldn't run at all. His knee injury prevents him from playing the field, but he can still hit, and you could tell how much pain he was in, literally limping in to first base. Ronny Cedeno, who can't hit or play the field after his hand was broken by a pitch a couple of weeks ago, pinch-ran for Walker. Len & Bob said, "Between Walker and Cedeno, there's one complete player."

Frankly, I was surprised to see Cedeno in the game, because what if he had to slide somewhere and put the hand into harm's way? That could have broken another bone, or made the existing injury worse. If it were me, I'd have sent Sergio Mitre out there to run.

Ryan Dempster finished up again, again making us nervous by issuing a leadoff walk and running a couple of full counts, but got his thirty-third save in thirty-five chances.

Speaking of September, check out Dempster's September numbers:

 G W L SV    IP  H R ER HR BB  K  ERA
16 0 0 13  15.2 10 0  0  0  5 19 0.00
Ladies & gentlemen, I think we've found ourselves a closer.

Whatever it costs to keep Dempster, keep him. Not only has he taken this role as if it were designed for him, but he appears to be the sort of guy who "gets it" -- and maybe, just maybe, can become a team leader as well.

We're disappointed, of course, that the Cubs missed the playoffs this year. And ultimately, sweeping the Astros and getting to .500 is meaningless -- unless, of course, it keeps Houston out of the playoffs.

But I'm sure you'll agree, it's far better to end a season on a note like this than on a losing streak. Septembers like this, we wish they wouldn't end.

Finally, a quick note on today's game: original schedules have it as a night game, but Fox-TV requested a time change -- it will now be played at 3:05 pm CT, and televised both on CSN in Chicago, and on various Fox outlets.