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Here's Where This Series Belonged

Good heavens, that was awful. Swept by the Marlins? A team that had won eleven games before this series began? A team that doubled its home win output with this sweep? Giving up a three-run homer to a guy who should be playing quarterback in the NFL?

The Cubs lost to the Marlins 9-3. That much you know.

There's so much that went wrong with this game that I don't even know where to begin. I mean, five runs scoring with two out and no one on base? That sounds like something that would happen in Mark's Park District league. Incidentally, that's the league in which Dusty Baker's son Darren plays during the summer (not in the same age group -- Darren's three years younger than Mark). No, I don't know if Darren hacks away at everything he sees.

It was pointed out to me this afternoon that what's happening with the Cubs is very similar to what happened with the 2004 Arizona Diamondbacks, another team coming off playoff appearances that was expected in some quarters to repeat -- only to get off to a 29-50 start, and at that point, Bob Brenly (hmmm!) was fired.

It clearly wasn't Brenly's fault, and the replacement was an interim guy, Al Pedrique, who was even worse -- 22-61. Incidentally, Randy Johnson won sixteen games for that 51-win team; that's the most wins ever for a team that lost 110 or more games, and he threw a perfect game for them in May of that year.

This is what I mean when I say -- do you want four months of that? Pedrique would be another Bruce Kimm or Jim Essian, and if you think things can't get worse than this past series, think about what it might be with a guy like that. Pedrique offered himself up as a sacrificial lamb, knowing that even though he very much wanted the permanent job that went to Bob Melvin (who's done a pretty good job with the D'backs, incidentally), he had no chance of getting it.

It is instructive to remember that Essian not only never got another managing job after his disastrous four months in 1991, he never had another job in baseball at all. I haven't seen Bruce Kimm in a manager's office again, either. He's now apparently working for PerfectGameUSA, an outfit that tries to develop high school ballplayers.

That's not what I want, either. What we'd wind up with is four months of Dick Pole, Chris Speier or even Larry Rothschild, then have to start over again in the off-season.

Let's see how this plays out over the next month, or until the All-Star break, which is about the time the D'backs threw in the towel on Brenly (and also, about the time the Cubs fired Don Baylor in 2002). I admit, this does not appear to be a very good team at all. But I also do not think it is nearly as bad as it has looked over the last thirty-two games, with a 9-23 record. That's bad, but it's not Royals bad (10-33) or 1981 bad (10-36).

I call again for Jim Hendry to do something on tomorrow's off-day. Fire Larry Rothschild. Fire Gene Clines and Gary Matthews. Make a minor acquisition. Make a MAJOR acquisition, for heaven's sake. But Jim, please stop sitting on your butt.

And I say again, there are things to still love about this game, and don't let this bad stretch ruin that for you. Yes, I'm still going to enjoy baseball at Wrigley Field, for I have friends there to share the game with and its progression and its history and its events, and yes, that is meaningful to me. If any of you are going to be out there during this upcoming homestand, stop on by to commiserate.

Finally, you guys voted and Mark had to get a haircut:

Admittedly, that isn't MUCH of a haircut; I particularly don't care for the Mr. Spock sideburns. But it does look neater, doesn't it?