I walked into the vending-machine room here at work early this morning, and some of the crew that comes in to clean the building were watching CSN's replay of last night's game during their break time.
I looked up at the TV and saw that the tape was in the 9th inning, 0-0 score. I didn't have the heart to tell them that the Cubs lost to the Padres 1-0, their second straight shutout and third in the last week.
How many of you know what a "broken record" sounds like? That's the first thing I thought of and then I remembered that if you're younger than about 25, you probably don't even know what a "record" looks like, having grown up with CDs and iPods.
Ahem. If a vinyl record was "broken", it would cause the needle (man, do I feel like an old fogey) to "skip" and play the same portion of the record over and over and over until you lifted up the tone arm and stopped it.
That's what someone in Cubs management needs to do. Lift up the tone arm and start over with this team. Shake things up, and by shaking up I do NOT mean put Freddie Bynum in the starting lineup.
Freddie Bynum belongs on the waiver wire. Whatever scout saw him play in spring training, waive him too. The man has one talent: he can run fast. This does not help him in hitting -- .192/.222/.269 is worse than anything Corey Patterson did a year ago -- nor in fielding; he made two errors last night, neither of which had anything to do with the scoring, but seriously.
Michael Restovich would have been a better choice to play if, as Dusty apparently believed, Matt Murton needed a day off. Giving Murton a day off wasn't a terrible idea, but read this carefully:
Seriously, if Restovich isn't going to play, why is he on the team? Since his recall, the Cubs have played fourteen games. Restovich has played in nine of those and started zero of them. Here's a guy who can actually hit lefthanded pitching (.280/.331/.462 lifetime) and Baker won't play him against lefties (or anyone else, for that matter)? It smacks of the manager thumbing his nose at the GM for putting him on the roster in the first place.
So, this means the Cubs have effectively been playing with a 23-man roster, because Baker won't play one hitter, and another one is absolutely useless - and he hit him SECOND.
OK, rant over.
I had to go to sleep to get up for work and so shut the game off in the fifth inning. I had nodded off for a while, so had actually not personally witnessed Bynum's first error, and had been sleeping during the second one, which, now that I think of it, pretty well describes Bynum's performance itself. For more on this game, I commend you to the Smooth Jazz Man's excellent diary, which sums up the game far better than I could (having not seen half of it), and also talks about him hearing the same old tired stuff from other teams' fans, reminding Cub fans (who based on what I heard on TV, were louder than the Padre fans, at least in the early innings) about all of our team's past failures.
Memo to other teams' fans: We know. We don't have to be reminded. We live with it every day.
Here's something totally unrelated to the Cub loss, but something I wonder about: take a look at the game summary from last night's Tampa Bay-Oakland game, in which some of the foibles of Tampa Bay's cross-country flight to Oakland are described:
"We ate too much after the game," joked [Rays manager Joe] Maddon, who got to his hotel room at 5 a.m. for a few hours of sleep.
Before I close this post, there is one reason for Cub optimism: Carlos Zambrano was terrific last night, throwing seven shutout innings, by far his best performance of 2006. His ball had both velocity and movement, putting the lie to the thought that he might be having arm trouble. If Z keeps throwing like this, the Cubs WILL win games he pitches.
If they can score a run. Or two. Someday soon, this will happen again. Maybe tonight.