clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

What Does It Feel Like To Win?

Late in the Cubs' 12-8 win over the Indians last night, I was flipping channels during a commercial break and landed on the Stanley Cup Finals.

The game was almost over, so I decided to watch, to see what it was like for fans of a team that had never won anything, to celebrate a championship at their home.

I felt nothing, of course, because the Carolina Hurricanes are barely a blip on my radar, and in fact, there are a lot of disaffected fans of the team's former incarnation as the Hartford Whalers who are mightily pissed off that ownership slunk off to Raleigh even though the team's attendance had started to rise.

Players celebrated. Fans celebrated. Yes, hockey shouldn't be played in late June, I know.

Someday, the Cubs -- and we -- will celebrate like that. I feel it. Will it be soon? No, not with this team.

But, last night was nice, to see the Cubs put together more runs than they had in their last four games put together -- even though Ryan Dempster decided to make it interesting before it was all over. This is the danger you run into when you haven't had a situation where your closer has pitched in a closing situation in over a week; Dempster has now thrown two days in a row, in a blowout loss and a blowout win, and that's simply not conducive to a guy whose mindset has been to finish out wins for the last season and a half. Dempster has a save in only a little more than 1/3 of his total appearances this year.

The rest of the team did just fine against Jason Johnson and three Cleveland relievers. If this has to be the time for Michael Barrett's suspension, maybe it IS well-timed. Henry Blanco is now 13 for his last 24, with 3 HR and 11 RBI in his last seven games, tied a career high with 4 RBI, and is now 17-for-36 lifetime at Jacobs Field. His average has gone from .051 to .238 in that time.

Len & Bob said -- and I do not think they were being facetious -- that Blanco might get serious consideration for last week's NL Player of the Week award (he was 10-for-20 with 2 HR and 7 RBI last week).

In the end, of course, this doesn't mean much, other than ending the six-game losing streak.

A couple of notes: there was a "group interview" with Dusty Baker, involving Chicago and Cleveland reporters. Bruce Miles reports in the Daily Herald:

There continues to be every indication that general manager Jim Hendry will allow Baker to manage with his full complement of players, including first baseman Derrek Lee, who may remain on the disabled list until July because of two broken bones near his right wrist.
Meanwhile, Paul Sullivan in the Tribune asked Baker about his future with the Cubs, and got this in response:
"I really don't know how it's going to work out," he said. "One thing about me, you don't have to worry about me losing faith. How it's going to work out? I really don't know, but worrying about it is not going to help. It's always worked out for me the rest of my life, so why wouldn't I think it's going to work out now?"
Which, I know, doesn't say much. Mike Kiley's article in the Sun-Times reports the same quote, but also adds:
Baker was asked if he still would like to stay in Chicago when his original four-year term expires after this season. "Oh, yeah," he said. "I came here to win it."
Jay Mariotti says the Cubs ought to hire Bob Brenly -- an idea that's been shot down on several occasions by Brenly himself. I still think firing Baker at this point would accomplish nothing, other than satisfy all of you calling for someone's head. Let's let the season play out, and then re-evaluate afterwards.

Finally, Jeff Passan at Yahoo has again written a scathingly good column about the idiotic MLB blackout rules:

There is a hilarious commercial playing on the radio these days. It is for Major League Baseball's online video-streaming service, and the announcer states with all the zeal of a snake-oil salesman: "Sign up for MLB.TV and never miss a game again!"

Bill Reed is the punch line. He misses lots of games. For the last two years, Reed has subscribed to MLB.TV, and because he happens to live in Keokuk, Iowa, he has been subjected to baseball's television blackout rules rooted in the game's dark ages.

"I am closest to St. Louis (three hours away), yet I am blacked out for being 'local market' by my ZIP code for the following teams: Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Royals, Minnesota Twins and the Milwaukee Brewers!" Reed wrote. "Tell me how I am considered local market for six different teams."

Exactly. Take a look, in fact, at the MLB territorial coverage map that's linked at Passan's column. There are "territories" that are literally hundreds of miles from the host city. How on Earth does it benefit ANYONE to block viewing of a ballgame for someone a seven-hour drive from the ballpark?

Idiots. Maybe eventually they'll figure it out, but I doubt it. Until then, baseball is in the Stone Age when it comes to marketing its product, and then they wonder why they can't make more money on broadcast rights and sales.