Since last night's 4-2 Cub loss to the Indians was basically over in the first inning, I'm going to make this sort of a "notes" column, because I don't have any coherent whole to make of yet another loss:
- It IS just a coincidence, but the Cubs are now 5-25 on WGN, 22-18 on all other TV channels.
- Greg Maddux, sad to say, no longer has the velocity to succeed at the ML level. He used to be able to do it with location alone, but if he misses, the 84-MPH fastballs get raked. His trade value is near zero.
- A vacation-replacement umpire, Mike Muchlinski, called balls and strikes. He is 29 years old -- that made him younger than every player who appeared for the Cubs tonight, except Matt Murton and Ronny Cedeno. And after crew chief Jerry Crawford had to leave the game with back problems, he was the putative "head" (since the plate umpire is supposed to "lead" in the absence of the crew chief) of a 3-man crew. Fortunately, there were no bad calls made.
- "People say" the Cubs don't see enough pitches. Tonight, Indians batters saw 110 Cub pitches in 8 innings (13.75 per inning). Cubs batters saw 130 Indian pitches in 9 innings (14.44 per inning). Just sayin'.
- Aramis Ramirez appears to be finally starting to hit. A bit too late, I'm afraid. Derrek Lee might return this weekend. Kerry Wood won't. With Lee back, what happens to Phil Nevin? He's actually hit well enough that he could be trade bait. Maybe he and Juan Pierre could be packaged to the Giants.
- During the first couple of innings I got a bit bored after it was 3-0, so I read my copy of Smithsonian Magazine, which arrived in the mail today. This doesn't appear on the website, so you'll have to buy the magazine if you want to see it; in the magazine there's an article about this famous photo:
and the story of the photographer who took it, and how and why it came to be so famous.
- I emailed Mark Cuban through his blog, telling him about BCB and asking him for a comment on the talk of him buying the Cubs. I actually got a response within an hour. Here it is in its entirety:
i dont see it happening at all Al..
The "Cuban solution" is great talk-radio fodder, but would you really want an owner who makes it all about him? Sam Smith has it nailed:The latest league fine gives Cuban a total of $450,000 in these playoffs and $1.455 million since he purchased the Mavericks.
This is what Stern should have done: Fined Cuban $2 billion and taken all his money.
Then Cuban would have been Mark from Plano screaming for attention on a sports talk radio show, the worst of the breed that brings down that medium.
- I'd like to see how any of you can blame Dusty Baker for this loss. The Cubs just don't have a very good team. In other threads, he's been criticized for running Maddux out there. As opposed to whom? Rich Hill? Jerome Williams? Jae-Kuk Ryu? Sure, I wish Maddux were a better pitcher this year. He was, for a month. Now he's not. This isn't Baker's fault. Most all Cub fans wanted Maddux back, and he reached his incentives, so there was no choice in the matter.
- Things could be worse. Consider: the White Sox beat the Cardinals 20-6 last night. Twenty runs in a game is quite rare -- the Cubs have done it twice in the last 12 years, though, on August 18, 1995 at Colorado, and May 5, 2001 at home vs. the Dodgers. The last time the Cubs allowed 20 or more runs in a game was August 16, 1987 at home vs. the Mets, a 23-10 loss. Guess who started that game for the Cubs?
Yep. Greg Maddux.
- Today is the summer solstice -- representing the longest day of the year. It occurred at 7:26 am CT. The word "solstice" comes from the Latin "solstitium", a combination of "sol" (sun) and "sistere" (to stand still), because the sun appears to "stand still" at the point of solstice, before starting its inevitable decline to the winter solstice in December.
Who says you can't learn stuff here?
- Former Cub pitcher Steve Trachsel homered for the Mets last night; they beat the Reds 9-2. That was Trachsel's third career HR and first in eight years; the last one was as a Cub on August 28, 1998. That's an interesting boxscore. That was only eight years ago, but in addition to Trachsel, there are only six other currently active players who played in that game, two of whom are on the DL: Jose Hernandez, Todd Helton, Vinny Castilla, John Thomson, Mike DeJean...
and Neifi Perez.