I can't stay up that late any more, even when I try to on days when I don't have to get up for work, even on nights like last night when (apparently, since I didn't see the last out) the game ends by about 11:30. Oh, I can stay up when the game goes that late when I'm at the ballpark, but at home? No way. How do you young folks do it?
I did see the lead run score in the 9th inning, missed the second run in that inning, missed Ryan Dempster's 1-2-3 last of the 9th, woke up to see some CSN talk show, but was glad to pick up the dead-tree morning paper and see that the Cubs had defeated the Padres 3-1, salvaging a game from this series when many (I'm looking at you, San Diego Smooth Jazz Man) thought we might get swept. That's the first game the Cubs had won in San Diego since June 5, 2005, a game that culminated a six-of-seven West Coast trip, that seemed to portend well for a season that ended in failure.
I was on the phone with a friend when I decided to end Chris Young's perfect game at the end of the fourth inning -- I yelled out, "HE'S GOT A PERFECT GAME GOING!" Worked like a charm -- Aramis Ramirez led off the fifth with a double and scored on Michael Barrett's double. And since Jason Marquis had pretty much matched Young, apart from allowing a scratchy SD run in the second on a few dinky little singles, that's the way it stayed until the Cubs' winning "rally" in the ninth inning. Marquis threw yet another fine game, and his 2.60 ERA currently ranks seventh in the NL. He didn't get a "win" toward his total because the Cubs didn't score the winning run till after he was out of the game. Before the current rules regarding who gets credit for the win were put in place, an official scorer back in, say, the 1920's, would have been given the discretion to award the victory to a pitcher like Marquis, who had been effective for most of the game, rather than the "pitcher of record", Bob Howry, who did get credit for a personal "win" by throwing one inning of scoreless relief.
There's some logic to that idea -- maybe, with the plethora of relief outings these days, scoring rules ought to go back to that. But that's an argument for another day.
Meanwhile, I put "rally" in quotes up there because, really, you should score more than two runs on infield fielder's choices when you get the bases loaded with nobody out. This Cub offense, built around the home run, really has to start doing that -- rather than rank eighth in the league in HR as they do now -- in order to really generate the consistent offense needed to go on the long winning streak to get back into real contention.
However, the win, snapping a three game losing streak, combined with Houston's loss at Arizona (and the Astros looked really, really bad in that three-game series), moved the Cubs into sole possession of second place in the Comedy Central. And do you really think the Brewers are going to do any better in San Diego than the Cubs did?
Finally, today Paul Sullivan in the Tribune writes of his "new ideas" for needed changes at Wrigley Field for any potential new owner. Frankly, I don't think there's anything in that article that we haven't already discussed at length here at BCB; I think all of them are plausible, except for the "block party" -- I'm guessing Ald. Tom Tunney and the neighbors wouldn't take too kindly to that idea.
Onward to LA. I know many of you will be at the games this weekend -- please post diaries on your experiences, and if you have photos that you think are cool, email them to me, I'll post the best of them.