Those flags will fly above the Wrigley Field scoreboard for the rest of the Cubs' road trip; after the team returns, the flags will be autographed by the entire team and be auctioned off at cubs.com.
That's the good news from today. The bad news, of course, is that SBN was down all day -- once again, we apologize for the extended outage and we appreciate your patience. Or maybe that was good news, because I can only imagine the angst that would have been seen here in the game thread during the disastrous bottom of the 8th in the Cubs' 4-2 loss to the Rockies, snapping their winning streak at six.
There was still some good that came out of today's game -- Jason Marquis threw seven solid innings, allowing just two runs and striking out four. Even though the Cubs lost, the seven-inning outing was very important, because with the extra-inning games of late, the bullpen has been in danger of burnout. Only one reliever -- Kevin Hart -- was used today. Hart deserved a better fate than his first loss of the season. After allowing a leadoff double to Matt Holliday, Hart got Garrett Atkins to ground out. Holliday took third, and Brad Hawpe was intentionally walked. So far so good, right? Hart then got the slumping Troy Tulowitzki to hit a DP ball to Ronny Cedeno -- but his flip to Ryan Theriot was bobbled, Holliday scored, and the Rockies put it away with another run after the second out was finally recorded.
It wasn't because Cub fans didn't fill Coors Field for another day -- I was amazed at the number of blue shirts I could see in the stands. I doubt the Rockies would have drawn 32,791 on a Thursday afternoon in April if not for Cubs fans.
These two-game series, one against the Mets and one against the Rockies, are strange not only for their brevity, but because they were both night games followed by day games -- each being two games played in less than 24 hours. It's almost as if the Mets and Rockies were ships passing us in the night, hardly to be seen again. Colorado comes to Wrigley Field in about a month, at the end of May, but the Mets won't be seen by the Cubs till the season is in its final week. Those games could wind up being really important.
I was out for a while this afternoon and thus listened to most of the first half of the game on the radio, the first time I've listened to a significant chunk of baseball via Pat & Ron this season. As most of you know, though I love Ron Santo for his Cub support and fandom, I've never liked his radio style that much -- personally, I prefer an analyst who gives more, well, analysis. That said, I know many people do love Ron for exactly who he is. I mention him because for the first time, I thought he sounded really tired -- and not just because it was a day game after a night game. Ron will be 68 in June and I hope his health holds up. This team has a chance to be something really special and I want him around to see every inning.
After a winning streak this long gets snapped, about all you can say is: it happens. Go out there and get 'em starting tomorrow night in Washington -- the Nationals are really
bad struggling. Even Jay Leno noticed, making this recent joke:
"46,000 people showed up to see the Pope in the Washington Nationals' ballpark. He beat the Nationals 15-1. … To make sure the crowd did not get unruly they cut off beer sales after the 7th commandment."
Finally, when I stopped by Wrigley Field to take the photos of the flags this afternoon, I found them in the process of filming a commercial with a large group of kids on Waveland:
Click on photos to open a larger version in a new browser window. All photos by Al