HAMILTON, New York -- I had just arrived at my 30-year college reunion, set up the computer to watch a bit of the game via MLB.TV before heading out to check out campus, and the score was 7-0 Rockies. And then it was 8-0, and I figured, "Hey, we'll get 'em tomorrow."
I came back an hour later to find out that the Cubs and Lou had likely conceded the game, too, by pulling Geovany Soto and Derrek Lee -- and wouldn't you know, their replacements, Micah Hoffpauir and Henry Blanco, helped key a come-from-behind win that hasn't been seen, perhaps, since this game on August 29, 1989, a comeback from a 9-0 deficit against the Astros for a win by the same score as today's 10-9 comeback win over the Rockies.
That 1989 win was a key to that year's division title. It was in August; this one's in May. But the way the Cubs have been winning, you can see the confidence growing in this team every single day, with every single win.
Since I wasn't there, I'll let you all revel in this victory, provided in part by Jim Edmonds' best day as a Cub -- a HR, his first in the blue pinstripes, and three RBI; this, after he dropped a fly ball in the third inning which helped the Rockies to three unearned runs. Kosuke Fukudome also homered, as did Mark DeRosa and Henry Blanco. Blanco's usually a slow starter, but he's currently hitting .353. Incidentally, you can forget about the Hoffpauir-in-RF idea; Lou says Fukudome's staying where he is:
"Fukudome is playing so well in right field that I'm thinking let's just not even mess with that unless you have to," Piniella said Thursday. "He's the best defensive right fielder in this league."
Fukudome has a knack for limiting potential extra-base hits to singles, a rocket right arm and a comfort level manning right at Wrigley Field uncommon for a rookie. Then again, Fukudome isn't like other rookies.
"He charges the ball well," Piniella said. "Right field is a tough field to play here. It's not a picnic here. He goes to the line well. He gets a good jump on the ball. I've been of the thought that the less you disturb that, the better."
So, maybe Hoffpauir will get a start occasionally backing up Derrek Lee. I still don't think he's much more than a cuppa-coffee type of player, but he's still hitting the way he was in spring training. Ride that horse as long as you can, Lou.
Lou also said that Carlos Marmol, who threw absolutely filthy sliders today, won't be getting a Joba Chamberlain-like change to the rotation. Good, I say. Marmol's too valuable in the role he has, and he's already failed at starting, two years ago. I don't think he has the stamina for starting.
The question was raised on one of the SABR email lists I subscribe to, "When was the last time, before now, that the Cubs had the best record in baseball this late in the season?" I believe -- and have not confirmed, if anyone else has other info please post it -- that the answer is June 28, 1977, when they beat the Expos in Montreal to go 47-22. In those days not all games were televised, and that one wasn't; I will never forget Lou Boudreau saying on the radio, "They're 25 games over .500 -- they can kiss the .500 mark goodbye!" Of course, that team collapsed and finished exactly at .500 -- and had to lose their last 5 games to do that.
That '77 team wasn't that good and I think we knew it even at that late June date. This team is far better constructed and more solid, so, revel in this, everyone. I'll celebrate with my old college classmates tonight (even if a lot of them are from the northeast and are Mets fans). I feel like a college student again already: the rental car I got has 1970's style manual windows and door locks. Until tomorrow.
Here are a couple of photos from Thursday night, that I got late this morning from David:
Click on photos to open a larger version in a new browser window. All photos by David Sameshima