Sam Fuld didn't really "fail" -- he hit a line drive to left that was snagged -- but I figured a punny headline ("Marshall Fuld", get it?) might take your mind off the Cubs' 5-3 loss to the Padres for a short time, anyway.
Here are the sad numbers (people of "a certain age" will remember Jack Brickhouse announcing on WGN-TV after somewhat rare victories in the 1960's, "Here are the happy totals!"):
- The Cubs were swept for the first time ever at Wrigley Field by the Padres in a four-game series. That's a bit misleading, since in the 42-season history of these two clubs playing each other, this is only the eighth four-game series between the two at Wrigley. Still. (And only one of the previous seven, a four-game set in May 1971, resulted in a Cub sweep.)
- It's the Cubs' seventh consecutive home loss. Since 1920, the Cubs have lost seven or more consecutive home games in the following seasons: 1938 (in a pennant year!), 1943 (twice), 1948, 1949, 1951, 1956, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1967, 1970, 1974 (twice), 1978, 1982, 1994, 1996, 2006 and now 2010. That's 18 out of the last 91 seasons, and you'll note that most of them are during the Wrigley ownership era. It's happened only five times in the last 30 years. The record is 12 straight home losses, set in 1994, the year of the famous Tom Trebelhorn meeting outside the firehouse.
There were two bigger fails today: first, we learned that Micah Hoffpauir was actually at the airport waiting for a flight to Chicago to be recalled after the Derrek Lee deal when management realized he couldn't come back to the major leagues yet because ten days hadn't passed since he was sent down last week.
Seriously -- it's not like this management team is new at this. No one realized this? Really?
That's why Fuld was recalled and given at least a weekend in Chicago. Tyler Colvin was taking grounders at first base during batting practice today and may get some playing time there (why not?), so the idea of recalling Hoffpauir was kind of silly anyway. At this point, just stick with Fuld until rosters expand September 1. They've got to leave some people at Iowa, after all; that team is headed to the PCL playoffs.
The second fail goes to Justin Berg, who failed to cover the plate in a rundown play in the seventh inning, on which Chase Headley was tagged out near third base. Koyie Hill claimed he called time -- but no matter, Berg should have been covering the plate anyway, and they have to make sure the umpire actually grants the time call before they all relax. It's yet another example of the poor fundamentals of this team.
The Cubs did manage a brief lead when they got -- amazingly, given what's happened most of this year -- back-to-back two-out doubles from Marlon Byrd and Aramis Ramirez, scoring two runs. Sean Marshall followed immediately with his worst home outing of the year and with the misplay at third, that did the Cubs in for the day.
The paid crowd of 30,687, looking rather bored most of the time, was the smallest of the year. It appeared there might have been 20,000 in the house -- about 1,700 were in the bleachers. This is the smallest crowd at Wrigley Field since September 7, 2006, when the paid attendance was announced as 27,105, the last paid crowd of under 30,000. It will likely get lower during the next homestand -- but this weekend, with the Braves and Derrek Lee in town, near-sellouts are expected. Today's house included BCB'ers Shanghai Badger, tripdenten, and one other BCB'er who came up and introduced himself and whose user name I didn't quite get (sorry!), as well as Jessica, who ranted a bit about the Hoffpauir snafu. She'll be with us in the bleachers Friday and Sunday.
And that home losing streak could reach near-record levels.