For those who read my blog (yes, all eight of you), I want you to know why you haven’t seen any new entries the past couple weeks. It’s quite simple really. I’ve been on strike. I made a promise to myself awhile back that I wouldn’t write another entry until Mark Prior took the mound at Wrigley Field.
You may be saying thinking, "But isn’t Mark Prior still rehabbing from his ‘shoulder strain’, cloaked in mystery and firing 86 mph heaters in relative obscurity?" Technically yes. But unless I want to wait until 2007 to write again, Prior’s start in Peoriais as good as it’s going to get for awhile. He threw real pitches from a real mound with a real baseball in the state of Illinois against professional, albeit minor-league, baseball players. And even though he had a Glendon Rusch-like pitching line, at least Cubs fans finally have concrete evidence that he’s still alive. Good to know his right arm isn’t going to show up at next year’s Wrigley Garage Sale.
So now that I’m back in business, what did I miss?
Well, I missed five (count them, 1-2-3-4-5) big May wins. Five out of 21 ain’t bad. Wait, yes it is. It’s very, very bad. But at least we’re less than 13.5 games out of first place, right? Right? WHAT?
Kerry Wood looks like he’s rounding into form, destined for the disabled list after showing his amazing potential against the Reds yesterday. If Kerry follows his normal schedule, he’ll make one or two more above-average starts and then leave the next one early with “crankiness.” And that will be the last we see of Kerry in 2006.
The White Sox took two of three in the “Windy City Classic” or “Crosstown Series” or whatever it’s called these days. But the Cubs managed to take the last game of the series, one day after Michael Barrett inexplicably punched AJ Pierzynski in the face following a home plate collision. There was no reason for Barrett to throw the punch, because it was a clean play at the plate. But I fully support his decision to do so. He threw that punch for Cubs Nation. He threw that punch for all of us that have had to watch the losses pile up day after day (after day). Plus, if anyone in major league baseball deserves to get punched in the face, it’s AJ Pierzynski.
The Cubs got swept by the Marlins. No really, they did. Can you believe it? Yeah, me neither.
Neifi Perez and Aramis Ramirez did all they could to ensure an Atlanta sweep over Memorial Day weekend. The capper was Dusty Baker telling us what we’d kind of figured out by this point ”That was just terrible. I don’t know what’s going on now.” (He said this after watching Neifi drop a throw from Jacque Jones and subsequently air mail Michael Barrett on the relay, letting two runs score on a sacrifice fly.) Dusty must have been even more bewildered after the Cubs lost the next game when Aramis Ramirez tried to catch an 11th inning pop-up with his forehead. Predictably, the runner scored later in the inning, and the Cubs lost…again.
And who could forget Neifi putting down that spectacular sac bunt with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and the tying run at first base against the Nationals? Can you believe that didn’t work? Neither can Neifi. Instead of apologizing and making up some excuse (like "I had a minor stroke that lasted exactly two pitches and made me think bunting in that situation was an AWESOME idea"), he claimed in the post-game press conference that he’d do it all over again. Guess what Niefi? We’d lose by two runs all over again too.
Yep, it’s sure been an awesome month. Glad the Cubs were able to tread water without Derrek Lee.
But I truly believe the worst is over. Now, there’s no reason for me to think this. I just do. Kerry’s back (for now), Greg Maddux and Carlos Zambrano are throwing well. Sean Marshall makes more good starts than bad. And Mark Prior may just grace us with his presence some time in June. Derrek Lee gets his cast off any day now, and Aramis Ramirez has finally stopped hitting pop-up after pop-up to the second baseman.
Unfortunately, unless the Cubs go on a prolific winning streak, it doesn’t matter anymore. This season, for all intents and purposes, ended when D Lee broke his wrist. I’ll still watch the games, but I know deep down that it’s over. Regardless, the next four months should be much more enjoyable than “Gray May,” as Dusty called it yesterday.
(p.s. As I typed this, Corey Patterson hit his second home run of the evening. He also stole his 18th base. Somewhere Jim Hendry is curled up in the fetal position, weeping.)