Four Weeks “Prior,” Cubs Were Over .500

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.

Go Cubs!

(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.)

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8 comments

  1. john

    WOW, I feel so bad for you cub’s fans. As we speak ,Corey Patterson is ranked 45th in Yahoo’s fantasy sports system. I have no idea how but the cubs are probably regretting that trade. But for the cubs, i hope they get better but those injuries sure do hurt.
    P.S booked a trip to wrigley later on this year, can you tell me anything about how nice it is. i have heard but i want a first hand expierience from a fans perspective. post the response on my blog.

    http://allthewrightstuff.mlblogs.com/

    John

  2. kboch4@yahoo.com

    After many years of pondering about what it will take for the Cubs to become a championship team. I think I have a solution. It won’t be easy, but with the help of the Internet we could attempt it. As you know, The Chicago Tribune has no intention of building a champion. It is evident in their off-season signings as they watched the Toronto Blue Jays scoop up all the talent and spending the cash. It is evident in their years of fielding miserable teams. But the Tribune does not need to spend all the big bucks. Why should they if Wrigley Field is jam packed with fans every game? If I were the owner of the Tribune (obviously not a baseball fan; just someone happy to have a cash cow under his belt) I wouldn’t spend the money either. It’s not the way for him to maximize profits. Many people go to Wrigley Field because of its aesthetics and the history; a sorry history at that. That’s all the Tribune Co. needs is fans in the seats.
    The perfect owner for the Cubs would be Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks. Rumor has it that he even expressed an interest in buying the Cubs. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/scorecard/05/30/truth.rumors.mlb/index.html

    But the Tribune Co. has no intention of selling. Why? The newspaper is not as profitable as it used to be thanks to the Internet and wireless applications that allow users to access the news from anywhere. The bulk of the Tribune’s profits come from owning the Cubs.

    What we need to do is get the word out to all the Cubs fans to boycott going to Wrigley Field. Once the Tribune finds that owning the Cubs isn’t profitable anymore, they will either sell or put out a winning caliber team.

    What do you think?

    Ken

  3. ryannjack23@insightbb.com

    I’m tired of watching the cubs lose! Time for a new GM, Coach, and….we also need someone who knows how to win! We have had a lot of good players over the years but never really any good combination of winners. Wood needs to go or go to the bullpen–his glory days are over! I don’t know about you but I’m sick of seeing the Cardinals win the Division every year. Why can’t we just learn from them. They have a wonderful coach and great leadership which most of the tims equals success. I’m done….if they don’t put a winning streak together soon.

  4. sherrylmassey@sbcgloball.net

    Hey…I haven’t taken the time to slog through all the blogs and posts. But I’m wondering why the Cubs would hire Lou Piniella? I lived in Seattle during Lou’s years there. He provides entertainment on occasion but he never brought them to a world series win. He’s brash and rather on the dumb side (if you’ve ever head him speak). He’s coached some of the best players…Martinez, A-Rod, Olerud, Cora…I could go on and on. Never to a win though…I guess I just don’t care for this guy. Chicago needs to get back to basics (and I live in Chicago now and was raised in Chicago…couldn’t even tell you who plays for Seattle any longer)…And I for one, like both the Sox and the Cubs! Unite Chicago! Who cares which team wins, unless they play each other in the end. And for my money, you just can’t lose when that happens!

  5. Chris

    I agree that Lou may not sound like the most intelligent speaker from listening to him all last season on TV. Lou is however a big name coach who big name players want to play for as he did prove in Seattle. The team on the southside that won the world series a few years ago did not have the most intelligent coach either. Ozzie is about as dumb as they get but if good players want to play for him they will win.

  6. slyactor@aol.com

    Lou doesn’t have a clue! If he thinks he can just lay back and hope that things turn around the he is mistaken. He has to get tough with the Cubs players now because this may be as close as we get all season! Milwaukee is in first place?!

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