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Cubs 14 – Astros 7

Jul
21

Took a mental night off. Maybe not literally, because I really can’t ever stop mental, but a night off from creating or writing or editing or fixing stuff. It’s been a long few days. Plan was to watch the Cubs and maybe read (1), but a second night in a row with a disaster start made the Cubs not an option. I had a bunch of Party Down episodes I acquired after Starz canceled it – the eulogizing for it was the best promotional campaign it had, but I guess CPR doesn’t work on people who are already in coffins. I loaded up Gamecast to keep an eye on the game, and started tearing thru the episodes.

Party Down is as good as advertised. (2) So good, that I only took a quick look at the score, saw it was 7-1 (hooray, A-Ram homerun, that opt out is coming back into play) and then completely forgot about it. I was just starting to watch episode 6 when my laptop started to make noise – sounded like an ad, couldn’t find an ad. Found that Gamecast, and noticed it was the usual post game video highlight roll MLB.com automatically shows after a game was over. Took a quick look at the score and – maybe it was a double take, maybe it was a triple take, but most likely it was a quintuple take. 14-7, Cubs. (4)

This is where we are in the 2010 Cubs season. The Cubs pull off their biggest win of the season, the most thrilling sequence of the year, and me and most everyone home watching preferred to watch canceled sitcoms. Which, more than family or age, is why Lou Pinella is retiring this season.

Look. I don’t think the team’s standings are particularlly Lou’s fault. (3) I don’t think the team put together was much good, but when your two best hitters over the last four years suddenly become two of the worst hitters in the league, it really doesn’t matter. Z’s not pitching well didn’t help, the bullpen didn’t help, but that stuff could’ve gone well and they would still be under .500 if Ram was hitting .150 and batting 4 (5). This team was doomed with any manager.

I’m not one who really cares if Lou is yelling at players or umpires in view of the dugouts. I’d rather see actual actions, and he seemed slow to make changes until situations forced his hands. Lou seemed to mentally check out on the season by mid June, and the team needed more than that. Lou might have not been able to do anything different, but if he makes no difference and doesn’t care, then it’s okay to give that job to someone else. Lou stood to gain something if he could bring a World Series to the Cubs, but he had nothing to lose if he didn’t – it’s always the Cubs fault, not the manager. This team is going to have an even tougher time next season, and it’ll need someone with a bigger stake in it’s success.

The real news today wasn’t Lou retiring. He wasn’t coming back once the team struggled earlier and never recovered. It’s been clear for a couple years that Ryne Sandberg would be taking over in 2011, unless he didn’t want it or screwed it for himself. The real news was Tom Ricketts saying Jim Hendry would be GM going into the next season. Ricketts said it in a way where he could still fire Hendry early in 2011 and not be telling a lie, but Hendry is going to be the guy putting together next year’s team. This is news only because of how poorly his moves have gone the last couple of years. Just like the guys anchoring the team, Hendry has a long term deal (two more years) and the club doesn’t want to eat the extra years.

I wasn’t watching the game because games like the first half of this one had already made the season irrelevant. The Phillies series was a nice flash back to the two playoff runs, a fun reminder of the best stretch of Cubs baseball in my lifetime. A lot of the people who’ve made up the core of these teams are going away at the end of the season, and it was nice to be reminded why we’re going to miss them. It was good bye. This series, everything from now to the end of the season, is like an awkward reunion right after the goodbye. Everyone ready to move on and looking for easy excuses to call it off. They make us play out the season, but not actually watch it. (6)

There is the slight chance this week was the start of something very cool. Because I’m a sucker, that’ll be enough to get me to pay attention to this for a while longer. It doesn’t take much.

(1) ESPN Magazine’s article on the Dodger’s divorce was good if you hadn’t been following the situation at all, but nothing really new. The Rashard McCants profile was good, but I’d read that before it the physical magazine had gotten to the mailbox, which is the story of reason I don’t actually read the magazine most weeks. I’m reading Breaks of the Games at the pace of five pages every two weeks and probably should’ve just worked on that.

(2) It took me a few episodes to get there. There was a two minute span where I said “wow, I like these people” and then “wow, I HATE these people” (7), but I was sold on it being a great show by the gun to the head bit. There’s still stuff I don’t like; there are characters who are not so much characters as one line jokes which are hit over and over again. I’m not saying Writer Of Hard Sci Fi and Pretty Boy Dumb Actor, to pick two, do not exist in the world, but they are so amazingly 1 dimensional (or maybe even a half a dimension) that I would hope never to meet them, much less watch their antics on a weekly basis. the relationship was pretty predictable from their first scene together, but those characters at least surprise me now and then. They make the show great, and I can’t wait to go back and watch the rest. (8)

(3) Though it’d be nice if he actually realized Soto can hit and moved him up in the order.

(4) and so I started watching the game from where I left off and typing this post

(4) Which is actually Lou’s fault too, but I’m trying to be kind.

(6) this is a horrible, horrible post. If you’re actually reading this, it’s because I hoped to expel this particular bit of horribleness from my mind in hopes that I’d have a less for the rest of my life. I apologize to you, you thought I was actually posting again, and I go and do this to you. Usually I just delete the horrible stuff but I’m really to tired to keep up appearances. And yet, I’m writing this post near midnight, I wonder why I’m always tired.

(7) which reveals me as someone who talks to the TV at times. It’s a long week.

(8) And then maybe watch more quality TV? Either Veronica Mars, the Wire, or the full run of WMAC Masters that Kidnapped by Ninjas found? I thought that show was absurdly fascinating when I was watching it back in the day, I can’t even imagine how it holds up today. I’d do podcasts on that now, totally.

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Kane County Cougars vs Cedar Rapids, 07/16/10

Jul
20

Better pointlessly late than never. Cougars are suddenly/near randomly hitting like crazy and playing good for the first time in about four half seasons. Playoffs? Nah.

You know it’s a blow out when there’s an actual pinch hitter not due to injury. There is no strategy in minor league baseball.

Always nice to end it on a line drive tag out double play.

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