Sunday, September 20, 2015

No sweep! Did Maddon's Sopranos wisecrack set up Cubs cosmic payback?

The Chicago Cubs ought to be happy – they managed to win a three-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals even though the dream of a sweep against St. Louis fell short Sunday with a 4-3 loss.

It's a good thing I didn't feel compelled to buy this t-shirt Sunday; it wasn't necessary. Photograph by Gregory Tejeda
They gained ground on their hopes to clinch a playoff spot this season – even though the Cardinals already have clinched theirs.

BUT THERE WERE the beanball wars that gained so much attention during this weekend of baseball at Wrigley Field. Beginning Friday when there was an exchange of ballplayers on each team who got hit with pitched balls.

Leading to Cubs manager Joe Maddon insisting his ballplayers were singled out for abuse (even though some fans contend the Cubs started the whole thing). The Cubs’ manager went so far as to compare the Cardinals to cable television mobster Tony Soprano.

As he put it, “I don’t know who put out the hit. I don’t know if Tony Soprano is in the dugout. I didn’t see him in there. We’re not going to put up with that from them or anyone else.”

Which makes me wonder – if the Cardinals are the Sopranos, does that make the Cubs the athletic equivalent of that loser mob from the still-memorable HBO show. You know – the one whose boss ultimately got killed and had his head crushed by the tires of his own moving vehicle?

First 'victim' in beanbrawl weekend?
IS JOE MADDON nothing more than “Phil Leotardo?”

Is a sporting equivalent of that image going to be the ultimate fate of the 2015 Chicago Cubs – making it 108 seasons and counting since the Cubs were able to win a World Series (or 70 years since they were even able to get in)?

The fact that Cubs pitchers carried this on beyond the Friday game of the series and in fact had one of their pitchers ejected on Saturday for engaging in beanball wars makes me wonder if the pressure ultimately will get to the ball club – making them crack!

Not exactly the overwhelming powerful image that  true championship-quality ball club would want to exude at a point in the season when they could either wrap things up – or have it all collapse upon themselves.
WHO’S TO SAY how this season – with but two weeks left before playoff baseball begins – will wrap up? It’s certainly more intriguing than anything the Bears did Sunday in their loss to the one-time Chicago Cardinals: not even losing quarterback Jay Cutler for most of the game due to a hamstring injury.

Highlight of rest of Sox' season?
Or the White Sox, who went into the final two weeks of 2015 (for them, at least) by taking only one of three games from the Cleveland Indians – creating less of a situation they will overcome the Indians for Third Place and more of one they could fall behind the Detroit Tigers to finish in Fifth.

Which could be the only reason the die-hard fans of the ball club bother to show up for the season-ending three-game series (either that, or they really want to see Hispanic Heritage Night festivities on Oct. 2).

Although it’s still a Cubs team likely to finish in Third Place themselves and qualify for the playoffs only because of the modern trend to get as many teams as possible into the mix – rather than have the best ball club overall in the National League be the one to qualify for post-season play and the right to get their heinies kicked by the ultimate American League champs!


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