Once upon a time, Cliff Robertson, playing cartoonish Western villain Shame on the cartoonish television series Batman, barked at one of his henchmen, “A big mouth works best when it’s kept shut!” Miguel Montero, backup catcher whom the Cubs now wish to make a former Cub, is learning the hard way.
It figured. Really. Who else but the Cubs could come home from a season-opening road trip, prepared to hoist their World Series championship flag, and have it delayed by rain?
This rain delay lasted a lot longer than the one during which Jason Heyward pulled his mates to the clubhouse for the pep talk that led to the Cubs breaking the Game Seven tie and holding on to win game, set, and Series five months ago.
Dexter Fowler, who hit Game Seven’s fourth pitch over the center field fence? He’s a Cardinal now, having signed with the rivals during the offseason. Aroldis Chapman, gassed at last and serving Rajai Davis a game-tying two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth? Back to the Yankees from whence he came.
David Ross, who atoned post haste for a wild throw and a run-scoring bounce off his catcher’s mask by hitting one out on Andrew Miller’s dime? Retired. Jason Hammell, the missing man of the rotation with an elbow issue? Free agent, not likely to return, joining a small pack of marksmen who think Joe Maddon doesn’t really know as much about handling pitchers as he thinks.
Willie Mays didn’t get to retire like a champion, and neither did Mickey Mantle. Nor did Henry Aaron, Ernie Banks, Yogi Berra, George Brett, Lou Brock, Harmon Killebrew, Stan Musial, Babe Ruth, Ryne Sandberg, Ron Santo, Mike Schmidt, Ozzie Smith, Billy Williams, and a small passel of Hall of Famers.
How many major league baseball players get to retire as well as David Ross?
Jolly Cholly Grimm started Hy Vandenburg instead of Hank Borowy. The College of Coaches was decertified in its crib. Leo Durocher didn’t burn out his regulars and make nervous wrecks out of his subs and rookies. Leon Durham fielded the grounder. Steve Garvey made a long out. Dusty Baker lifted Mark Prior to start the eighth. Alex Gonzalez fielded the hopper cleanly and turned the double play.
Forget about making things a little more exciting even when they leave themselves room enough to make things simple. These Cubs are just hell bent on keeping Cub Country not on edge, but within easy reach of the intensive care unit.
These Indians seem hell bent likewise regarding the Indian Isles, who must have thought—after the Cubs forced a seventh World Series game—that simplicity is simply not an option anymore.
Something unexpected happened in Wrigley Field Sunday night. The Cubs—the real Cubs, the ones you watched or heard about all regular season long, the ones you remember from their pre-World Series postseason rounds—came to the ballpark.
They left their impressions of Cub calamities past somewhere. Who knows where? Who cares? The hosts who let the Indians make off with the valuables and leave them tied up in the closet didn’t wait for the cops.
Apparently, nobody showed the Cubs Jason Kipnis’s Game Three postgame remarks. Just as apparent in Game Four, it almost wouldn’t have mattered if someone had.
The Indians spent the fourth game of this World Series earning the respect they think, not unreasonably, they’ve been denied. A 7-2 win which felt like they were never behind despite an embryonic 1-0 Cub lead does that for you.
Apparently, God has a sense of humour, after all. Fathers have been known to use wit to discipline their children, you know. And the Father of fathers sure picked a beauty to teach us a lesson after His foolish American children picked Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton for the White House.
The Chicago Cubs are going to the World Series for the first time since just after World War II. To play the Cleveland Indians, who haven’t won the World Series since just before the Berlin Airlift.
Entering National League Championship Series Game Four, even Dodger fans wondered whether the Cubs would bother showing up. By the time the game was over, the set was tied at two games each, and the Cubs finished a 10-2 bludgeoning of the Dodgers, Dodger fans were sorry the Cubs did show up.
Twenty-one straight scoreless innings was more than the Cubs were willing to dine on. And to think the barrage began with a beautifully timed bunt to open the top of the fourth, by the lineup’s number four hitter, one of the Cubs on whose behalf people were ready to send out search and rescue teams to try finding his bat.