Yes, Yogi, you can observe a lot just by watching. Herewith some of my observations over the early weeks of spring training:
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.
This is what we knew about Kyle Schwarber before this World Series: He made a splash—no, a tidal wave—in last year’s postseason. Including his parking of a meatball from St. Louis’s Kevin Siegrist atop the Wrigley Field scoreboard in the seventh inning of the division series clincher.
It isn’t exactly time for traditional watchers for Cubs calamity to calibrate their instruments. But the Cubs’ lineup is becoming cause for just a wee dollop of alarm, even as the National League Championship Series shifts to Los Angeles tied at a game apiece.
A team with baseball’s best regular season record who finished third in Show in runs scored on that season should be doing better at getting men across the plate. Even with those late-game dramas that got the Cubs here in the first place.
It was almost as if the Giants willed themselves to say, “How dare you bash our MadBum for three, you miscreants!” But this time, this eighth inning, nobody in a Cub uniform made a fatal mistake or a terrible pitch or a careless error.
This time, this eighth inning, this Game Three of this National League division series, the Cubs threw the best they had at the Giants, who threw the best he had at Kid Conor Gillaspie.
Don’t even think about saying the Mets have been cured completely of their June swoon just yet. And don’t even think about saying the Cubs have been broken back to the land of the mere mortals just yet. But it wouldn’t be out of line to suggest that a weekend sweep of the Cubs gave the Mets their first serious medicinal break of the year. And we use the term “medicinal” advisedly.
Forget for the moment about trying to solve the New York Mets’ corps of child prodigies on the mound. They’ve put the Chicago Cubs in the position into which they put the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Dodgers had no ready answer for it to their own detriment.
They’ve got the Cubs trying to figure out how a guy who’s never hit more than fourteen home runs in any regular major league season has hit five in a single postseason, and off the league’s top three Cy Young Award candidates while he was at it.
Maybe the Pittsburgh Pirates finally figured that if you can’t beat Jake Arrieta, throw at him. Any old excuse will do. Even sending him a message about hitting two Pirates in situations where the last thing any pitcher plans is to drill someone. All it got was a bench-clearing brawl in the top of the seventh that did nothing but delay what was, by then, the just-about-inevitable.