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.
Terry Francona has been here and done that. If there’s anyone in baseball who knows what it’s like to steer a team heretofore in the wilderness and under heavy curses, actual or alleged, it’s Francona.
A man who shepherded the once-snake bitten Red Sox to shove back with everything they had, only beginning when Dave Roberts stole second on Mariano Rivera with the Sox three outs from an elimination sweep, isn’t exactly going to let a Cub uprising in Game Five of this World Series bite him that hard.
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.
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.
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.
Forget about the Cubs’ bats being unable to wait for another late-game drama. After Tuesday night in Dodger Stadium, they can’t wait, period.
“When you don’t score,” said Chris Coghlan, after the Dodgers shut the Cubs out 6-0 in Game Three of the National League Championship Series, “you’re not in control of the game, and you’re going to lose. That’s just going to be a fact. But I think when we get some runs and push them across, then obviously, that’s how you get control of a game. That’s what we did all year.’
You understood what Dave Roberts was thinking. Now, try to understand the net result. Wrigleyville may not quite understand it even if it worked out in their favour—and they were there.
I say again—this is the sort of thing that used to be done to the Cubs, not by them. Every Cub in creation must have thought, “Boy, that guy has no fear!” Something Roberts proved to get his Dodgers to the National League Championship Series in the first place.
This is the kind of thing that used to be done to the Cubs, not by them. The Giants went to the bullpen in Game Four of the division series Tuesday night. Leading by three runs. Their mission: save it and force the set to a Game Five in Wrigley Field.
Mission aborted by four Cub runs in the ninth with only one out on the board. Season aborted by a bullpen that began to look like it was finding itself in the postseason until they lost each other, the plot, and the ball game.
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.