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.
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.
Somewhere up from the depth of Chicago’s loud, raucous, bigger-than-Woodstock celebration of the Cubs’ transcendental triumph there came a small voice of dissent. Miguel Montero, the no-questions asked hero of National League Championship Series Game One and the man who drove home the eighth and final Cub run of World Series game seven, was not amused by his usage during the Cubs’ postseason run.
Beneath the big smile he flashed during the Cubs’ celebrations Friday beat the heart of a man who believes he could have and should have been allowed more chances to contribute more.
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.
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.
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.
Not to take anything away from Jacob deGrom, Daniel Murphy, and all the New York Mets who did the little things right Tuesday night. (And, in Murphy’s case, one not-so-little thing even more right.) But the way the Chicago Cubs finished the evening on the brink of elimination was just too Cubs for comfort.
Maybe Cub Country, that long-battered, long-picked-on nation of Jobs, can find some small comfort in knowing that it didn’t happen with the Cubs five outs from the World Series. And maybe Mrs. O’Leary’s cow was carrying a flashlight, too.
Concerning the Los Angeles Dodger’s pool party to celebrate clinching the National League West in Arizona, a few observations:
1) There was a point during the season when the Dodgers had hit rock bottom, or close enough, while the Diamondbacks were hitting the high notes and the high standings. It isn’t exactly out of the bounds of reason to suggest that, on the assumption that the Dodgers had a resurrection in them, which wasn’t an assumption many were willing to make at that point in time, there could be nothing sweeter than to finish it at the Diamondbacks’ expense. Especially considering . . .
Jump not to any conclusions that not even a collarbone fracture in an earlier brawl this season sent Zack Greinke the message. Let’s run down how went the Tuesday night fights between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks — featuring a few rounds between several 1980s all-stars now among both teams’ brain trusts — for those who needed a scorecard to establish the, ahem, order of battle: