Home Run Derby Interlude – Banks v. Hodges

The Cubs were the victim of mother nature tonight as their game against the Mets was cut short. Half way through the top of the seventh inning, the umps finally called for a rain delay and ultimately the ballgame on a soggy night at Wrigley. Quade was pretty upset that his team didn’t at least get to finish the seventh inning down by three runs so he’d have a shot to tie the game. According to Quade, it wasn’t raining any harder when they called for the tarp than it was a couple innings before. Good to see the fire, Quade. Keep it up.

So, Thursday is now the rubber match between the two clubs and I like our chances with Zambrano on the mound. The Mets got lucky tonight as Berg had a meltdown of epic proportions. His fastballs looked like Steve from Blue’s Clues, wondering hopelessly unable to find it’s target no matter how much the people watching yelled at him to locate the strike zone. It was an ugly scene, hopefully one he can shake off while he’s still with the club. Coleman also had a miserable outing. Unfortunately that’s what we get with three of our five starters out with injuries. You have to hope the replacements can step up and if they can’t, you have to hope you at least get your nine innings to make up for their poor performance. Neither happened tonight and now the three game series is tied at one game a piece.

To make up for the lost baseball this evening, here is a video of an old home run derby between two retired numbers between the Cubs and Mets organizations respectively. Ernie Banks and Gil Hodges. You have to love having this kind of access to old-school baseball moments in history. Enjoy…and Go Cubs Go!

William Shea Must Be Turning In His Grave

We got the Mets at exactly the right time. They are low on talent. Low on pitching. Low on ‘superstars’. ¬†And perhaps the most important one of all…low on morale.

Yesterday’s game was a laugher. It was the perfect way to kick off the nine game home stand, a crucial one for the Cubs. That second inning was a beast. The Cubs got on base and got on base and got on base unlike no other game I remember. We were relentless and it was somewhat refreshing. RISP you say? No problem. WHAM…a single. BOOM…a two RBI double. The hits piled up and the runs were doing their best to keep up.

The Mets had no shot of keeping up with the Cubs yesterday. It was as if the offense timed itself with the ivy. Both were seemingly in full bloom and looked spectacular. Dempster got his legs under himself after the first inning and then cozied up in the warm nook of a five run lead after two, never to look back. The need of this team that stood out the most immediately resulted in stand out players. With guys down like Soto, Byrd and Baker, we need these young kids to step up and make a difference. Maybe Pena reminded them of what it was like to have a dominant young force in Tampa Bay a few years back. These kids put on a show and it was fun to watch. Heck, even Soriano, Ramirez and Hill joined in on the fun. Aside from Quade giving Castro an earful after a baserunning error, the team was nearly perfect yesterday.

The Mets? Not so much.

In many ways, these two teams are very much alike. Many injuries and poor positioning in the standings. Yet in many ways, they are very different. The key one being morale. After the weekend series against the Red Sox, losing two of three plus their lone All-Star of last year and a strong number 3 in the rotation, you would imagine the team’s morale being extremely low. However, that kind of low morale isn’t the same type of low morale the Mets are experiencing.

Injury and tough loss morale is much different compared to ‘jerk boss’ morale. The Mets are suffering from Jerk Boss morale. Have you ever had a jerk boss? I have. Not only does having an abusive boss make doing your job more difficult, it makes it very hard for you to even want to. Nothing says stick it to the old guy with the ‘nothing-but-sh*tty-things-to-say’ attitude like an 11-1 loss. You think we stink? Alright fine, we stink. Now are you happy? William Shea must be turning in his grave watching this organization implode.

Shea fought to bring a National League ballclub to New York after the Dodgers left in ’57. He threatend MLB with an additional professional baseball league called the Continental League. Afraid of competition, MLB gave in and gave NY one of two new teams in the expansion (the Astros being the other who were then the Colt .45s). He poured his heart and soul into the effort and the team named their second home after him. First home: Polo Grounds. Second home: Shea Stadium. Nowadays, the Shea Bridge that leads to concession stands in the outfield is named after him at Citi Field. I’m starting to think he must be thinking thanks but no thanks after watching what Wilpon has done to his beloved team.

The Mets are in trouble in more ways than one and luckily, we have them right where we want them. Losing 11-1 is no way to defeat a low morale problem and here they are, in our home at a disadvantage being on the road. We need to keep pounding them and be sure to sweep.

The Astros and Pirates are must win series as well and I expect us to. However, this Mets series is a different kind of opportunity. These guys are as low as it gets. It’s time to step on the gas as Keith likes to say and keep the runs piling up. (Maybe not by putting one of our only two starting pitchers out there to pinch hit – Quade, I understand guys like to have fun and it probably will help morale overall but- please be careful with Zambrano and Dempster. They are the only two quality, healthy starters we have left).

Another night game tonight against the Mets. Gee v. Coleman. Coleman took advantage of a friendly atmosphere in Florida to start turning his season around. Tonight, the Mets will provide another great opportunity. Go Cubs Go!