It’s spring training and all the teams are out there getting prepped for the six months of regular season ahead of them. Baseball, since its season is so long, is a weird sport and team fortunes can change pretty quickly. However, I am not going out on a very long limb by stating this could possibly be the most lopsided season we’ve seen for a long time. The disparity between awesomeness and sorry-ass, to me, has never been wider.
For some teams the season will be far longer than they want. As such let’s start in reverse, like a spinning bunt that hits fair but slowly trickles right over the foul line to ultimately just be a strike… or in these collective teams’ cases, an out.
The ‘Keep your Bats in the Rack” Group
Colorado Rockies – they traded their best player, Nolan Arenado, to the Cardinals for a sack of seeds that no matter good the soil is and how carefully they water, will never germinate to anything of substance. They will be so bad that if California slides into the ocean, the Rockies still won’t win the NL West. They’re destined to be bad for a minimum of 5 years. Are there other teams worse than the Rockies? I believe yes, at least two.
If one were to ask me, I’d say I am a casual fan of many teams – if one were to define ‘casual’ as being one who has at least enough in their tool belt of fandom to whip out the right tool for the job for discussion. I cannot recite stats. I cannot pull team folklore and craziness out of my ass and relate it to some event in a personal manner.
Nor do I want to do it.
That sort of fandom to me is a tad excessive as well as obsessive and I can see why athletes get a little wary of those types – the adults who wear a guy’s jersey and then ask for an autograph. In fact, I will take it a step further – wearing anyone’s jersey seems a bit excessive. You’re not them, that’s not your name on the back. Why are you wearing someone else’s name on your back? Why are you spending so much time and effort following a team as if you are a part of the team? And why are you all dressing up like this clown?
Here’s a little advice Bears fans – don’t. Ditka never liked you. Ever.
Let’s call this part the final part, The Closer: The National League.
Part One, The Starter, I delved into a bit of history regarding our ballyhooed National Anthem as well as provided somewhat cogent thoughts on what songs could replace the National Anthem for each American League city. Part Two, The Closer, we will hit the National League cities, but first a few questions:
Why the fuck are we playing the National Anthem at all? What patriotism comprises the beginning of a ballgame? Should we play a game before we battle another country? Is that what we should be doing now? Send our troops over to a foreign country and force them to play an American game before war games commence?
If we can’t beat the olds now, we don’t really deserve it, do we? Not only do we outnumber them, the stakes for everyone but the old assholes who have essentially destroyed the world are so much higher.
Greta Thunberg put it badassedly: “…nature doesn’t bargain and you cannot make ‘deals’ with physics.”
Make no mistake, if Bernie doesn’t win – and not only that, but if Bernie doesn’t win AND/OR we, the youngs, don’t put every single ounce of sustained pressure upon them, the olds – then we will be utterly destroyed in a very serious, non-hyperbolic way. Climate Change is here, it is getting worse, and it is accelerating.
In news that seemed meant to be since the Cubs limped across the finish line this season, David Ross was named the new manager of the Chicago Cubs. Great. What comes next?
Unfortunately for Cubs fans and executives alike, David Ross isn’t the answer to the problem that the Cubs have as they reach their “dynasty” crossroads. How did the Cubs get to this point? They were supposed to be THE team of the second half of the decade. They were going to duke it out every season in the World Series with the Houston Astros. What went wrong? In short, a lot. Can David Ross fix it? Not by himself.
I’m going to sprint through the baseball playoffs and sprinkle some ‘Maddon Moments’ in to explain, in my mind, what happened to Maddon and the Cubs, while using Ditka like he used Bears fans.
By the time you read this, the wild card games – October 1 and October 2 – may be over, or at least started. It doesn’t really matter much. Those four teams can douse themselves in all the champagne they want, but it’s pretty much a cheap victory. Put it this way, it’s the same kind of victory you get when you visit your elderly grandmother at her assisted living facility and win their corn hole tournament.
But before we dig into the wild card teams, let’s just take a look at the 2016-2019 Cubs vs the 1984-1987 Bears. If you look at their timelines, they are a tad similar. And you can argue both Maddon and Ditka can only deal with the hands they are dealt. True. Think of this like Texas Holdem. Ditka was holding the king and queen of hearts and staring at the ten, jack and ace of hearts face up on the table… and threw out the king ‘aka’ Wilbur Marshall. Maddon’s hand, while good, was an ace and a ten. Still a potentially winning hand, but could have been better. Cubs management bet high on a good, but ultimately bad hand.
OK, now let’s place a hand on the wild card teams – The Rays, the A’s, the Brewers, the Nats.