Monday, September 25, 2006

Let's cut the guy a break for once.

Watching the Bears earlier today, I found myself thinking of 2001...you know, the last time they looked really good? This got me thinking about past times that certain other teams have looked good, and my mind flashed back to a Sunday much like this one, eight years ago.

In 1998, you all remember Trachsel taking a no-hitter into the seventh in the playoff game with the Giants. What you may not remember is the Cubs and Giants BOTH losing on the previous day to force a tiebreaker game. The Cubs went first, inexplicably leaving Rod Beck in to face the Astros for a THIRD inning, where he ran out of gas (and presumably cake), allowing a leadoff triple to Carl "Nature will find a way" Everett, who scored two batters later on a sac fly. However, what came next warmed all our hearts...with the Giants and Rockies tied at 8 in Colorado, who came through with a leadoff homer in the bottom of the ninth, sending the Giants into a tie with our Cubbies?

That's right, it was former Cub and current THS/the rest of the Internet punching bag Neifi Neftali Diaz y Perez. So thank you, Neifi...and go Tigers? I guess? (Wasn't there some other team that was supposed to win that division this year, by the way? I seem to remember a lot of their "fans" whining about it at the beginning of the year, it wasn't the Twins...if they hadn't all shut up, I'm sure I could figure it out.)

Anyhow, I'm back and able to sit at a computer for a continuous hour again...so between that and Pandrew's (prorated) 7.571 words per day over the past week, looks like things are back to normal around here. (I am very proud of him, however...he told me the other day that he's now interested in a girl who's old enough to vote, putting aside my views on women's suffrage for a moment.)

Congrats as well to Pope Carlos on his SIXTH home run of the season, tying Fergie Jenkins' Cub record, and along with his awesome pitching and attitude...well, there's three reasons right there why he's one of the two Cubs worth giving a shit about. (The other is Aramis Ramirez. Derrek Lee apologists can say what they want, but outside of one [completely fluky] season, he's Mark Grace with a touch more pop.) Let's review the other pitchers who have hit five or more homers in the years between Fergie and Carlos:

Brooks Kieschnick, 2003, 7 HR in 70 AB.

BULLSHIT. I CALL BULLSHIT. Most of these homers weren't even as a pitcher. How can he even call himself a relief pitcher, unless one of the criteria was "totally sucking with the Cubs"? I protest this one.

Mike Hampton, 2001, 7 HR in 79 AB.

I don't even understand this one. Home run hitters are usually big guys, right? Guys like Carlos, that you'd want backing you up in a bar fight. Guys like Hampton in a bar fight? Maybe if you're in the 1890s, stuck in an O. Henry story or something, and he's got a jaunty cap and a devilish look...I just don't get the impression that this guy is really up for too many physical feats of strength. (Also, this happened in pre-humidor Colorado...and THAT is why I do not think that Todd Helton is on steroids.)

Bob Gibson, 1972, 5 HR in 103 AB.

No pitcher hit as many as five homers in a season between Gibson and Hampton, 29 years later. There's not really much I can say about Gibson at 3 AM that hasn't been said better elsewhere...recently...probably by someone that you know...so I'll just remind you of the great similarity between Bob and Carlos. These two are both great competitors and deserve respect, even from opposing fans...not only for their heart on the field, but also because they would probably kill you if you booed them.

That's the lot of them right there...an ex-Cub, a Cubs' rival, and a guy who spends so much time on the DL that he may as well pitch for the Cubs. (In all fairness, though, that would describe most randomly selected sets of three pitchers from the past 35 years.)

That's enough for one night, I think. Tune in next time, when I'll review the worst Cub pitchers of my lifetime, Pandrew will hopefully start on this magnum opus draft analysis piece he keeps talking about (it really does sound pretty good), and we'll try to find pictures from the movie Equilibrium in which William Fichtner looks like Will Leitch, but with AIDS.

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