Poste By: Mike Rodbard
June 3, 2009
The Cubs entered June play the same way they left May.
Limp and limping.
They say Aramis Ramirez is out until at least the All-Star break with his bum shoulder. He could have off-season surgery.
Ace pitcher Carlos "Big Z" Zambrano was hurt, put on the DL, and now he's suspended because he STILL can't stop acting like a man-child.
Pitcher Rich Harden is also hurt
Catcher Geovany Soto is probably hurt. No one is saying for sure. But he can't hit and he can't throw anyone out on the base paths. Maybe he was just a fluke last year.
Oh, yeah. Milton "I am not a whining distraction" Bradley is having calf issues.
And Alfonso Soriano, the $136 million "investment," has knee issues (but, boy oh boy, those infrequent lead-off home runs really can pad the stats AND sell tickets.)
The game in Atlanta on Tuesday night started with one of those lead-off dingers. June seemed to show some promise. Rookie pitcher Randy Wells took a no-hitter into the 7th. The team seemed to be on track. But not having won a game on the road since May 10...
They fell off that track very quickly, though. Atlanta 3rd baseman Chipper Jones broke up the no-no with a base hit in the 7th. Cubs announcer Pat Hughes was praising the performance of the rookie hurler, touting that there was still the shut-out, and the elusive first major league win, to pursue.
Ron Santo, Cub legend and color commentator on the radio side, fell silent.
That's when it hit me: the Cubs are gonna lose. No question. Usually, when Ronnie clams up, that's it. He knows what's up. The team has successfully unraveled itself and begun yet another choke job.
Can we blame some kind of curse, maybe? After all, that's what we (foolish) Cub fans seem to do best.
It's not like attendance is down.
The fact of the matter is that the team is just not that good this year. The stars (read: overpaid) are injured and not producing. The bullpen is a joke. The depth we have in the minors is more of a wading pool than an ocean.
The talent is just not there.
But, the Captain Morgan Club is.
Luckily, though, we have Pat and Ron. I gotta say that even though the (typical) game was laughable, those two guys were very entertaining. Pat was doing everything he could to keep the broadcast moving while Ron sat in silence. You could almost see Santo sitting in the booth with his head in his hands:
"Aw gee whiz, gosh, geez, what is going ON? Gosh, oh boy."
That's quality entertainment right there, folks. They actually kept me tuned in to the brutal end. Not an easy feat. The T.V wasn't even on at that point. I was going radio only.
Maybe that's the solution to our "problems" as Cub fans. Since so many people can't afford to go anymore (HOW much for the bleacher seats?), and the television just projects depressing images, radio is what we have left to enjoy. Pat and Ron are great. They have to be "on" every game, and they generally are. They are knowledgeable, insightful, fun, and they have a real chemistry.
I wish the same could be said of the team on the field.
Visit Mike's own blog as well, So it Goes...
Commentaries on life and living in Chicago.