Like a Bat Out of Hell

What a week at Wrigley my friends, what a week! From monsoons to the rockstar Meat Loaf, Wrigley saw its fair share of ridiculousness over the past 7 days. Sideways rain, Zambrano’s greatness and Sunday, the day that will forever be known as:

“The Day Dusty woke up.”

You see I have this little theory that Dusty fell asleep right before the top of the 8th inning that fateful October night back in ’03. That explains why he did not come out of the dugout after the Bartman incident. That explains why he did not come out of the dugout after the botched ground ball. That explains the last week of the ’04 season, all of last year and the months of May and June during this season. Then all of a sudden, Dusty woke up. He was on his feet, he was throwing his hat, and he was back at it. You think I am being funny, but if the Cubs have a positive second half of the season this is basically what Jim Hendry is going to say when he resigns him. Well it obviously won’t be this, but it will have to be creative. At least Dusty woke up; he was about to miss one heck of a week.

We all know what happened in the Mets series, the monsoon, vintage Carlos and the inning that got away, to put it lightly. I spent the late afternoon/early evening dozing off on the couch. As I fell asleep it was 5-0, 45 minutes later in was 13-5. I sat up, looked at the television, laughed out loud, and fell back asleep as visions of ‘next year’ danced in my head. ELEVEN runs in one inning! When they make the 2006 Cubs DVD all they need to show is someone running into Derrek Lee and that inning, it would sum it up perfectly, unless something miraculous happens, but as Jason says, “You know better.”

The off day on Monday was well needed after the debacle and to get over the ESPY’s, they really need to do that show live, it would be so much better. Anyway, Tuesday’s game got me overexcited about Carlos Marmol once again. This kid is a converted catcher and is only 23; he is still learning how to pitch. Phil Nevin secured his trade value with a three run shot and the Cubs won 4-2. Three of the four runs off of homers, where have I seen this Cubs team before, anyone, anyone? After all was said and done, I was very happy to see Dempster secure a save with a 1-2-3 inning in the ninth. It has been months since that happened.

Wednesday night was a game I will never forget. In all honesty it was quite boring for awhile but to watch Maddux and Clemens pitch on the same night, from the same mound was one of the greatest sports experiences of my life. It had been over a hundred years since something like that had happened and according to ESPN, there was only one other game in baseball history where the starting pitchers had more combined wins. On that day, Cy Young won his 510th game, which puts it into perspective. Maddux pitched well, but had one bad inning and the atrocious offensive reared its ugly head once again.

Zambrano stuck to his recent form Thursday afternoon and mowed the Astros over giving up two hits in eight innings and third innings shots from Barrett and Ramirez were enough to will the Cubs to victory. Dempster got another save without too much drama and appears to be returning to his ’05 Closer form. Matt Murton came to the plate with the bases loaded and drove in a run without even swinging. Murton started hot this season and was then told he was being to patient, what! He has been swinging a hot bat as of late and still could be a very good player in the Majors.

Chris Speier, enough said.

The Cubs went 3-3 to start the second half and gave away at least one game, so all in all, not too bad, but the news of the week occurred off the field. The Chicago Cubs Organization released a list of the top 5 players in the team’s history. The five players are Banks, Williams, Jenkins, Santo and Sandberg. Everyone’s first reaction centered on Sammy Sosa and whether it was wrong to leave him off the list. Arguments can be made for both sides, but we all know why he was not there.

I am here to offer a different argument, one which even I, myself, am split. The first name I noticed that was missing is Greg Maddux. At the end of 2006, both Fergie Jenkins and Greg Maddux will have pitched for the Cubs for ten seasons, in Greg’s case, it may be ALMOST ten seasons. Jenkins won 167 games and Maddux won 131 while Fergie had a career ERA of 3.20 and Maddux with a 3.59. Jenkins also started 347 games, most all time for the Cubs, while Maddux started 296 to date. These two pitched in completely different offensive eras though Jenkins has 37 more wins, he did start 51 more games. Jenkins does have better numbers, but I think we can all agree that Maddux is the better pitcher. He is quietly considered to be a top ten pitcher of all time by many experts and spent the exact same amount of time on the Cubs, even winning one Cy Young award, the same amount of Cy Youngs that Fergie won. When it is all said and done, I think that Maddux deserves to be on that list, but he spent his glory years in Atlanta (thanks again Larry Himes), and that is why he is not.

I will now leave you to ponder this questions, but please let us know your thoughts. Feel free to post or to drop me a line at brian@chicagocubsonline.com. Thanks for reading and until next time….

Stay Classy Cubs Fans

Quote of the Day

"Try not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value." - Albert Einstein
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