From a season marred with disappointment and struggle on Wednesday emerged Ryan O’Malley. While his future is as unclear as the rest of the organization for one day he was able to live the ultimate dream, he got to pitch and win a game for the Chicago Cubs….his Chicago Cubs. O’Malley will now be able to sit with his favorite team in one of baseball’s most cherished Cathedrals and possibly pitch against their oldest and most heated rival.
For one day we were are able to see how special this game still is and we were reminded why we started playing and following this wonderful game thanks to Ryan O’Malley.
“I wouldn’t play the game if not for that dream. This is the ultimate dream of mine.”….Ryan O’Malley after Wednesday’s game.
O’Malley was given an opportunity that most can only dream about. The most unlikely call-up has inked a place in Cubs History and found a place in the hearts of the Cubs Faithful. Not only did O’Malley win a game at the Major League level, he did it with class and enthusiasm that is often overlooked by other players. He took advantage of his shot but think of all the events that took place prior to Wednesday that made it possible for him to pitch for his favorite team.
– Scheduling – The Iowa Cubs were in Texas playing the Round Rock Express
– It was his turn in the rotation but he was scheduled to pitch out of the bullpen because of the rehab assignment of Wade Miller
– Roger Clemens had an uncharacteristically bad outing against the Cubs, gave up more runs to the Cubs than any other team this season
– Jacque Jones’ mammoth 3-run home run to straight away center off of Clemens
– Juan Mateo provided the Cubs with strong 5 innings to start the game
– Matt Murton hit the game tying home run off of Brad Lidge in the 9th
– The Bullpen threw 12 shutout innings to end the marathon
– Rich Hill had to be used in relief
The smile on his face was priceless and the camera caught it as often as possible. Several times WGN showed him looking around and “soaking it all in”, anyone that saw the telecast knows how happy O’Malley actually was. At one point he even looked on the sleeve of his jersey to see what the patch looked like. When he was done, every player recognized the job he did as well as the coaching staff. The smiles on those faces have been few and far between this season.
After the game, Bobby Howry handed O’Malley the ball and after the post-game interview on WGN, the camera stayed on the enthusiastic lefty. His parents were at the game and he tossed his father the ball and they embraced. Len and Bob made the comment they were “choked up” and anyone with half a heart had to be.
Baseball, like all of sports, has become about winning and losing but somewhere down the line we have all forgotten the most important thing is how you play the game….well everyone but Ryan OÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Malley.