sports: April 2004 Archives

The other 40

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While the attention of FOX and all the Yankee and Red Sox fans was on Fenway tonight, my attention was assigned to WGN this afternoon. There's an old baseball adage that goes something like this: every season you're going to win 60 and lose 60--it's the other 40-odd games that make the difference between the cellar and the playoffs. In other words, most teams tend towards the middle. There are a few really good teams (winning more than 100) and a few colossally bad ones (losing 100+), but most are in the middle.

Today was one of those 40 for the Cubs. They trotted out Sergio Mitre, who's filling a spot in the rotation while Prior's on the shelf. And despite a pretty haphazard pitching performance by Mitre, Wuertz, et al., they came back in the bottom of the 9th on back-to-back jacks by Sosa and Alou to win, 11-10. I know that it's too early to tell, but last year, the Cubs won no games when they were trailing going into the 9th. They were like 0-72 or something. This year? They've already had two 9th inning comebacks for victories. They're playing like a team that knows it has a chance, regardless of where they are in the game.

Makes it even more fun to watch them.

Update: And of course, today's game saw Kerry Wood give up two runs in the top of the 9th to lose to the Reds, 3-2. Of course. For better or worse, that's probably another one of the 40.

For those of us whose baseball seasons don't begin and end with the performance of the Yankees, it's just about that time again. And when November rolls around, will I remember the Bartman curse, the curse of the billy goat (WTF), the Sports Illustrated curse, the Peter Gammons curse, or perhaps something even more conspiratorially intricate?

For those of us who can't quite bring ourselves to believe, or who find the field-of-dreaminess of early April a little much, I submit for your perusal the McSweeney's Guide to the upcoming baseball season, in two separate flavors (AL and NL). Perhaps my favorite entry of the bunch:

Milwaukee Brewers After a horrific start, the Brew Crew sign free agents Brook Fordyce and Robert Machado to become their catching battery. They two combine to bat for .450, hit 124 HRs, and knock in 230 RBIs. Brook and Robert become co-MVPs and lead the Brewers to a second-to-last-place finish.

After the season the two put an unprecedented "siamese twin" addendum into their contract, ensuring they will always platoon at catcher with each other. Long after their careers are over, the two retire to a small midwestern town to co-manage a minor league team while dabbling in amateur crime-solving.



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This page is a archive of entries in the sports category from April 2004.

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