This time the Cubs can’t blame Billy Goat

This time the Cubs can't blame Billy Goat

Though I no longer belong to the Wrigleyville parish, it doesn’t mean I have any more patience for tired and overused narratives about the Cubs. I do not find “#Cubes” any more entertaining or pertinent than I did when I bled blue. Most, if not all, should have been washed away by the 2016 World Series win. Whatever stink/aura is around the Cubs these days is purely self-inflicted by an ownership group that did not want to build on said victory. There is no “Cubiness” involved. There is no burden for them to carry from simply being the Cubs.

And yet it was difficult, to put it kindly, to ignore the callback that the Cubs put forth on Tuesday night in Atlanta. Not only did they blow a 6-0 lead to an Atlanta team that is essentially in a beach chair until the Division Series, but this is how they capped it off in the bottom of the 8th:

If you’re not up on your Cubs history of incompetence, most Cubs fans of a certain age were getting debilitating flashbacks to September 23rd, 1998, when the Cubs were also trying to flag down a wild-card spot, and blew a 7-0 lead to the Brewers, which they capped off with this:

When Ian Curtis wrote, “They keep calling me…” this is what he was talking about.

To be fair to Brown, and give hope to Seiya Suzuki, those ‘98 Cubs did wind up as the wild-card team, thanks to the unearthed treasure of a Neifi Perez walk-off homer in Colorado on the last day of the season and a game 163. The latter isn’t available to the Cubs now, and Perez probably isn’t coming out of retirement to bail them out again (though Cubs fans paid the price for that homer by having to watch Perez suit up for them later. Believe me I KNOW the penance that was).

The similarities don’t really end there, as it’s completely, cosmically unfair to both Brown and Suzuki that they were the ones to commit such calamitous errors in the last week of a season. Brown was a pretty well-thought-of prospect that sadly couldn’t play his natural position at first base thanks to the presence of Mark Grace, and moved to the outfield in 1998 where he had never played before. He had an .850 OPS that year, and the Cubs wouldn’t have made the playoffs without him (including two walk-off homers in a week span that I ditched school to see in person on both occasions).

Suzuki has been carrying the Cubs the past few weeks, slashing .375/.434/.727 in September. He’s also played mostly an exemplary right field as well, and this cock-up is truly out of character for him.

The Cubs caught a mini-break in that the Marlins were rained out of their game in Queens, meaning they’d have to sweep a doubleheader today to make this gaffe really hurt. The Reds still basically need to win out to be heard from, and they don’t have the pitching to do so.

Baseball isn’t just about the echoes of happiness and glory past. Its richness comes also from the misery and heartbreak of history making itself known from time to time. Cubs fans know this too well, which is why 2016 was as special as it was. Just when one thinks they’ve left an era or identity behind for good, it orbits back around with the nastiest right hook possible.

How can you not get romantic about baseball? After all, a huge part of romance and love is feeling like garbage.

Maybe this will catch on as an Olympic event

Interesting times in India:

These days, running away from drug testers after a race probably should be part of the Olympics. Now that’s television.

And, finally, Uecker on booze and Brooks Robinson

Let’s end with Bob Uecker, first covered in booze, because yeah:

And then with a story about Brooks Robinson, who passed yesterday:

Follow Sam on Twitter @Felsgate and on Bluesky

Original source here

#time #Cubs #blame #Billy #Goat

About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.