Admit it: It has been a rough week watching the Cubs.
For one day—Monday—all seemed to be right with the world. Everyone was healthy. The team played well and won. The Tribune era appeared to quickly be ending, and for the first time in months, at least I felt like the team might put it together enough to make a run.
No, not the 97 wins type of run, but more like the 85 wins and back into the playoffs sort of thing. That is starting to seem more and more like what the eventual National League Central champion will look like.
So what happens?
First, that tentative deal with the Ricketts? Not so tentative anymore, with the Utay group stepping in to make a last-minute bid. I mean, really? Really?
As if this sale weren't going to drag on long enough as is, Zell wants to turn this into a cage match at the 11th hour. It was going to be bad enough watching creditors pick apart the deferred millions in the deal that they won't be getting quick, if any, access to, but now this?
I take back what I said before: I don't even look for the sale to get completed this season now.
If I may say so, I like Sam Zell, but I would not want to involve myself in any business dealings with the man. I can't find anyone who has enjoyed working with him, and I've actually looked.
Think it doesn't affect the 2009 team? Jim Hendry is already intimating that the money well is dried up for this season, with quite possibly no moves to be made at the trade deadline.
Bluffing? Maybe. Hendry and deals are like teenagers and Internet porn—a curious oddity that he finds irresistible.
Either way, I bet those words don't come out of his mouth if Zell is still looking to keep the team bright and shiny new-looking for prospective buyers.
Tuesday: Ryan Dempster was injured while jumping over a fence. Did he high jump it or something?
He'll be out for a few weeks, although fortunately half of that should be the All-Star break.
When you get injured just taking the field, maybe you should spend that time off looking into a new conditioning program. I hate to call the modern baseball player soft, but...
Wednesday: An impotent lineup became more so with Geovany Soto scratched from the game with an oblique strain. He's listed as day-to-day, with MRI results due back by Friday. Not bad normally, but when those days include a four-game series with the Cardinals, well, I end up needing an off-day too.
I hope they don't, and yes, I acknowledge that it is possible to stumble into the playoffs without it. Maybe Soriano hits and Bradley slugs, and all of a sudden you're in the mix, but the likelihood seems more and more remote that the team as composed is going to get it together offensively.
If the ball club won't recognize that, and address it, then what is there to do? At that point, you're the Seattle Mariners 10 years ago: a good team that relied too heavily on the injured and under-performing, leaving the club to wither and die without reinforcements to carry on the fight.
Back to this game for a moment, which was a comedy of errors if ever there was one.
Whether Kevin Hart walking five, including the pitcher, to keep the fourth inning alive; Jake Fox totally missing a Martin Prado single, allowing Nate McLouth to score; or a ridiculous two-run ninth that I'd, personally, like to forget—the Cubs gave a Bobby Cox team too many extra outs, and you're always going to lose when you do that.
Couple that with an impotent offense, and the game is over before it even really starts.
Seriously Jim, go get that bat; jump-start a team badly in need of it.
Don't make us beg.