Filed: October 1st, 2008
I should have known.
My breakfast was interrupted yesterday by a rather loud man behind me on his cell phone, proclaiming that the White Sox would beat the Twins senseless in the tiebreaker game Tuesday night. Now, if you've followed the Twins, or for that matter the Sox this season, you knew that was a stretch that only the most homer-ish fan would ever say. After trying to not snort oatmeal through my nose, I looked around to snicker at the gentleman, and saw it was none other than Bill Melton. No point in arguing as you know, but at the end of the day, he was right; mostly. The White Sox beat the Twins 1-0 on a Jim Thome 440-foot blast, and punched the last ticket to the 2008 playoffs for themselves. Sometimes I'm right -- more so than not -- but I am wrong on occasion. And when I made the statement that the 2008 Sox would excite, but ultimately win nothing at the start of this season, I was wrong. Congratulations to the White Sox, and here's to hoping for the best; just not at the expense of the Cubs.
Elsewhere, in a move that I don't completely understand, Lou Piniella will be staying with the Cubs, at least through 2010. I don't get it. He's said he doesn't want to be a lifer on a number of occasions, there's a decent chance that he could go out with a championship this year if he chose, and it's always difficult to fully get the direction that a new owner might take the club. I would imagine that he had some dialogue with the potential buyers before agreeing to the option, but one never knows. Four million bucks helps, but it's odd timing, in my opinion. I think from now on, the next time an athlete tells me that he's retiring, I'll just agree to believe it when I see it.
About tonight's game. I don't believe in billy goats. Black cats. Bartman, or curses. I believe that the Cubs were a shitty team for decades because that what the owners wanted or were content with. I don't know if the 2008 Cubs are the best; I also don't think that the Cubs have to win a World Series for this season to be a success. That's just not how it works, especially when you're trying to rebuild the very nature and existence of a franchise. What I do think though is that the Cubs are the best in the National League, and it's going to take more than a so-so Dodgers team to bounce them this year.
Make no mistake, the pitching is excellent for LA, especially the bullpen. Joe Torre is one of the finest managers in the game, if not the best. Manny Ramirez is a beast, and yes, I've been a big Casey Blake fan for the last few years. But when an already good-to-great team has beaten yours five of seven, that same team rolls into town without their ace, and you've got home-field advantage, then you're expected to win. And you probably will. The middle relief situation is a mess for the Cubs right now, but I look for the starters to go long, and Piniella to extend former starters Carlos Marmol and Kerry Wood to help close the gap. Hiroki Kuroda is a stud looming in Game 3, but a potential Game 4 match-up of Ted Lilly vs. Greg Maddux is enough to convince me that the Cubs are in the driver's seat.
Cubs in 4.