The Cardinals 4-3 Victory Over Chicago Cubs Takes Backseat to Off-Field Stories

Damen JacksonCorrespondent IApril 25, 2009

CHICAGO - APRIL 17:  Carlos Marmol #49 of the Chicago Cubs pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals on April 17, 2009 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

April 24th, 2009

The games on the field are starting to become almost secondary to the drama surrounding the Cubs off it. They lost the opener of their series against the Cardinals 4-3 in St. Louis Friday. But the sub-stories will have most forgetting about that game almost immediately.

Four words I never want to hear: Carlos Marmol is injured. Or for that matter, Aramis Ramirez is injured. Friday's game featured both, with Aramis Ramirez leaving the game in the fifth with a strained calf, and Marmol exiting the game later with knee discomfort.

Fans, be very afraid. While the extent of their injuries is undetermined, and status unconfirmed, this is a very problematic situation. Carlos Marmol at least sounded like his injury was the less significant of the two, but any lower-body injury with Ramirez has to raise concern. Even if the Cubs don't place him on the disabled list, expect him to be babied over the next week-10 days, regardless.

Honestly though? It's a DL stint in waiting, especially given the lack of positional depth there on the 25 man roster. Either way, stay tuned.

But back to the game for a moment, where things got really interesting. In something of a desperate attempt to kick start a dormant offense, Lou went with what I might call an unconventional lineup against the Cardinals.

Alfonso Soriano, hitting third.

Ryan Theriot, hitting leadoff.

Derrek Lee, in perhaps a foretelling of things to come, hitting fifth.

Oh, and news out of the Cubs office that once Milton Bradley finally returns, expect him to get dropped in the lineup.

Piniella called it an attempt to get his best hitters more at-bats at the top of the lineup, but I think most if not all of us realize that when you're hitting Theriot at lead-off, you're really just grasping.

And for all you folks that were wondering, the trio went a collective 2-13 in their new spots. One can only hope that these experiments are short-lived.

But none of this—and really, I mean none—was more interesting that the Sun-Times interview with Milton Bradley. Normally, I don't recommend MSM pieces, mostly because they give me little reason to. But the Gordon Wittenmyer piece is a must read.

If you haven't been following, Bradley has shut off the Chicago media since the start of the home stand, supposedly feeling that the press would put too much focus on his injury.

I wouldn't have thought to much about it, but when he spit in their collective eye earlier this week, by granting his only post-game interview to cubs.com—a.ka., the House Scribe—and with great fan fare as on-looking media types watched, well, all bets are off.

Give it a read, and in the meantime, let me offer a couple of refreshing ideas for Milton. Your role in addressing the press is not an option, it's a responsibility. Period. The notion that you can go and hide away, while playing on an internationally followed sports team is infantile.

And if you don't like the flavor of the fans and media, don't sign the contract for future reference. Chicago media is no great secret. The Bradley reaction is something akin to getting into Chicago, and deciding that you're going to be 30 minutes later each day to the ball park than everyone else, because the traffic is bad. Or that you'll need more money, due to the expensive apartment that you'll need to get. These things are all natural to living and working in Chicago as an athlete. Sorry.

You got 30 million dollars in a bad market to be a leader on a major market team, and you need to understand and accept all the responsibilities that come with it.You're not playing, all your warts have been put on display in the first few weeks, and these distractions appear to be mostly of your own doing.

We're not even out of April, and it's already getting surreal in Cubbie Nation.

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