View From The Bleachers

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Tuesday

10

October 2017

45

COMMENTS

Another Worthwhile Experience

Written by , Posted in General

I was sitting in my AP Government class, my computer muted with the Ireland-Wales World Cup qualifier match and Game Four of the Red Sox and Astros playing simultaneously as I drowned out the umpteenth debate on healthcare in that class. As Jimmy McClean scored the goal sending Ireland to the qualifying playoffs and Chris Sale shut down the ‘Stros in the 7th inning, I positioned myself for the sprint to the student center, which has a large flat-screen TV with cable, to watch the Cubs game.

The timing of sporting events is usually a blessing on the West Coast. College football starts at 9; the NFL, at 10. Most primetime events start at around 5 p.m. However, due to the four playoff baseball games to be played, the Cubs game would start at 1:08, right as my lunch period would begin.

When the bell rang marking the beginning of lunch, I ran to grab lunch and hustled to the student center only to find that a kid in my senior class who’s a Red Sox fan had beat me to the remote. God help his soul.

Disappointed that I had failed to secure a prime viewing location of the game, I decided to pursue the next best option, the projector of the school newspaper room. I logged in to MLB.tv using my dad’s password and used the airplay to watch the first two innings of the game as friends, mostly Dodger fans talking about how “this is our year,” trickled in, commenting on how overrated Schwarber is.

Of course, midway through the bottom of the 2nd inning, the bell rang, and I had calculus. As I took a quiz on derivatives, the only thing I could think about was my missing the Cubs playing a home playoff game. As my teacher lectured about the chain rule, the only thing I could think about was the game, hoping and praying that the period would not end with my seeing the score to be 13-0 in favor of the Nationals. When the period did end, it was the middle of the 5th inning; the score was still 0-0. As I drove home, I turned on ESPN radio on my phone, but the Bluetooth would not work in my car, so I had to listen to the static-filled commentary of ESPN’s B-radio guy and Jessica Mendoza—quite a combination. After the Nationals scored, I remained positive, saying to myself that “Schwarber will hit one into Lake Michigan to redeem himself. It will all be o.k.”

I came home and ran to my couch. After Almora singled home Zobrist, my brother refused to move from his spot on the couch, convinced that he alone the power to decide whether or not the Cubs were to score. As Carl Edwards pitched in the 8th, I annotated the Greek tragedy Medea for my English class in front of the TV, praying to almighty Zeus that this game would not turn into a tragedy in itself. When Rizzo hit the bloop single, the calm and nervous demeanor I had carried throughout the day disappeared. I yelled and screamed in joy, running around my house fist-pumping. Of course, the point of the game where I was most nervous was Daniel Murphy’s plate appearance against Wade Davis in the top of the 9th. Murphy looks like a hurler in County Wexford, not a baseball player in Washington D.C. I waited for his inevitable homerun, with his annoying follow-through. Thankfully, Wade Davis pitched an excellent ninth inning, and the Cubs now have a chance to clinch their third straight trip to the NLCS.

If there is anything upon which I can reflect today, it is that, despite the mind-numbing stress and torture playoff baseball gives me, I am living in a golden era of Chicago Cubs baseball. This team, while overlooked because of the successes of the Dodgers, Indians, and Astros, has a resilience like any other, and I cannot wait for the Cubs to enter my daily routine as they seek to bring me and all fans of this great team joy and happiness.

  • Sherm

    Well done. I felt like I was there with you (thank God I wasn’t – one time through High School was enough, thank you very much, but it was entertaining to hear about the hurdles of your day as a Cub fan.) Students should be given a handful of “flex” days over the course of the year to take off at their own discretion for any reason they want. Family vacation, don’t feel like going in today, Cubs in the playoffs, whatever. School, like work, is important, but it isn’t the ONLY thing.

    The old expression is “I’d rather be lucky than good” (at least the way my father used to say it) and yesterday I think the Cubs were BOTH lucky AND good.

    I honestly thought that Maddon was going to leave Schwarber in to give him a chance to redeem himself. I’m so glad he didn’t. Almora’s hit was big-time clutch. Personally? I’d have let Scherzer pitch to Schwarber (in a battle of the “Sch” names) because despite the long foul ball? I don’t think Schwarbs gets a hit there. Young guy squeezing his marbles into coal after that error? (Diamonds take too long) I think he’s swinging at ANYTHING. Glad it worked the way it did.

    Quintana was ice. I would have left him in longer – he was dealing, but that’s not Joe Maddon’s book. Whatever. It worked.

    Big AB for Tommy LaStella (again) and the simple walk led to winning that game. Bryant surprised me with a terrible at bat at the end…he usually adjusts well as the game goes on, and then the big Rizzo hit, but I thought Rizzo, for all the enthusiasm, might have been a little overboard on the whole “Respect Me” thing. For one thing, he’s not Aretha Franklin. Also, it was a duck snort – not like he hit a laser beam off the wall, and then followed it up with the Cubs second horrendous baserunning maneuver of the night. I do see a T-Shirt opportunity, though. Respect the Duck Snort. No? They’re all line drives in the scorebook, so again, I’m thrilled it worked out the way it did.

    With the rain coming today, I’d have Lackey READY to go as if he were starting. If Jake gets in a couple of innings and there’s a long delay? Lackey can step right in without Joe having to burn up the entire bullpen.

    • Eddie Von White

      My dad used to say: “That was more luck than sense.” Whatever it was, we’ll take it. Respect is a natural phenomena – can’t be forced on another person. The odds always favor the hitter making an out. I respect the fact that Rizzo beat the odds and managed to put the ball in play and it landed where Werth showed his werthlessness. I’m pretty sure it was Pat Hughes who willed that ball into in no-man’s land. It was Hug(h)ed.

      • You’re so right Eddie. Someone smarter than me once said “confidence is knowing you’re good. Arrogance is telling me about it.” I was thrilled with the hit, whatever it looked like. But I prefer the humility of Kris Bryant.

      • Kyle

        But you don’t necessarily have to be good to be arrogant. As someone is currently proving…

    • cap’n realist

      Let’s not discount the perfect bunt by Jay.

      • Sherm

        Right? The fellow who came up through the Cardinal organization and is, for all intents and purposes, as sound fundamentally as anyone on the team.

    • Adam Peters

      The “respect me” thing was ironic, because the reason it wasn’t caught is because they were respecting his power and the OF was all really deep.

      Maybe getting intentionally walked in Game 7 of the WS went to his head. Contreras hitting behind him provides much more incentive to pitch to Rizzo these days. Though, now that he’s 4-4 with RISP in the series the Nationals may rethink that.

  • Loved this, Colin! I enjoyed the perspective.

  • I have no use for AP Government.

    • Jerry in Wisconsin

      The only good government is a small government!

      • Brad Lyerla

        You would like East Congo.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        Sounds like a great place.

  • Brad Lyerla

    Colin, when I was a boy, there were no play offs. Just the World Series and all the games were played during the day. Those who had them would bring little devices called “AM receivers” (also sometimes called transistor radios) to school. We were not allowed to do this, but mostly the teachers would turn a blind eye when we turned them on to listen to an inning here or there between lessons.

    Your post brought back some good memories from a time very, very long ago. Thanks, and nice writing too!

    • Eddie Von White

      Was the wheel around back then?

      • Brad Lyerla

        Only in the northern states.

    • Adam Peters

      I brought my dad’s transistor radio to school when the Cubs were in the playoffs in ’84. I wasn’t supposed to, but c’mon, if there ever was an extenuating circumstance, that was it.

      My dad’s been gone for 26 years, but I still have that radio.

      • Brad Lyerla

        Adam, I got an AM transistor for xmas in ’63. I was nine. I begged for it because a kid named Jim had one and brought it to school for the Series that year and I wanted one too. I had mine until I got married in ’79. Then I upgraded to an AM/FM.

        I know so much of this makes me sound like an old f**t. But the memories are one of the reasons that I love baseball more than any other sport. I hope that Colin feels the same way one day.

      • Bryzzo1744

        I had an FM transistor radio 15 years ago. Then 5 years later, I upgraded to a portable AM/FM, with a CD player. I would listen to Cubs games on it while working out at New Trier

      • Fascinating.

      • Bryzzo1744

        Who said you couldn’t take it? Him or the school?

      • Adam Peters

        School. I never asked him. 😮

    • Doc Raker

      Tell us about the time you had a beer with Wally Pipp

  • Seymour Butts

    Priorities!
    Skip school. it will do you some good.

    • Bryzzo1744

      2.5 GPA!

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        Keep bragging, maybe someday someone will be impressed.

      • Bryzzo1744

        No one will care about my GPA anymore at the stage I’m at in my career.

      • Not so fast. We moved from Geiko because our Progressive agent had a 3.7 and played in the pep band.

      • Bryzzo1744

        My Allstate agent with a 2.5 GPA saved me $500 over my 3.8 GPA Geico agent. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have those $500 for myself. My Allstate agent also knows the laws of MA and knows what he’s doing. Unlike my former geico agent. Plus he got me better coverages.

      • As a bonus your 2.5 Allstate agent will call his customers idiots online in a public forum, FOR FREE!!!!

      • Bryzzo1744

        Not my agent. My time at Allstate was 3 years ago. I’m going to keep the dumb calls I get to myself from now on.

  • Adam Peters

    At the very least you could have watched the Gamecast on your phone on the ESPN app.

  • Adam Peters

    Strasburg NOT PITCHING TODAY. He is “under the weather.”

    • Michael S.

      That was what Dusty was feeding us last night…seeing indications that might be changing though. Nothing official yet.

      • Yeah.. my gut says they run out Strasburg. Either way though.. going to be another grind or two.

      • Michael S.

        Carrie Muskat on the Twitter:

        Strasburg will start, Cubs put Heyward in RF and drop Schwarber from the lineup.

      • Seymour Butts

        So the Dustbag was trying to play mental games.
        I would rather have Strasburg today, makes him less available for a possible tomorrow. However, I don’t expect there to be a game tomorrow.

      • Eddie Von White

        So if Strasburg does well, this sets the narrative for the announcers to go on and on of how dedicated he is because he pitched even though he was sick. The Cubs can get to him. I wonder what Dusty’s GPA was?

      • Michael S.

        Mental games, mold spores took control of his brain, who knows.

      • As if Washington DC has no mold.

      • Seymour Butts

        They have the greatest, most tremendous mold ever. (smiley face)

      • Bryzzo1744

        Lots of hot air and bullcrap

  • game on.. go Cubs

  • Michael S.

    I think it’s fair to say, at least on the NL side of things, the Cubs and the Nats have the best pitching in the playoffs.

  • Eddie Von White

    How would you like to be Zimmerman right now? Picked off by Lester.

    • Bryzzo1744

      HE’S OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!