A few days ago, the Cubs were a team on the edge. They were winning, but a few tough losses and that might've been all it took for them to spiral out of playoff contention and into the crapper.
Two days ago, they lost Kerry Wood early again. Ouch.
Yesterday, the bullpen coughed up six runs (along with a fair share of blood) and they lost for the second time to the Cincinnati Reds.
Yesterday evening, Andy Dolan pronounced the season dead. Only eternal optimist Al Yellon had good things to say, reminding us Cubs fans that other teams from past seasons have gone on and made the playoffs, including the 2003 Cubs!
Meanwhile, speculation continues to bound while the Cubs take on the Deadbirds. Over at North Side Baseball, someone claiming to know a person in the Reds organization has said that Adam Dunn is on his way to Chicago. This has brought the poor guy nothing but scorn from the NSBB people, because if he's wrong, then he's a terrible person for getting everyone's hopes up.
Over in the comments section, I've been having a tepid debate with someone who goes by the name 368.
368 claims to like Aramis Ramirez, but finds it disconcerting that A-Ram doesn't run hard to first base. In spite of the fact that Aramis has had a nagging groin (and hamstring, and back) injury, 368 just can't get behind a guy who doesn't hustle to first base.
The Cubs had an infielder who hustled to first in spite of a sore groin. Want to see what happened to him the last time he tried to run out a ground ball?
Considering that Nomar's injury happened this year, does anyone really think Dusty is crazy enough to tell anyone on the team, "I don't care if your groin is catching a little, I want you to flat out run to first every single time!"
Ok, maybe Dusty is enough of a moron to tell his players to run it out even if they're sore, but I certainly hope he isn't. In fact, I feel pretty sure that Dusty probably pulled Aramis aside moments after they carried Nomar off the field and said the following:
"Aramis, dude, you just signed a huge contract extension. We need you to stay healthy, dude. If you hit the ball in the infield and it looks like it'll be an easy out, take it easy, dude. But still, run on the plays that matter. But dude, don't end up like Nomar. That'd be nothing but bad news, dude."
But, since Aramis also had a groin injury last year, he must have some commitment issues toward rehabbing.
Except you don't rehab a groin injury. You let it heal. If it doesn't heal, it's not because you haven't been working hard enough. It might be because you've been working too hard and pushed yourself more than you should have!
So, 368, as this will be the last time I address this issue, I say to you: give Aramis a break. If you really want him to run hard to first after every ground ball, just scroll back up and have a look at Nomar, our 8 million dollar bust. But if you want the Cubs to have a third baseman who's an All Star with the capability of 40 homers and 120 RBI in a season, then sit back, pray that Dusty's miracle holy water will heal Aramis, and watch the man play the game.
There are worse players on the Cubs who have a worse grasp of fundamentals who you could be picking on. But leave Aramis alone.