Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Negative Fans to Blame for Impending (possibly) Sweep?

Our esteemed host Kurt Evans wrote the following after the Cubs 7-2 loss to the Dodgers on Wednesday night: 

"I've predicted that if the Cubs lost Game One, they could be swept, and the negative fans are the reason why.  I will stand by that prediction."

Kurt is a fan, like the rest of us and his opinion matters the same.  Strike that...his opinions around here carry more weight, because this is his house, afterall.  And since he and I are friends, and this is his house, I am not going to come in here and pee all over the furniture.

No, I don't need that much space, the corner will do just fine.

Negativity amongst the Cub fan base will not cause this team to get swept; 7 walks by your starting pitcher in just 4.2 innings, will.  2 for 19 at the plate with no RBI by the top five hitters in your batting order, that will also suffice.  Actually, that is an improvement over last year's 1 for 20 performance by the top five against Arizona in game one.

Your leadoff hitter showing the plate discipline of a rookie in the second week of March, that will sting a bit.

Walking the bases loaded twice in the first four innings, that could have something to do with it.  Had I mentioned that yet?

Sorry my man, I am just a bit down after this one.

Prior to Kurt coming on my radio show on Tuesday, I said the following in my show open (paraphrasing):

Am I the only Cubs fan that is scared that Ryan Dempster will revert to the mean?  Am I the only Cubs fan that expects D-Lee to keep grounding into double plays, for Alphonso Soriano to put up the following two letters, K and E more than R-B-I?  Am I the only Cubs fan that expects Zambrano to pitch the way he did in all but one of his September appearances?  Am I the only Cubs fan that expects Fukudome to play like....well, Fukudome at the plate?

Hey, I still had hope.  I still clung to the hope that this might really be the year.  But I have gotten wiser in my late 30's.  I now know how to manage pain better.  I know how to distance myself between the shock of the 2003 collapse and the gut shot that went with it, to just sort of expecting the pain first and if it doesn't come, then being pleasantly surprised.

It's sad to say it, but I laid the groundwork in emotionally distancing myself from this Cubs team about two weeks ago, once it was apparent they were going to make it to the playoffs.

And especially when the Cubs had every chance to lay down, just a little bit more, against the Mets...or to rise up and swat away the Brewers, thus giving the Cubs the Mets in the playoffs instead of the Dodgers, the team that I had not wanted them to play since about the middle of July as I went through my playoff scenarios.

The old axiom is that good pitching beats good hitting in the playoffs.  And I was not exactly sold on the Cubs pitching staff in a five game series.

A 162-game regular season?  Heck yes, I like it.  Five games or go home?  Not so much.

Now, as we turn the page on this footnote in Cubs history, game one, we look ahead to game two...and Carlos Zambrano will be on the hill for the Cubs.

This dream of a season pretty much rests on his right arm...or rather, the stuff between his ears.  How does that make you feel right about now?

One last point that rammed things home to me.

Our cats were looking at me really pissed off in the top of the 9th, so I got in the car to get them some food.  I had my radio with me, and headphones on as I went into the store.

That's when Pat Hughes said the Cubs were on the verge of losing their 7th straight playoff game, which they accomplished.

I had totally forgotten that the Cubs were up 3 games to 1 in 2003.  I remembered they had lost the last two, but I forgot they lost the last three.

Z....please....your city needs you.


Negative fans? You know, I'm

Negative fans?

You know, I'm sick of this. I heard Kaplan had a schtick with this too. You want to know MY PROBLEM? Even if you don't, here it is:

most of us normal fans are PRICED RIGHT THE F**K OUT OF MARKET for the playoffs. Us fans who went to as many games as we could possibly afford, yelling and screaming all season long - where are we? AT HOME or in a bar. Why? Because MLB jacks up prices. Why? Because the club promotes secondary and massively overpriced resales on Stubhub! GREED GREED GREED.

So, no, don't blame ME or the average joe fan because some corporate schmuck or bandwagon ass with thousands to spend on Stubhub took my place and then sat there like a bump on a f***ing log.

God I am so pissed.

I think this comment should

I think this comment should be directed more at me than at Miller re: the fans at the game.

You make a valid point, DB, about the way MLB handles post season tickets. Chances are, less than half the seats at Wrigley were made available to the "average fan," and even then, they're jacked up so much that the average fan is left out in the cold.

Still, the people who were at the game should have been people who WANTED to be there, and they should have acted a little less depressing.

P.S. Don't get mad, but I edited your comments for the swears. We want to try to keep the blog clean of f-bombs

I wasn't railing so much at

I wasn't railing so much at any one here in particular, just venting my spleen. Sorry about the Fs, I understand the edits.

"fans", etc.

The crowd last night was like watching the All-Star Game or a Super Bowl -- all corporate stiffs. But what I can't wrap my head around was that in Philly, the crowd was fantastic. Sure it was a little earlier and probably 20 degrees warmer, but it is the PLAYOFFS.

I also was really hoping Dempster could find the damn strike zone and hang on for the win so that Z wouldn't have the immense pressure he will be facing tonight. Who knows who we'll get tonight -- Dr. Carlos (Jekyll) or Mr. Zambrano (Hyde)?

There should be no Fukudome until after the stretch, Soriano should have some instruction on not swinging at breakers in the dirt or a foot off the plate, Derrek needs to lift a ball beyond the infield dirt, and so help me God if I see Cedeno doing anything more strenuous than clapping.

There, I feel better now. I may even be able to put off drinking until late afternoon.

It comes down to Z

If Z doesn't show up, this team won't show up, and we might as well not make the trip out to LA.

Issues with Cubs laid bare

The Cubs leadoff hitter bats .252 against righties. Fukudome should never had been batting second. Dempster didn't revert to the mean. He has faced better batting orders and fared decently. He has done well against the Cardinals and the Phillies. I felt he was pressing too much. He was trying get hitters to chase pitches out of the zone. He wasted at least pitches trying to strike out Lowe. He should let Lowe to try hit the ball into play. Lowe is a .150 hitter. I am fairly certain he will not turn into Babe Ruth just for one night. I don't care if the pitcher is CC Sabathia. You go after him. He did a decent job against Manny. Marshall didn't look too bad. The home run he gave up was ridiculous. It was nearly in the dirt. Marquis is clearly not the answer for long relief.

As far as Cubs fans being negative, it is part of being a Chicago fan in general. I mean look at the stoogelike moves all of the Chicago teams have made. The Bears trading a first round pick for Rick Mirer. The Bears trying make Hester a number one receiver. The Blackhawks under Bill Wirtz not having their game televised locally. The Blackhawks trading away Dominik Hasek. Outside of the Reinsdorf owned teams the city of Chicago has not seen any real sustained success over the last 20 years.

Boston fans are every bit or even perhaps more negative than Cubs fans, yet somehow the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series. Can't blame the fans on this one. These guys are professionals. It is unfortunate that two of the Cubs best players are ultrasensitive.

Right now, I feel like the main character of "PI" after he had a nervous breakdown. I feel calm and not worried anymore.

Anyway, hopefully, Zambrano won't be "a screw" today.

Chicago Tribune's Chicago's Best Blogs award