Monday, October 06, 2008

Cubs Post Mortem...and I Mean That Literally

The playoff crash? Too depressing for words. That being said... I think now is also not the time for Cubs players to be spouting off the way Soriano supposedly did in the papers. If they are quoting him correctly...that boy needs a few lessons in being a team member. Not to mention maybe some extra BP next time we make the playoffs, so he looks better than a Little Leaguer up at the plate. Oh, for the Fabulous Bret on the North Side.... (sigh) More in a bit, Janny


Denn Mom said...

I am in mourning, too. What happened? My mom told me her greatest fear now that the Cubs were out was that the White Sox would make it further than theym and she'd have to hear it from all the Sox fans (namely my dad). At least that didn't happen!
Hey I looked over your site more and noticed you do book production for OSV! I'm a copy editor by trade -- do you ever hire freelance book editors? That's something I've been looking to do now that I'm at home full time with the kids. E-mail me at if OSV is hiring!
Go Bears...

Deb said...

Go Bears, indeed.

Have you heard any rational, cogent explanation of why the Cubs, despite a stellar record in the regular season, ALWAYS do the meltdown thing during the playoffs? Other than the Curse of the Goat, I mean?

Janny said...

I know why it happened this year; it was the "deer in headlights" phenomenon. The Cubs put enormous pressure on themselves with the 100-year thing being bandied about constantly, all year long, and it interfered with their ability to play. I think they literally failed to truly celebrate winning the division because they were "supposed" to do that...and any time you don't completely relieve the pressure, it can build up.

I also think that, in a way, they looked past the Dodgers all the way to the World Series. They had no reason to think anyone would stand in their way--at least no rational reason on paper. They outscored anyone else in major league baseball by almost 200 runs; you would think that scoring runs would have been the LAST thing we had to worry about. Yet, for some reason, the 2006 Cubs showed up (who were legendary for NOT scoring runs) instead of the 2008 Cubs, and the rest is history.

As for it "always" does seem like that. We forget that in several rounds of the playoffs, we got pretty far "in" before being eliminated, and usually through some scrappy games. 1984, we were cheated out of a home game by Major League Baseball, which I think to this day kept us out of the World Series that year. 1989 was weird, with the earthquakes and everything else that got in the way. :-) 2003, I lay squarely at the feet of Larry Rothschild; Mark Prior NEVER lost his cool during that whole year until that fateful "Bartman ball"--and yet Larry sat on his hands and did not go out to calm down his young pitcher at a time when a few wise words from the pitching coach would have made all the difference in the world. Remember, even when that foul ball took its truly foul path, the Cubs were still up in the ball game. Prior could have settled down, gotten out of the inning and gone on to October glory. Instead, he got agitated, lost his control, and the next thing we knew, the game had gotten away. All other things being equal, if we'd have had Geovany Soto that year, we STILL might have made the Series...because even if Larry was too stupid to go out and calm his pitcher down, Soto would have been at that mound on the fly.

So there are a lot of contributing factors to a disappointing ending like this. The baseball pundits can talk all they want to about the playoffs "proving" who's the better team at the end of the year, but in reality, the playoffs prove nothing of the kind--they merely favor whichever team happens to get hot for three to four games in a series. Period. For proof of this, all you need to do is consider that the two best teams in Major League Baseball this year will NOT be playing in the postseason. With the old format of World Series qualifying, that wouldn't have ever been an issue.

So there you go. Question answered? :-)