This Chicago Cubs blog is inspired by the Trib ads in the 80s called Tales from the Upper Deck, which featured one of my heroes and die-hard Cub fan, Mike Royko.
I spent a great deal of my time up in Aisle 424 of Wrigley Field with other Cubs season ticket holders from 1998 to 2010. We mainly talked about the Cubs or baseball, but we also delved into other topics on occasion. Though many of us have given up our Season Tickets now, we still get together to talk baseball and discuss the continuing failure of the Chicago Cubs to win a World Series in our lifetimes.
Tales from Aisle 424 usually resembles the occasionally insightful, mostly snarky, and nonsensical rants of me and my summer family (and it usually comes back around to the Cubs).
The true beauty of interleague play comes with the opportunity for those of us who follow the National League to see players from American League teams play, assuming we don't ever watch ESPN, FOX, TBS, the MLB Network, MLB.TV online, MLB apps for our iPhones or Droids, or any of the MLB packages that are available through our cable and satellite providers.
I recently vacationed in South Carolina for over a week and unless I was driving in the car, I only missed one Cubs game that I could have watched in Chicago on TV, and I only subscribe to the audio feeds on MLB.com so I got to listen to that game, and listened to the two games in the car on my laptop (thank you, Palm Pre wireless hotspot).
Also while on vacation, I got to see the end of Roy Halladay's perfect game and all of the aftermath from Galarraga's would-be perfect game. I had no shortage of baseball available to me and I was traveling away from my home satellite package. Am I really missing so much that I need to have a team I could care less about visit my home ballpark? Bud Selig seems to think it is important.
So here come the Athletics to Wrigley. Cubs fans get to see the excitement that is the double play combination of Adam Rosales and Cliff Pennington up close and personal. If it weren't for fantasy baseball, if someone had asked me who Cliff Pennington was, I probably would have mixed him up with Cliff Levingston and guessed he was a back-up power forward on the Bulls in the 90s.
At some point that may or may not be the 2010 season, some guy named Buca? Bola? Bock? gets congratulated by his Athletics teammates, from left to right: Beardo, Ski Cap, Baldy McBalderson, Pre-Pubescent, and Laughing Boy
Fans know who Dallas Braden is because he doesn't like Alex Rodriguez much (and neither does his grandmother) and he pitched the first perfect game of the year. Cubs fans will get a chance to give a standing ovation to ex-Cubs Eric Patterson and Michael Wuertz, but Jake Fox just got designated for assignment so he'll be missed. They also have Ben Sheets, who you may remember from Milwaukee's disabled list, but he won't make an appearance despite being healthy enough to pitch for now.
I don't know who the A's manager is and I'm not really feeling inclined to look it up. In fact, since I don't buy the scorecards anymore, I may never know who managed the Oakland A's in the 2010 season. Watch how that will come back to bite me in the ass in some future round of Final Jeopardy.
The Cubs are seven games under .500, they are 7.5 games behind the freaking Reds in the division, and last time I bothered to look they were even further behind in the wild card standings. Unless the Blackhawks become regulars at Wrigley, there are fewer and fewer reasons to drag my ass all the way down to the ballpark to watch them accidentally score one run per game. The Oakland Athletics being in town isn't doing anything to change my opinion in that regard either.
Maybe I should root for the Athletics. At least if the Cubs keep losing, the Ricketts will have a harder and harder time allowing Hendry to try to clean up the mess he has made of the roster. It isn't how things should have to happen, but the Cubs always have to have their failures shoved down their throats before they allow themselves to believe that the miracle just isn't going to happen.
At this point, if the Cubs managed to crawl back to .500 over the next two weeks, it would actually be worse for the organization. They would convince themselves they are buyers and end up trading away Andrew Cashner and /or Josh Vitters for someone like Octavio Dotel and I'll have to kill myself.
Then they would either get nothing in return for free agents leaving after this season, or even worse, re-signing them for way more money than they have left in their tanks. Let's face it, Ted Lilly is going to start regressing soon. He has had the best years of his career in Chicago. Can we just leave it at that instead of signing him for another three years where two of them will be spent wondering what happened to the awesomeness?
So I may be pulling for the Athletics somewhere in my brain. The heart won't allow me to openly cheer for another team, but the brain can make losses seem like a necessary means to an end to the point where I won't be depressed about them. So go out there and have a good game, Trevor Cahill, whoever you are.