And I don't say that to taunt them — the juice has slowly gone out of our once-great rivalry since they left the NL East, and the Bartman Etc. collapse was crueler than anything I'd wish on the fans of any baseball team. OK, 29 baseball teams.
As a lifelong Met fan, I know bad. I know raw-and-too-young bad, tired-and-too-old bad, put-together-wrong bad, hatred-in-the-clubhouse bad, too-far-to-go bad, and lots of other varieties of the disease. But the Cubs look like something worse: They look like no-longer-give-a-rat's-ass bad. They played today like it was getaway day in late September, like they were simultaneously sleepwalking and underwater. While we were moving runners and taking out second basemen and doing all the not-in-the-box-score things that get games won, they were swinging at anything and everything that came near the batter's box.
The jaw-droppingest exhibition of badness today? It was the bottom of the 5th. A monsoon imminent, game not official yet, Steve Trachsel on the mound, and what did the Cubs do? They went out on six pitches. Six! And then, as if on cue, it started to pour. OK, maybe they knew the forecast was for a brief shower, but c'mon. Hope for strange weather. Make the notoriously finicky Trachsel fight through the 5th in heavy rain so he comes back flustered or the bullpen has to expend innings. Do things fucking right, for fuck's sake.
That made it official for me: The Cubs had long since proven they can't do anything. But in that inning they showed they also can't do nothing.
And you know the worst part? I actually felt sorry for Greg Maddux. That's probably because his location isn't what it was and without it he's not just hittable but poundable and it's always ugly to see a great player coming unraveled. But I think it was also because he was so utterly alone out there.
Here's what Maddux said after the game: “I love playing in Chicago, no question. I understand there are choices that have to be made. The city and the organization have been great to me. But whatever happens, happens. Either way, I'm good with it.”
And here's what the voice in his head was screaming: “GET ME THE FUCK OUT OF THIS HELLHOLE! FUCK! I MEAN, FUCK! DID YOU SEE THAT FUCKING SHIT? I'VE GOT 311 WINS AND THEY ALMOST RENAMED THE CY YOUNG AWARD AFTER ME AND NOW I'M THE FUCKING FEATURED ATTRACTION AT FUCKING AMATEUR NIGHT IN CLOWN COLLEGE! I'LL GO TO DETROIT! I'LL GO TO TEXAS! I'LL GO TO SAN DIEGO! I'LL GO CLUTCHING THE SKID OF A FUCKING HELICOPTER LIFTING OFF THE ROOF OF THE TRIBUNE BUILDING UNDER FUCKING ENEMY FIRE! JUST GET ME THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!”
P.S.: Amused myself tonight by watching Pelfrey's debut on TiVo. Boy did he look raw. And the Gene Simmons tongue thing is very, very strange. I hope somebody told him he might be a 10-year veteran before he sees 17 runs worth of support again. Seeing Henry Owens was a bonus. I knew he had ungodly numbers, but that motion is pretty otherworldly, too: He looks like a man who's being attacked by bees.
My favorite moment of the whole thing, though, was this exchange between Keith and Gary:
Keith (musingly): I wonder where we'll be in 50 years?
Gary (immediately): Dead.