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Freaks and geeks
by alex ciepley
I went out last night to a cozy music spot in the West Village, a place with overpriced-but-good food and a stage so small the pianist (and backup vocalist) in the band had his back to his audience. I was there in large part to see a singer-songwriter I've followed off and on for a few years now, but as an added benefit it was a convenient excuse to not feel compelled to watch anxiously the Cubs on TV.
I'm an admitted freak right now. Actually, most of my friends would say I'm a freak all the time, but my freakiness is in its full-moon glory in these painful September days. Can the Cubs pull it out? Will Prior have two good starts in a row? Will the offense hit seven homeruns or be shut out? Will Alou hit a cutoff man, run the bases competently, or take a pitch against a wild tosser? (At least the Alou questions don't actually cause me any stress, since the answers are a self-evident "No", "No", and "No".)
When I got home from the show last night, I sat in front of my laptop for 20 minutes, doing everything I could to avoid seeing how the Cubs did. I browsed five different news networks homepages, trying to distract myself from baseball by immersing myself in political headlines. I wasn't really reading the headlines, though; it was just a diversion. "John Kerry today lashed... Did the Cubs win? Did the Giants and Astros somehow both win while playing each other? ...and Bush responded by claiming that... Did seven Cubs go down with injuries? Were the Cubs shut out by some 19 year old rookie, or an ancient scrub reliever?... and the Presidential race has taken yet another turn."
Having spent these 20 minutes freaking out and, in effect, preparing myself for the worst, it was with pleasure that I finally went to Cubs.com to see that Chicago had pulled out a win. An uglyish win, perhaps, but a win nonetheless.
In yesterday's comments, there was some discussion about who Cubs fans should be rooting for in the Giants-Astros series. While the main thing to root for, of course, is continued Cubs wins, scoreboard-watching is indeed a secondary task in the late season. I put out there that I'm rooting for the Giants, for two reasons:
"1) the Giants have a much tougher schedule the rest of the season, including a 6-game dogfight with L.A. They'll have a harder time keeping up their pace from here on out.
2) I can stomach the Cubs losing out to the Giants for the Wild Card. I really can't stomach the Cubs losing to the Astros."
I'll stick with those reasons for now, even though the second one is really hogwash (I'll be pretty bummed if the Cubs lose to either team; I just have a particularly acute hatred of the Astros -- the only team other than the Yanks that I actively loathe). Rob G. actually outlined a pretty tasty scenario given the current series:
"If I could pick an ultimate scenario for the Cubs for this series it would be a sweep for the Giants over the Astros, a sweep for the Padres over the Dodgers, and we sweep the Pirates. The Dodgers/Giants would be tied going into their series, the Astros would be done, the Padres are already done, and then as long as we take at least 2 out of 3 from the Mets, we'll be in a playoff spot, no matter what happens with the Giants/Dodgers series this weekend."
I'd take that. Tough game today—think the Cubs can bash Oliver Perez two times in a row?