Write Derek at drksmart @ gmail.com
Write Phil at phil.bencomo @ gmail.com
For Want of a Waffle Cone
by Derek Smart
What potions have I drunk of Siren tears,
Distill'd from limbecks foul as hell within,
Applying fears to hopes and hopes to fears,
Still losing when I saw myself to win!
- William Shakespeare, Sonnet 119
My faith in this team has been deeply shaken. I know this because when Jerry Hairston was picked off in the top of the first inning for the initial out of the frame today, my reaction wasn't an annoyed but measured, "Geez, Jerry, you can't let that sort of thing happen. Now, tighten it up and go get 'em next time," but rather one of hands tossed in the air and a forlorn and resigned, "Well, there goes the ballgame."
Of course, the worst part of making any statement like that is being right, or if not right (surely, one bad out at the start of the game doesn't forever ruin the possibility inherent in the next twenty-six outs) at the very least, prophetic.
Turns out I was exactly that, and despite some clutch work by some of the Cubs' hitters, every tied score - three of them - was answered by the Brewers reclaiming a one-run lead in the following half-inning, and the Crew being the home team with the final at bat, that practically doomed the Cubs to lose in the fashion they did - a bottom of the ninth walk-off hit.
It was that struggle to break free from the chains of Fate, to escape the well-laid plans of Destiny - both of which, chains and plans, having been won in a fixed poker game with Mystique and Aura - that made the eventual loss exponentially more pathetic.
We frown on laying down, even when the fight is hopeless, but it's times like these that the ease of use presented by abject failure has appeal when compared to a valiant battle against ordained results. Failure doesn't hurt as much when success was never an option.
Don't get me wrong, I admire the way the Cubs have continued to fight back in these last couple of games, and that spark of competitive fire bodes well for times when the club as a whole is playing better ball, but I must admit, there's a part of me that's simply tired of being taken to the ice cream shop every day, anticipating the cool, sweetness of the creamy confection, only to find, time and again, that I've arrived just as the day's supply ran out.
I have no solution to the issues that face the club, because I have no way to make the players perform up to their potential - something the majority of them are light-years from doing at the present time - and I have no way to keep the team as a whole from consistently snatching defeat from the jaws of victory - the one thing they're doing with aplomb at the moment.
I'm also still rational enough to understand that being three games under .500 after a mere 27 contests is far from a cause for panic. But you'll pardon me my feelings of hopelessness for the time being, as there's no ice cream to be found, and I so longed for a taste.