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by Derek Smart
Rarely has the end of a season held such relief. Rarely have I been so grateful for the cessation of baseball activities, for the opportunity to rest my weary eyes, to no longer feel the pull to watch the unspeakably foul train wreck horror show that was this latest Cub season.
Adding to the palliative nature of the day is the word that Andy MacPhail will no longer be steering the ship, with marketing whiz John McDonough taking over, at least on an interim basis.
There's a part of me that finds the idea of the man behind many of the things that have made a day at Wrigley less and less about baseball over the years repulsively appropriate, but despite my initial sneer, I'm left with this thought: if anyone in the organization has been an unqualified success at his job, that man is McDonough, and if he is as committed to winning as he has been committed to marketing, he could turn out to be an inspired choice.
Barring a series of events too odd to explain, Dusty Baker will finally be given his walking papers, told that he will not be asked to rejoin the team now or ever, ending what has been the baseball equivalent of a 1000-mile walk to the gas chamber. It will simply be good to have some sort of resolution, however anti-climactic.
I had this plant once. It was a hanging plant, the kind with flat, green and yellow mottled leaves. I'm exquisitely awful with plants, to the point where I should have my photo up in any nursery, the botanist's equivalent of Public Enemy #1. Yet I kept this plant alive for years.
The problem was, the plant should have died many times over. Because my thumb couldn't be more brown if I soaked it in henna for a week, I would simply forget to water it for extended periods, only remembering when I noticed the poor thing's severe droop and crunchy texture, at which point I would promptly moisten and revive.
I did this time and again, allowing this poor thing to reach the brink of death, to nearly escape this sad existence, only to cruelly pull it back, restoring it to health for no other purpose than to re-enter the cycle, to nearly die, then live again and wish for the end.
Finally, we moved, and lacking the will to transport it to our new digs, we left the plant in the alley to die or be claimed by a passing stranger. Either it would meet its eventual end and find the peace it so richly deserved, or be picked up by someone who would hopefully be more responsible. Just because it was a plant doesn't make it okay.
In the end, I'm just happy that it's over, that no matter who manages the team next year, no matter what players are brought on board, no matter what Jim Hendry's eventual fate might be, we have a few days, maybe even weeks, where we can at least rest, and in our weaker moments, dream of a time when the end of the season will be a source, not of relief, but of unmitigated joy.