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Except Without The Aliens And Starships
by Phil Bencomo
Maybe it's because I've seen the films a few too many times, or because I've had too much free time lately to think about such things, but either way, I can't help but look at the 2007 Cubs and think: Star Wars. (The Original Trilogy, mind you.)
The parallels are simple enough. The Cubs started out the season very poorly, just as the Rebels fell on hard times in Episode IV; early on it looked like all hope was lost. The Princess captured, peaceful Alderaan destroyed -- and the Cubs were nearly ten games under.
But wait! Young Luke Skywalker shows up and destroys the Death Star, delivering a terrible blow to the Empire, and for a brief moment the Rebels are on top. The Cubs, too, were on top for a short time, taking hold of first place by percentage points with the help of dashing young heroes like Carlos Marmol, Sean Marshall and Mike Fontenot.
But it was not to last. Currently, I'd say the Cubs are still struggling through Episode V. A 4-7 mark in August -- things are not going as I'd like them to. And like Luke, the Cubs may have lost a key appendage (i.e. Soriano), but the replacements -- a new hand and Matt Murton -- have turned out to be more than capable.
So when you think about the season this way, yesterday's 15-2 drubbing doesn't really strike the same ominous chord that it might from another perspective, largely because if we're talking Star Wars, that means Episode VI and victory (complete with an Ewok celebration) is still to come.
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So long as we're drawing parallel lines here, why not include Jacque Jones? He strikes me as a Lando Calrissian-type guy. The whole double crossing business is hard to forgive, and I'm sure many Cub fans would have liked to get their hands on Jones -- like Chewbacca on Lando -- even just a few weeks ago, but Lando does redeem himself in the end and plays a vital role in the Rebel Alliance's eventual victory.
Jones, it seems, is on the same path. He's is a big reason why the Cubs' record in August isn't a lot worse than 4-7; he's done nothing but hit all month, to the tune of .425/.465/.650.