Write Derek at drksmart @ gmail.com
Write Phil at phil.bencomo @ gmail.com
Repeat After Me: The Cosmos Does Not Care
by Derek Smart
I don't get to go to a lot of games. Tickets are hard to come by, not to mention the time involved. Not that I don't watch the contests anyway, but there's a big difference between hanging out with your family until your four-year-old is safely stowed in her dream factory then catching up via the DVR, and leaving the house at six to get home at ten-thirty when everyone's asleep - and that timeframe's assuming a relatively speedy resolution.
So, because I don't go often, I find myself approaching such an outing with no little trepidation, my assumption being that the rarity of my attendance will somehow set the Gods' tempers ablaze, with the wreaking of vengeance the only possible food for the hungry flames. The Gods must eat, and my pain will feed them.
Naturally, it doesn't help my mentality when I spend the morning of my adventure writing a short but ardent paean to the brilliance of that evening's scheduled starter. It's one thing to tempt the Gods' palates with the fruit of my ballpark presence, but quite another to sauce it with hubris.
Therefore, it was to my surprise and undying pleasure that my presence and praises were consequence free, and despite all my unintentional efforts to the contrary, I was treated to a night at the ballpark (thanks to a parent of one of my daughter's classmates who happens to be a season ticket holder with an occasional spare) that not only featured victory, but emphatic triumph with oomph to spare.
With Big Z on the hill the game looked well in hand before it began, but I was all too aware of my earlier mention in this space that he had but one outing on the season that saw him give up more than two runs, and when Jody Gerut, of all people, launched one to right to give the Padres a 2-1 lead, I feared I'd scotched the whole deal with my ramblings.
This, of course, was silly. I don't have that kind of power. Never have. No one does, despite all our protestations to the contrary - our shifting of couch positions to gain perceived advantage, our closed lips while a no-hitter gestates. Yet, there I was, worried that my influence on the universe was so profound that a few scribblings in the Ether could alter the course of history.
Not so, and happily.
The Cubs laid it on thick in the fifth, then went on to remove all doubt in the sixth, following this season's tried and true offensive formula of waiting for good pitches, and ripping them when they came. Sure, Z wound up having only his second outing of the year where he gave up more than two tallies, but if allowing three runs in seven innings is Zambrano's B-game this year, it's going to be a helluva fun season.
If nothing else, I've learned that there's nothing I can do to knock these boys off course. I knew that intellectually, but the history of this team makes one a bit more susceptible to superstitious silliness - or, at least, it does me. Whatever I say, whatever I do, they're going to play well or not based entirely on what they bring on a given day, and right now, what they're bringing is profoundly fun to watch.
The Cubs had a rough patch, now they're through it, and the time has come for them to take control of their destiny - grab those proverbial bull horns - and create some space between themselves and their divisional rivals. The lead is ripe for the widening, and I can say that now because not only will my words have no negative effect, but because this team is simply good enough to get it done.