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Given and Taken Away
by Phil Bencomo
If lacked any sort of self-control, I'd spill hundreds of furious words lambasting the paradoxical Ronny Cedeno -- so good at times and maddeningly bad at others.
But, lucky for you, dear reader, I've got my temper in check. Yesterday was another story, but today it's sitting chastised in my mental backyard. And where does that leave me? Scatterbrained, really.
For one, I can't get this vision out of my head of Cedeno as some sort of wrath-filled and mythic god: He giveth and He hath taken away. Appease him, and fear his vengeance. It's comical in a way, but I feel wrong, masochistic almost, snickering as the Cubs stumble on October's doorstep.
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But for all the blame Cedeno deserves, don't forget who loaded the bases before the shortstop's gaffe.
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I try to read the Cub news from all of the big daily papers, if only to get a fuller picture of games I couldn't watch.
Case in point (though I did see this game), which is entirely nit-picky, and hardly worth mentioning, but caught my eye nonetheless:
... Cedeno misplayed a tough-hop bouncer toward second that should have been a game-ending double play.
That's how the Sun-Times' Gordon Wittenmyer described Cedeno's torturous ninth-inning miscue.
"Tough-hop"? Anyone who watched the game will tell you: Cedeno should have made the play, and it wasn't any "tough-hop" grounder that prevented him (as Wittenmyer implies) -- it was Cedeno, in a typical mental miscue, thinking about stepping on second and turning two before the ball even settled into his glove.
Bruce Miles, though he stopped short of rightfully calling out Cedeno, provided a far more apt description in this Daily Herald piece:
Wood walked Javier Valentin to load the bases. Pinch hitter Chris Dickerson then bounced one up the middle. Shortstop Ronny Cedeno reached up, got his glove on the ball but couldn't make the play as the ball skittered away.
Originally, the play was scored an error that allowed 2 runs to score, but the scorer later changed his mind and generously gave Dickerson a double.
No mention of a tough hop. Why? Because that's how Cedeno, trying to avert blame, described it in the aforelinked Daily Herald article:
"I think it's a really tough play; it's a tough hop," Cedeno said. "I'm not trying to do too much, because if I get to the ball, it's going to be the same. It's going to be a tough out, too.