Baseball Toaster Cub Town
Guest Column: RJ Johnson (again)
2004-09-05 03:48
by alex ciepley

Your hosts Christian and Alex are vacationing, but The Cub Reporter isn't. RJ Johnson returns with a short note for Cubs fans.

A Public Service Reminder for Cub Fans

A gracious friend of mine, Alan, has become enamored of tournament poker. He was explaining to me some of the little intricacies of how to become the big winner at such things (No, I didn't play him to learn these lessons; like I said, he's gracious). One thing he mentioned is that even if the chip count is hideously skewed at the end of the tourney, if you are one of the last two players at the table you can still win.

"What the heck does this have to do with baseball, the Cubs, or public service for that matter?" Alex and Christian are asking themselves.

Lots of Cub fans are disappointed with this season. Not as disappointed as Astro fans, granted, but still. Injuries to the pitching staff, Todd Hollandsworth, and Aramis Ramirez have, along with the huge disparity in one-run victories between the Cubs and the Cardinals have resulted in the Cubs trailing St. Louis by 15 games as we hit September.

And it doesn't matter.

Thanks to the four-team playoff format, the Cubs are simply working to winnow the other wildcard contenders from the pool. To win the World Series --of baseball or poker-- you have to be one of the last two guys standing. It doesn't matter how you get to that point; simply have to be there.

For reference see last year's Florida Marlins.

So as we head into the final month of the regular season, I encourage Cub fans not to dwell upon the gap between first and second in the NL Central. If the Cubs make the playoffs, that goes away and we get a fresh stack of chips in a seven game series. Regular season records don't count. For reference, see the Oakland A's of the past several seasons and the 2001 Seattle Mariners.

So take a deep breath, realize that since the acquisition of Nomar, the Cubs are averaging 5.7 runs per game (which is pretty damn good), the Cardinals have managed to an annoying 24-14 in one-run games to the Cubs 13-23 record, and await for October and the real staredown to begin.

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