People often celebrate extra innings, but I find the prospect of free baseball to be anything but. Each time the Cubs go past the allotted 9 frames, it plucks another of the strings from the fraying hem of my soul. This team is just pulling my thread as I walk away; watch me unravel, I’ll soon be naked. Lyin’ on the floor (lyin’ on the flo-or), I’ve come undone.
Ah, but there’s always the restorative power of a cobbled-together two-run inning closed out by Grimm Shady and his dirty Uncle Charlie. Taken as a whole, Wednesday’s Cubs/Mets game was utterly abominable. I’ve not seen such embarrassment at 3rd base since the Pop Goes the Weasel video.
Then again, you don’t have to be MC Serch to find a big fat chunk of awesome at that same corner bag. While the Mets managed to confound literally everyone watching the game — yes, even the umpires — with an epic TOOTBLAN, Anthony Rizzo showed off his anti-lock disc brakes with a slide that displayed preternatural presence of mind.
In case you’re one of the unfortunate legions left the lurch of WGN’s decision to stop broadcasting sports on a national scale, allow the GIF and video below to delight you.
I’ve seen this over and over and I still can’t believe it. This is like that first time you saw a guy call a timeout in basketball as he was in the air and heading out of bounds, or when a player inbounds it off another guy’s backside. You can’t really practice such a move, which makes was Rizzo did all the more incredible. The more I watch this guy play, the more I learn to love about his game.
Asked to explain how he was able to pull off the sleight-of-foot manuever, the Cubs first baseman said simply:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 2, 2015
As for that utterly bizarre play earlier in the game, I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. The Mets had men on second and third with one out when Darrell Ceciliani attempted a suicide squeeze. But Ceciliani whiffed on the bunt and Miguel Montero popped up and fired behind Ruben Tejada, who had broken for home.
While that was happening, Daniel Murphy continued trotting to 3rd, so when Tejada was eventually chased back to the bag, he found it occupied and actually overran it as though it was first base. Montero proceeded to tag Murphy, who was standing on the base, and then Tejada, who was a few steps beyond. Len Kasper, not to mention most of the viewers thought it was a double play.
And that figures, right? If a baserunner passes the runner in front of him, he’s automatically out, so most felt that Murphy was gone regardless of the fact that he was standing on the bag. And Tejada was off the base, so he should have been out as well. However, I was assuming that they went with some sort of a loophole by saying that it was actually Tejada who passed Murphy, though he was running in the wrong direction.
Turns out I was kind of right. The umpires ruled that Tejada abandoned the baseline and was automatically out, thus making Murphy safe at third. Make sense? Here, have a look for yourself:
It was really just par for the course in a game that no one seemed to want to win. Despite what some lazy writers would have you believe, pitching has been the least of the Cubs’ worries over the course of the last month or so. Jon Lester certainly did his part, going 7 strong innings while facing off against Jabba the Hutt’s body double.
Neither team’s offense could get anything going though and this had the feeling of one of those interminable games that was going to cleave at least a small measure of sanity from the minds of those watching, little though some of us have to spare. In the end, Starlin Castro reprised his role as the hero, shifting the Cubs out of neutral with another clutch hit.
The bane of his season actually turned in his favor, as weak contact permitted him to bust it down the line in time to beat the throw by half a step and allowed Rizzo to score from third. Still, I was loathe to really celebrate until MiggyMont drove in the second run with a sharp single to right, and off a lefty no less.
Other than the Rizzo slide, the Castro hit, and Grimmer’s bender though, this wasn’t a very pretty game. In fact, if it was a goalkeeper on the US women’s national soccer team, it would probably have been left home to await pending charges instead of starring in a World Cup run. But they don’t award points for beauty in baseball, so the win counts just like any other.
It was, however, a nice reprieve from the series in St. Louis. When you play the Cards, you have to limit mistakes and really play great baseball. When you pay a visit to Queens, however, you just need to suck a little less than your opponents. And that’s exactly what the Cubs did on Wednesday night.
This team is still going to need to find a way to score more than 2 runs on a regular basis, but as long as they’re scoring more than they allow I guess I’ll take it. So now it’s on to Game 3 and talk about Jacob de Grom is one of an elite group of ballplayers who has a last name that starts with a lower-case letter (this has been an actual topic of discussion on radio broadcasts).
Until then, why don’t you watch that Rizzo GIF a few dozen more times?