On Baseball: Done and gone

In the words of the late, great Harry Caray -- Holy cow! I’ve watched a lot of Cubs games lately.

To my utter delight, nearly every game the Cubs have played in the last week has aired on WGN. I haven’t checked the numbers, but that seems like a big change from all the games that have been showing on Chicago’s Comcast Sports Network the last couple years … Now, if only the Brewers had a national cable network. I’ve started to drop hints to Kates that we need to think seriously about subscribing to the MLB Network.

Too bad the Cubs are stinking it up this year, to put it lightly ... Aramis Ramirez forgot how to use a bat. Carlos Zambrano isn't resembling his former self. And Alfonso Soriano only seems to excel against the bad teams.

For one night at least, we got to bask in the glorious debut of much-hyped Starlin Castro … But any longtime Cubs fan knows that may not continue. (Read this gem from Rick Morrissey.)

In today’s game, no sooner had Bob Brenly finished sharing his disapproval of Lou Piniella’s decision to leave Ryan Dempster on the mound with two runners on, two outs and the Cubs up 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh when, Joey Votto popped one into the outfield stands to give the Reds a two-run lead and the win.

I know, the Cubs have had slow starts before. But this one seems more dismal.

Really, though, what kind of baseball season would it be if the Cubs weren’t driving us fans mad? … Over in Boston, those once lovable losers of the American League haven’t started so hot either.

Still, what I would give to get to Wrigley for just one afternoon this summer.

Here's some good reads ...
aThe Throwback
aWhat to do about Wrigley Field? (By the way, one of my favorite museum exhibits ever was a photography exhibit I attended years ago -- which I'm sure included the photo in this post -- at the Truman Library that illustrated the gutting of the White House.)
aExcerpt From Are We Winning? A Prayer For Steve Bartman
aA culture change at Wrigley? New owner Tom Ricketts thinks it's a numbers game

And finally, if you've experienced the atmosphere that envelopes Wrigley on a game day, you can appreciate this video ... Make sure you watch it to the end.

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Like a great many baseball fans, my heart sank a little last week when I heard the news of Ernie Harwell’s death.

Though I grew up in the upper Midwest, I was the kid who grew up falling asleep to Harry Caray doing radio broadcasts for the Cubs. So I can’t say I developed an appreciation for Harwell and his unmistakable radio voice, calling Detroit Tigers games, until I hit my late teens in the age of “Sportscenter” and “Baseball Tonight” montages.

They don’t come like Harwell anymore, and he will be dearly missed.

Here's three tributes worth reading: The Washington Post, Mitch Albom and Joe Posnanski.

On a side note, during yesterday’s game of the week on Fox between the Red Sox and Yankees, Joe Buck and Tim McCarver offered a wonderful tribute to Harwell by going silent for some five minutes in the third inning. In that time, all of the sounds of the ballpark were amplified. The umpire calling balls and strikes, the game announcer, the chatter of the crowd. It felt as though I was right there, spending a Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park … It was truly a remarkable thing, and it made me wish more games were broadcast in that way, sans non-stop-talking analysts.

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Two more good reads before I go ...

Are the Yankees Truly the Most-Despised Ballclub? ... It turns out they're not.

Minneapolis paints its new ballpark green ... Can hardly wait to get there some day.

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