There is a phenomenon in the animal world, particularly among dogs and elephants (of all things) where when they know they are going to die, they run away.
It is as though they want to spare others the trauma of seeing them die, so they just amble off to find a place to do it peacefully and quietly.
For a dog it might be a patch of woods or near an abandoned building.Â For an elephant it’s probably anywhere south of the monkey cages.
For the Cubs?Â It was San Diego.Â If you can’t do it in Pissburgh where nobody will notice, you do it in San Diego where next to nobody will.
The Cubs have been teetering on the edge since the drive by shooting they were victimized in that Sunday in Florida when the Mongoloid Bobblehead, Kevin Gregg,Â gave up a one run lead and turned it into a loss in two pitches.Â They were sadly outclassed in Colorado and against the Phillies and except for a few cheap wins over the Reds and Pissburgh they have been the old dog wandering around the yard looking for a hole in the fence.
So last night the Cubs got Ted Lilly back from the disabled list and he did what every good pitcher does to the Padres, he shut them out for as long as he was in the game.Â Then John Grabow and Carlos Marmol did the same.Â The Padres are about as offensive as “Reading Rainbow” these days, but it didn’t take Gregg long to rectify that.Â You knew he, and the Cubs were completely screwed the minute he walked 4’2″ David Eckstein with one out in the ninth.Â You figured that Adrian Gonzalez would hit the next pitch about 600 feet and the Cubs would lose 2-1.
But he didn’t.Â No, that wouldn’t have been traumatic enough.Â That would have been one of the best players in the National League beating you.Â You could almost live with that.
Gonzalez popped out weakly to left and the Cubs were just a strike away from a third straight win.Â The Cardinals won again, coming from behind to beat the staggering Dodgers (good news, LA fans, you get a four game winning streak to enjoy starting Thursday–you’re welcome!) so the Cubs had to win to avoid falling six games behind St. Louis.Â Remember, the Cubs and Cardinals were tied for first on August 5.Â Ten games ago the Cubs were in first, now they are six games behind.
Somebody ask Ron Santo if he ever remembers a team falling apart that quickly, see if anything jogs his memory.Â (By the way, isn’t it handy that the Cubs actually fly a mascot of one of the biggest collapses in baseball history around with them to every game?)
So it’s still 1-0 Cubs and the great Chase Headley is up for the Padres.Â Chase Headley, sounds like a guy who’d get kicked out of a country club for trying to lure the pool boy into the sauna with a candy bar and a handful of Viagra.
Gregg gets two strikes on Headley and decides to break out the straightest fastball he can throw, right about waist high.Â Short of calling time out to get a batting tee to put the ball on for Chase, Gregg was doing all he could.Â Headley fouled it back.Â Whew, dodged a bullet there.
But then Gregg threw the exact same pitch again.Â Headley hit one to the deepest part of Petco Park (Hey, Petco!Â Where dying dogs and Cubs go to hide and…die.) for a double, the magic dwarf scored from first and the game was tied.Â Lou decided to go out on the mound to strangle Gregg, got halfway, literally waved at him and said, “Fuck it,” and ambled back to the dugout.Â The Cubs walked the next hitter to get to Kyle Blanks and he hit a three run homer to win the game, end Gregg’s career as Cubs closer and put the final nail in the Cubs season.
But you say the Cubs are still only four games out of the Wild Card and they have an easy schedule and Carlos Zambrano will be back next week and then the gritty Reed Johnson will come back and Jeff Baker is hitting .600 in August and…
Take it easy there, Champ.Â Sit this one out.Â It’s not going to happen.Â Go on with your life.Â Enjoy the rest of what’s left of your summer.Â Let them die and rot in peace.Â They look like they really, really, want to.