The 2015 edition of the Chicago Cubs cares not for your timetable. Â This is supposed to be the year they sniff around .500 get us all excited and then next year they contend for a bona fide playoff spot. Â They seem hell bent on pushing things up.
Well, parts of the team does. Â The part that plays in the infield, and center field and
leftÂ right 1field and three fifths of the starting rotation and an odd bullpen arm or two.
There are holes. Â Holes you could drive a bullpen car through2.
The one impacting their on-field performance the most is the bullpen. Â Until today, the bullpen had the frontmanÂ of a Foghat tribute band in it, a lefty ‘specialist’ who was jobless as late as week three of spring training, and incredibly…SEVEN other guys. Â Sometimes more is better. Â In this case, more is more.
On offense, now that Addison Russell is getting more comfortable, there’s only one big hole.
It’s left field.
Honestly, shouldn’t that be the easiest spot in baseball to fill? Â Your leftfielder just needs to hit a little bit. Â It’s the easiest defensive position on the field. Â And yet, Chris Coghlan plays it as though cutting a ball off before it hits the wall would trigger some sort of trap door out there. Â His routes to flyballs make more stops and connections than trying to take a bus from Gary, Indiana to Agdam, Azerbaijan.
Offensively, his defenders are all decrying his “hard luck.” Â His BABIP is .213. Â It can’t possibly stay that low. Â He’s hitting the ball hard, guys are making great plays on him…blah, blah, blah.
At the end of the day, he’s still Chris Coghlan. Â Even if he were playing well–for him–you’d still want to upgrade there.
And…you know what. Â Screw this. Â I was going to go through a bunch of contortions and figure out how to cram Javy Baez into the current lineup without dumping anybody but Coghlan, but even the idea of writing that is boring me.
So let’s talk about something else.
Indulge me for a second3
I am of an age where some of my formative years were spent without cable (or, in my case, living on the frontier, satellite TV). Â There wasn’t much in the way of “subversive” anything on TV. Â Except for the gap-toothed guy who hosted a show after The Tonight Show.
There wasn’t anything else like David LettermanÂ on TV. Â Part of it was because he couldn’t always get good guests like Johnny could, but he still had the same hour to fill. Â So we got stuff like this:
And this: (which includes Biff with hair)
And, the time he called Terry Forster “a fat tube of goo.”
And there was the time the Today Show did a live evening show and Dave pissed off Byrant Gumbel:
Johnny came on and kind of announced his retirement on Dave’s show.
My favorite Leno appearance (Jay was on a lot and he and Dave were great together until Jay fucked it all up), with my favorite Leno joke about a movie on an airplane that was so bad that people were walking out, and Dave calling him on “how old” that joke was.
His CBS show was a little more of a traditional talk show, but it still included gems like this:
And he occasionally took Zsa Zsa with him:
And this classic: (“She’s gone already, Chief.”)
OK, you get the idea. Â I could pull clips all day.
Anyway, Dave’s last show is tomorrow night, and then he’s off to Montana.
Watching his shows, both on NBC and CBS didn’t just entertain me, it informed what I found funny. Â I’d hate to say it influences my writing, because that’s damning him with faint praise.
It can’t be overstated what an impact Dave had on TV. Â He was an overt smartass when you never saw that on a network talk show. Â He loved to knock pretentious guests down a peg, and he loved to interview just regular people. Â His legacy is as much stupid pet tricks, stupid human tricks, kid inventors, the grocery bagging champion and bird callers as it was interviewing movie stars.
He loved to have celebrity chefs on so he could ruin their cooking segments, and the ones who actually got the joke loved it.
I’m sure Stephen Colbert’s Late Show will also be good, because Colbert is very funny, and like Dave he’ll take the genre in some unexpected direction.
But when Dave signs off on Wednesday night, I’m going to miss him. Â TV will be a little less irreverent, and a little less cool. Â I don’t remember a time when David Letterman didn’t have a show.
I’m just awfully glad he did.