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You may have noticed we take the word "ridiculous" very seriously at Beachwood Sports. There is ridiculously good and ridiculously bad and, inspired by the classic Jeff Joniak call, we keep an eye peeled for both.
And that's what we found, in spades, over the weekend. Let's review.
Could Dale Sveum have had anything but a ridiculous reason for sending Carlos Marmol out to pitch the ninth on Saturday in the Cubs' fifth game of the season?
Marmol had already given up half of the runs the Cubs' entire pitching staff gave up in their first three games and finished spring training by actually getting booed off the mound. Sveum must have a short memory; last year Marmol's April struggles helped bury the team early.
And yet, there was Marmol standing on the mound to start the ninth on a night when the Cubs should have cruised to victory against the Braves. True, Kyuji Fujikawa is the one to blame for giving up four hits and a walk in the eighth to turn a 5-1 lead into a 5-4 lead. Only a fortuitous bases-loaded double-play saved Mt. Fuji from further eruption.
Then came Marmol.
Recently a statistician estimated the odds against a person correctly filling out every line of an NCAA men's basketball tournament bracket at something like 5.4 quadrillion to one.
The odds of brothers both hitting solo home runs in a ninth inning to tie and then win a major league baseball game must be much longer than that. Unless Carlos Marmol is on the mound. Then the odds are quite likely. And that's just what happened.
B.J. and Justin Upton, you are both ridiculous.
Dale Sveum and Carlos Marmol, you are both ridiculous too.
See how that works?
What's really killer about it is that the Cubs only needed to win just one of three in Atlanta to return home at break-even after opening the season taking two of three from the Pirates in Pittsburgh. A .500 road trip behind them would have been a nice way prelude to today's Opening Day at Wrigley.
But these are the Cubs, so not only did Fujikawa and Marmol blow a 5-1 lead, but new ace Jeff Samardzija somehow managed to blow a game in which he struck out 13 of the 17 batters he faced. He also walked four and gave up four hits with most of the damage done in a three-run sixth that chased him from the game.
Jeff Samardzija, you are ridiculous.
Oh by the way, Fujikawa is the new closer.
Cubs, you are ridiculous.
Now The Good News
Let's not let the bad news Cubs (and the Bulls, a 99-85 loser to the Pistons) overshadow the good news Sox, Blackhawks and Fire.
The White Sox pulled themselves up to 4-2 on the season with a 4-3 win over the Seattle Mariners on Sunday, giving them two out of three for their second-straight season-opening home series.
And the Blackhawks again provided fans with something ridiculously good. Ridiculous rookie Brandon Saad scored the game-tying goal and assisted on another yesterday as the Hawks defeated the Nashville Predators 5-3 and became the first team in the NHL to clinch a playoff spot. Saad now has 20 points in his last 19 games. The Hawks survived a ridiculous stretch of schedule that saw them play the always nettlesome Predators three times in six days (with a game against the Blues thrown in in the middle) and came out of it with three wins and a shootout loss.
It would have been break-even on the day in our town if the Fire hadn't been in action. But the local soccer team took to the Bridgeview pitch and pulled out their first victory of the year against three losses and a tie. They defeated the New York Red Bulls 3-1 to give Chicago a 3-2 record on the day.
Our sports cup runneth over . . . ridiculously.
Jim Coffman is our man on Mondays. He welcomes your comments.