Opening Nightmare: Toilet Humor, 80’s Flicks, and Another Plea for Better Calls
It seems like only yesterday that I was writing about the Cubs and how I was hoping that they’d once again make me feel bad while watching them. Wait, that was yesterday? Huh. Anyway, my intent was clearly lost in translation, as I had meant that I wanted to feel anxious about them. Instead, last night just had me frustrated.
I know it’s just one game, but I’d be lying if I told you that I didn’t feel some sort of superstitious undertones to the way the 2015 season started. Welcome to Chicago, Joe Maddon, a city where leadoff doubles go to die and social mores revolve around bathroom functionality.
Watching from the confines of a local restaurant, I didn’t have to deal with either the cold or the anarchy, and I had the added benefit of being surrounded by new friends with whom I’d previously known only through social media. It was really fun to break down the team and the game with some folks who really knew their stuff.
Fans everywhere were amped up the game and even from nearly 200 miles away, it was clear to me that several Cubs players were pressing and allowing adrenaline to drive them rather than simply provide the fuel. The results were obvious: over-throwing, chasing pitches, miscues in the field.
I’ve got a few thoughts of my own here, but if you’d really like to scorch your eyeballs you can take a quick stroll through the interwebs. Some are already calling for Jon Lester’s head. After one start. In April. Cubs fans, man, Cubs fans. I had to stay off the Twitters for the most part, fearing it would further taint my cynicism as it regards some of my fellow fans.
So without further ado, I bring to you my own takes on Opening Night.
Leading out 3 out of 5 innings with a double is a formula for success. Unless, of course, you fail to do anything following those two-base hits. According to Elias, the Cubs became just the 2nd team in the last 40 years to go 0-13 or worse with runners in scoring position in their first game. Lucky number 13. What was I saying about superstitions?
Taking it a step further, the Cubs are 0 for their last 34 with RISP on Opening Day, a streak that stretches back four seasons to 2012. Different managers, different rosters, different feeling heading into the game; same results. Again, it’s only one game and can’t serve as a barometer for the season, but that doesn’t mean it’s not disappointing.
Would you like that in the can? No, I’ll just take it right here. That’s pretty how several fans in attendance last night answered the question of how they planned to relieve themselves. No one’s ever accused Wrigley Field of having the worlds best restrooms, but at least they have worked.
While crews were busy covering up the nascent bleachers with tarps bearing Ernie Banks’ likeness (which was a very cool touch and looked great from afar), the bathrooms apparently went overlooked. It’s like Ferris and Cameron were there, but Sloane was missing. Get it? Sloan, like the new Cubs sponsor? Yes, I know, my comic genius is unmatched.
Faced with the prospect of missing half the game while waiting in line for a spot at the trough, many fans chose to skip the facilities altogether, taking matters into their own hands. Cubs Insider actually has some exclusive video from the scene:
The good news for those attending the next few games is that the Cubs plan to utilize port-a-potties to remedy the situation. The bad news is that you’ll have to don hard hats and venture into the construction zone to use them.
Old Style and Bud might not be the best beers in the world, but they’re a heck of a lot better than the stuff being swapped out in place of the suds last night (reference video above). Like Indiana Jones replacing the Chachapoyan fertility idol with a bag of sand, many patrons left behind foamy imposters. Don’t drink the warm beer, folks!
Part of the reason people needed to resort to such measures is that the beer at Wrigley is still cheap, and by that I mean it didn’t take the price hike that had been rumored earlier this year. I was pleased to find that several variations of the search phrase “price of beer at Wrigley” found that article last night, but more please by the fact that the rumor was false.
And while a post-game shower is often unnecessary due to the bath you take on $8.50 Buds and $9 Goose Islands, it’s a heck of a lot better than the 10-spot I had feared.
Kris Bryant woulda had that
It should come as no surprise that a city once renowned for its massive stockyards is home to its fair share of butchers. The Cubs got into the act with their own special brand of charcuterie on Sunday night, playing as though they had greased up their sausage fingers with a bit too much confit.
Whether it was booting routine grounders, failing to run out popups, or just general lack of communication, the defense left more than a bit to be desired. Our table of sarcastic miscreants quickly resorted to exclamations of “Kris Bryant woulda had that,” knowing full well that many were expressing the same sentiment sans humor.
In what is either the best or the worst thing to happen to umpires, ESPN employed its K-Zone technology throughout Sunday’s game. The 2D rectangle from the pitcher’s view was nice and let all of us at home know early and often that the zone was significantly wider than what has been set forth.
But what was really intriguing to me was the three-dimensional pentagonal column viewed on an angle to show where the ball indeed crossed the plate. Seeing this in action in real time got me thinking again about a piece I had written a few weeks ago in regard to improving the efficacy of called pitches.
For those who missed it the first time around and who don’t care to click and read it now, I’ll summarize: MLB should find a way to equip umpires with eyewear that has head-up display capability that can project a real-time virtual strike zone. Boom. The technology exists and would probably be relatively easy to implement. You heard it here first.
161 more to go
Have I mentioned that this was just one game? I did? Okay, cool. So moving on…this was just one game. It lacked Kris Bryant, the bleachers, a full compliment of bathrooms, and the right outcome, but the Cubs still have 161 chances to do better.
The good news is, they can’t really do worse. Right?