On a night Jon Lackey started for the Cubs, it was another pitcher from Chicago being implicated in slashing rumors. Like something straight out of The Twilight Zone, which I understand is giving way to Guardians of the Galaxy in its ties to what is currently known as Tower of Terror at Disneyland. Between the Chris Sale story twisting and turning and the news coming from ComicCon, I could hardly pay attention to the game on TV before me.
It didn’t help that the Cubs were in the midst of being owned by a Brewers combo of Zach Davies — who makes Kyle Hendricks look like he’s old enough to be an actual college professor — and Kirk Nieuwenhuis — who’s done enough against the Cubs to ensure that I can spell his name correctly without looking it up. Seriously, the guy came into the game hitting .195 and ended up going 3-for-3 with two bombs, one of which came off of newly-minted Cub Mike Montgomery.
It was a pretty inauspicious start for the southpaw, but you can’t blame Joe Maddon for going to him. After all, Newinhouse is a career .159 hitter with only one career homer (4/20/2012 against Barry Zito) against lefties. Until Saturday night anyway. Woof.
Other than Lackey yelling at himself a couple times, I don’t recall much else about the game itself. To my family’s chagrin, I was buried in my phone making/reading Sale jokes after the sought-after southpaw went full toddler tantrum. According to reports, he arrived at US Cellular and became enraged over the idea of being forced to wear the 1976 throwbacks with the big collar. That led to the shortest outing of his career as he broke out the cutter and split.
Seriously, he was so angry about having to wear a Sox jersey that he pulled out a knife and slashed up the jerseys during batting practice. I’m sure a few salty words were exchanged, after which Sale was asked to leave. Gilbert Arenas was not impressed.
I can’t imagine this actually having an impact on Sale’s trade value, if they really want to trade him at all, but it’s yet another blatant indicator that all is not well in the clubhouse on the South Side. I’m admittedly not privy to, nor do I follow with much verve, the goings-on at the Cell, but it seems pretty obvious that Robin Ventura and team management don’t have a great handle on the team at this point. No need to get out over my skis on a topic I’m not familiar with, so let’s move on.
Though the Cubs concluded about three hours short of the appointed hour, Saturday provided us some weird baseball. The Sale story was absolutely fascinating in its outright insanity, though I’d prefer to have had something more fun to watch at home.
You know what, though, that’s not necessarily true. If news breaks Sunday afternoon about a guy wheeling a gas-powered hedge trimmer into the locker room, I’d lap it up like milk from a saucer. So the Cubs have got a task ahead of them when it comes to the battle for my attention, lest I just make like Jason Heyward and roll over to my right side and doze off.