Weekend Recap: Central Champs!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Weekend Recap: Central Champs!

. Monday, September 22, 2008

Suck on that, Brewers!

Okay - now we celebrate. After a season of immense highs (Z no hitter) and soul-crushing lows (pretty much any Bob Howry appearance), we're finally NL Central champions. Even sweeter, we were crowned champions at the expense of the hated St. Louis Cardinals, who we head-punched most of Saturday afternoon until the last thrilling pop-up out. We're now appearing in the playoffs for the second consecutive year - it's the first time since the dominant 1906-1908 period.

Worst game of Twister ever

Of course, getting to the division championship required a rather ugly detour on Friday wherein Big Z followed his no-hitter with a two-inning freakout that almost led to a smack in the mouth from Lou. Suffice to say the photo wire had a whole lot of pictures of Z angrily wiping his brow. We also caught a sighting of Angel Guzman, who has recently become a sort of rarely seen but oft-rumored minor league Yeti. He sort of sucked, giving up four hits and three runs in two innings, but pretty much everyone sucked in a 12-6 game that was nowhere near as close as the final score.

Clearly not taken on Friday

Following a Friday night Milwaukee loss, the Cubs went into Saturday's game with the Magic Number cut down to one. A win would ensure back to back Central championships and the chance to erase some ugly-ass playoff memories last year. Thanks to some timely ticket-purchasing in February, I was in attendance, biting my nails with 41,000 other tense fans of the Boys in Blue. Sitting around me in the upper 500s was a cavalcade of the bizarre - a row of Brewers fans (one in a Braun jersey), a man with a Cubs shirt and Sox hat (?), and someone in a Jim Edmonds Cardinals jersey. It was a veritable United Nations of bad wardrobe decisions.

Fuku and Soto, glad that these shirts aren't going to Africa via charity

As much as I hate depending on Ted Lilly, he pitched six very good innings against the Cards. Unfortunately, he also pitched one very bad one, giving up 4 runs with two outs to bring the margin for error to a razor's edge. Marmol and Wood were good enough to send the crowd into frenzy with every one of the last six outs. When Aaron Miles popped out Jim Edmonds to clinch the division, Cubs players were raining champagne like Pac Man Jones celebrating his last day on earth.

A booze-soaked old man, but in a good way

The celebration lasted long after the 3rd repetition of "Go Cubs Go," and took on a strange life of its own. As the players made a victory lap around Wrigley, a bride and groom, with photographer in tow, galavanted down Clark past McDonalds like conquering heroes. I'm left wondering what would have happened to the wedding party had the team failed to clinch. Perhaps this was the second go-round after Friday's Z collapse. The streets were packed, and the only lines longer than those to the bars were the lines to stores selling division championship gear. There was even a line outside of Mullens - and if you've spent any time in the Wrigleyville vicinity, you know how rare that sight is. It was truly a day to remember, and following a few celebratory beers, it became a night to not remember.
Fuku got 2 solid hits on Sunday. Perhaps he should bathe in Andre champagne prior to every start

Given what had to be a dugout full of hangovers on Sunday, it would have been understandable for the Cubs to phone in Sunday's rubber match with the Cards. Except for Dempster and Fuku, the lineup was mostly made up of backups and minor leaguers. Micah Hoffpauir, who has video game create-a-player-esque stats in the minors (25 hr/71 gm), finally got a run out in left field. Felix Pie started center for the first time in a long time, and someone named Casey McGehee elicited a lot of "who's that?" murmuring in the stands. Yet despite an early rough inning from Dempster, Sunday's lineup was good for an even more dominant win over the Cards to take the series.

Bob Howry gives 'em the heater

Steve and I were at the game, enjoying what could be our last beers of 2008 at Wrigley. We had the pleasure of meeting some of the rare enjoyable Cards fans, who originally thought my story about Koyie Hill cutting off his fingers was a complex joke about him not being able to throw out baserunners. It's not often that either of us gets along with any Cardinals fans, but these guys even apologized for this jackass, which scores big points with WAIW:

Not pictured: jade Chinese tattoo on back of neck (seriously)

Even Bob Howry showing up for the 9th couldn't derail the win, thus proving that even our AAA team could beat the Cardinals. You know, because they sort of did. Barring any sort of luck or a significant financial outlay, this might have been my last trip to the Friendly Confies for this spectacular season. If that's indeed the case, it was a hell of a weekend to go out on.


Mitch said...

So glad you were able to be at the game. Great pics! Have enjoyed following the season through your blog. Haven't broken in my koozie yet, but gifted the other two in a homemade 'W' gift bag. Was well-received by a loyal Cubs fan and sometimes WAIW blog reader.