09 July 2004

The state of baseball

I'm thinking that it would be a good idea to devote an entry every Friday to baseball.  Two weeks ago, in anticipation of the first Cubs-Sox series of the season, I said that the only reason I want the Cubs to beat the Sox is because the Cubs were chasing the Cardinals in the NL Central.  St. Louis was playing Kansas City that weekend, and I mentioned that I was just as much a Royals fan that weekend as a Cubs fan.

The Sox beat the Cubs two out of three, and the Cardinals swept three from the Royals.  So much for passive aggression.

Last Friday before the Cubs and Sox started a series at Wrigley, I contemplated writing about it but decided not to, and it's a good thing I didn't, because everything I would have mentioned would have been wrong.  For example, I would have mentioned how the Sox can hit.  They scored 5 runs in three games at Wrigley.  I would have mentioned how the Sox seem to have the Cubs number these last few years; the Cubs won all three games last weekend.  No complaints, of course, except that they gained absolutely no ground on St. Louis, who won all three games against Seattle.

As it stands, the Cubs start a three game series in St. Louis tonight, and they trail the Cards by six games.  Baseball lore says that most of the time, teams that lead their division on July 4 go on to win the division that season.  Six games is not a huge deficit to make up, especially when you can make up three games in a hurry this weekend, but it is also worth noting that when the Cubs won the NL Central last year, they were never six games behind.

Of course, the Cubs could wake up Monday morning nine games out of first if things go horribly wrong this weekend.  The teams are 7-7 against each other this season, with only two games left in Wrigley later this month after this weekend (and if that is not the dumbest scheduling decision, to have these rivals not play in August or September, then what is?  Do you think the Red Sox and Yankees don't play in September?  I think they play seven times the last ten days of the season). 

I said it at the beginning of the year, and I will say it again now halfway through: the Cubs biggest rival is St. Louis, no matter what the average White Sox fan says.  At the beginning of the year I recounted a few instances where I felt a cardinal was taunting me (here and here) , whether soiling the finish of my car or trying to break through a window.  I haven't seen too many cardinals lately, probably because they are too far ahead of me. 

Let's hope after this weekend they are a little bit closer.

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