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Formula for winning a one-run game on a windy hitter's day at Wrigley Field

By Donald G. Evans

  1. Give the starting assignment to fly ball pitcher Ted Lilly.
  2. Brush off Willie Taveras’ bunt single and Jon Herrera’s line drive hit to start the game.
  3. Shrug as Todd Helton blasts the ball over the center field wall for a 3-0 Rockies lead.
  4. Begin to worry, just a little, when Chris Iannetta, who you’ve never heard of, doubles to deep right center, and then somebody named Jeff Baker, who you’ve also never heard of, doubles to deep left center to make it 4-0 in the first inning.
  5. Give your top RBI man Aramis Ramirez the day off.
  6. While you’re at it, give the regular position player with the highest batting average, Ryan Theriot, the day off.
  7. Watch patiently as your scrub lineup does nothing in the first two innings.
  8. Be philosophical (“He’s just rusty, not old”) when Jim Edmonds drops a fly ball off the bat of Garrett Atkins.
  9. Try to be happy for Iannetta when he clubs one over the left field wall to make it 6-0. Make mental note: google C. Iannetta, Colorado Rockies.
  10. Allow yourself just a little concern when Baker doubles again, and then is brought home on a base hit by Omar Quintanilla, whom you’ve also never heard of. Make mental note: google J. Baker, Colorado Rockies.
  11. Tell yourself, “What’s seven runs on a day like today?”
  12. Raise your eyebrows a little when pitcher Carlos Zambrano pinch-hits for Ted Lilly to lead off the bottom of the third inning.
  13. Console yourself that the bases were empty when long relief pitcher Jon Lieber surrenders a home run to Ryan Spilsborghs and rejoice in the fact that at least you’ve heard of him—sort of.
  14. Clap your hands twice when Mark DeRosa breaks the shutout with a sacrifice fly to score Derek Lee.
  15. Connect to the Internet when Baker hits his third double and scores on another hit by Quintanilla, if that’s how you pronounce it.
  16. Look around for white flags when, in the top of the sixth, Henry Blanco, he with no home runs, replaces slugger Geovany Sotto, and rookie Micah Hoffpauir, he of 12 career at-bats, replaces All-Star Derek Lee.
  17. Wink at manager Lou Pinella when Hoffpauir, if that’s how you pronounce his name, hits a ground-rule double to left center field to lead off the bottom of the next inning.
  18. Allow yourself a glimmer of hope when Kosuke Fukudome rips a home run to cut the lead to 9-3.
  19. Control your urge to register a smug, “See, I told you so!” smirk when Edmonds goes back-to-back with a windblown job over the center field wall.
  20. Swap Lieber for Scott Eyre after Baker hits his FOURTH DOUBLE of the game, and watch the world return to a semblance of normalcy when the lefty strikes out Quintanilla to end the seventh inning.
  21. Give Pinella a “YOU THE MAN!” thumbs up when Little Fontenot singles and Henry Blanco hits a monster home run to pull the Cubs to within three at 9-6.
  22. Search on Ebay for a Hoffpauir rookie card after he singles to deep right.
  23. Join the Fukudome fan club as he rips a base hit.
  24. Forgive Edmonds for all those years in St. Louis, the dropped fly ball, and the average below the Mendoza line when he doubles home both runners with a double to deep center.
  25. Look up at the scoreboard, now reading Colorado 9 Cubs 8, and try to remember the last time you enjoyed a seventh inning THIS MUCH.
  26. Cheer wildly as DeRosa knocks one over the center field wall to give the Cubs A 10-9 LEAD.
  27. Realize, as Carlos Marmol strikes out all three Rockie hitters in the top of the eighth—ON 10 PITCHES, no less--, that we have the best relief pitcher in all of baseball.
  28. Realize, also, as Kerry Wood walks Spilborghs to start the ninth, that we don’t have the best closer in baseball.
  29. Have momentarily flashback to Opening Day, when the Cubs lost to the Brewers in 10 after Fukudome hit a dramatic, three-run, ninth-inning home run to erase a 3-0 deficit, as a line drive whistles toward second off the bat of Atkins.
  30. Raise a clenched fist as Fontenot snags the ball, flips it to Ronny Cedeno, who relays it to—there’s that name again—Hoffpauir to double Spilborghs off first.
  31. Put a single index finger in the air as Fukudome corrals a fly ball to end the game.
  32. Tune into the WGN post-game press conference to see how Lou will manage to play this one down.

Donald G. Evans, author of Wrigleyville sports gambling novel Good Money After Bad, is the Lovable Losers emcee. His stories have appeared in StoryQuarterly, Pinyon Review, The Journal and Narrative Magazine, among others.

Posted on Thursday, June 5, 2008 at 06:26PM by Registered CommenterLovable Losers Literary Revue in , | Comments11 Comments | References1 Reference

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