Wisch: Behold, The Cubs And The Miracle of Mediocrity
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By Dave Wischnowsky-–
CHICAGO (CBS) Don’t despair, Cubs fans. The North Siders will win tonight.
It’s Tuesday’s game that you have to worry about.
How do I know? Well, it’s because, the Cubs – long known as the “Lovable Losers” – have instead morphed into
the “Miraculously Mediocre” this season.
So much so, in fact, that on Saturday after their come-from-behind victory over the Dodgers, the team made baseball history by setting a Major League record for consecutive stops at .500 to open the season.
So far this year, the Cubs have been 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, 4-4, 5-5, 6-6, 7-7, 8-8, 9-9 and 10-10. And, after falling 7-3 to L.A. on Sunday afternoon, they’re now 10-11.
Which means, if their 2011 script holds true, they’ll resurrect themselves tonight – one day after Easter (the Cubs always are a little behind) – and whip the Rockies to reach the .500 mark.
So, what does all this mediocrity mean for Mike Quade’s Average Joes?
Well, if you look to the 1951 Red Sox and the 1970 Yankees – the two teams the Cubs were historically tied with when last week they stood at 9-9 – this season’s so-so start could actually portend a strong finish.
In ’51, Boston went from .500 to 20 games over, finishing 87-67. And in ’70, New York did even better, winding up with a 93-69 mark after that mediocre start.
Still not generating above-average optimism for you, though?
Well, then how about we look at the 1930 Cubs of Kiki Cuyler, Gabby Hartnett and Hack Wilson? That bunch opened the season with eight consecutive stops at the .500 mark, setting the Cubs’ previous club record. But the team took that 8-8 start and turned into a 90-64 record.
Hack Wilson even ended the 1930 season with 56 homers and a MLB-record 191 RBI. So, just because it looks like Carlos Pena might be lucky to get to 19 RBI this season, you never know, right?
(OK, maybe not.)
Really, though, considering the Cubs are down two starting pitchers, have played almost all of their games in weather only an Eskimo would love and have gotten next to nothing from their supposed slugger of a first baseman, they’ve done fairly well so far.
Average, you might say.
And with the NL Central as a whole looking as mediocre as the Cubs’ start, it’s not far-fetched to think the North Siders could be competitive throughout the season. Although, you might want to hold off on any excitement until they get at least two games above .500.
Which can’t happen until Wednesday. At the earliest.
Nevertheless, this April could have been a lot worse for the Cubs.
They could be having the White Sox’s month.
Do you agree with Dave? Post your comments below.
If nothing else, Dave Wischnowsky is an Illinois boy. Raised in Bourbonnais, educated at the University of Illinois and bred on sports in the Land of Lincoln, he now resides on Chicago’s North Side, just blocks from Wrigley Field. Formerly a reporter and blogger for the Chicago Tribune, Dave currently writes a syndicated column, The Wisch List, which you can check out via his blog at http://www.wischlist.com.