By Tim Baffoe–
(CBS) Let the record show that I am the only columnist in Chicago to do each of the following:
1) Win a contest sponsored by a British cola for a writing job with no journalism experience.
2) Eschew towing the line of Big Media that refuses to speak the truth about the Chicago Cubs.
All season, I’ve been the only one to consistently tell you that the Cubs are bad. I knew months ago what now being down 2-1 in the National League Championship Series against the Dodgers told us about this squad. My chips were cashed in on this Team of Destiny before it was cool. So now you’re going to fly off the handle about the herculean task of winning three games before the Los Angeles Dodgers win two? Ha, you noob.
Therefore, only I have enough juice built up to dictate the proper disaster preparedness plan as the reckoning is nigh. Being down 2-1 in a seven-game series is practically death. The sliver of good news is our idiot friends the Cubs are only mostly dead, and it’s theoretically possible they can dig their way out of this pit. But it’s going to take grit, moxie and some unorthodoxy — hey, it’s the playoffs.
So here are the last-ditch moves the Cubs must do before Wednesday night if they want to be more than mathematically alive, which they still will be if they lose Game 4:
— Bench Anthony Rizzo. It’s time, Joe Maddon. Yes, Rizzo had a .928 OPS in the regular season, but 162 of those games aren’t indicative of what he can do in postseason ball, where the rules are very different. It’s clear this team leader is a paper tiger who just can’t handle adversity like typical baseball slumps and potentially fatal diseases. I had a really smart idea the other day that could pay off big: start David Ross at first base. Sure, Ross hasn’t played that position since high-A ball in 1999, but this is his swan song, and I’ve seen enough movies to know that putting a 39-year-old at a critical position he hasn’t played at the big league level would only write itself like the sappiest of Hollywood scripts.
— Recalibrate the karma by apologizing to all the sportswriters who said after Game 2 that the Cubs should worry. They were all obviously correct. Just like when the Cubs lost one of the games to the San Francisco Giants in the last series. The team should make sure those sportswriters get way more and better food in the press box next year (because there likely won’t be another game at Wrigley Field in 2016). Sportswriters deserve copious amounts of team-provided food. Scribing requires fuel. (Note: You can tell I’m being sincere here because I’m not a credentialed media member and have been deemed too unclean to grace a press box.)
— Ronnie Woo Woo — where’s that lovable scamp been? There must be a communicable disease he can pass on to the Dodgers, no? Or you could have Game 4 starting pitcher John Lackey engage in a sharpened spoon fight with him in pregame warmups to inspire the team.
— Send Addison Russell to the minors to get his head straight. And while he’s there, maybe it’s time we start ungloating about the Jeff Samardzija trade that’s no longer an obvious win for the Cubs.
— It’s time for a team field trip. Grauman’s Chinese Theatre has tours every half hour. It’ll be one of Maddon’s famous bonding experiences. Then maybe the Cubs can drive up to the Agua Dulce Vineyards for the afternoon. Let Maddon teach the kids a thing or two about oenophilia.
— And while toodling around all the sites Los Angeles has to offer, Maddon should be sure to stress with his mostly young team how much pressure is on them right now. It’s a lot of kids he’s dealing with, and often non-vets fail to truly appreciate how much they are about to let down their fans and loved ones. So, for example, if they come across a Michael Jackson impersonator on Hollywood Boulevard, take pictures, tip him and ask him to sing Jackson’s chorus from Rockwell’s hit about paranoia “Somebody’s Watching Me.”
— Talk about the curse among themselves. Put it in the forefront of their minds. It’s not like it has gotten much press anyway. Confide in one another about how scared it makes you. Add some flavor to this series by creating a greater psychological hurdle. Should they surmount it, the internal payoff will be that much better. Maybe even kill a goat — right in Dodger Stadium, screw health codes. Get somebody to claim religious exemption. Then eat the goat. Become fear. Become death. Absorb the evil spirits. Let them drive you.
— Tell Miguel Montero to shut up and be scared.
That kind of attitude is the opposite of what his mentees need to be hearing. What the hell have you done for me lately anyway, Miggy?
— Either find Jake Arrieta’s secret … medicine … or beg Stephen A. Smith to lift his hex.
— Make Jason Heyward give some of his contract back. Just because it’s the right thing to do.
— Each inning, have Maddon take the advice of at least one person who tweets at the @Cubs account. Either do that or allow the human operating the account to curse at people who tweet idiocy at it.
— Score runs. This is the 21st century, and all the sabernerds who have taken over, changed and ruined baseball will tell you that your best chance of winning is by scoring runs. Baseball is a random game, so you could accidentally win some other way, but the numbers have been crunched, and they say that way more times than not, runs are good.
— Get me some Jim Belushi gratuitous camera time with the boys. Something has been missing from the coverage of the Cubs postseason so far, and that’s probably it. The man has been such a positive influence on Cubs fans’ collective spirit over the years. And surely Willson Contreras is as big of a fan of Mr. Destiny as the rest of us are.
— Don’t play milestone games. Tuesday was the Cubs’ 100th ever postseason game, which of course they lost because who can concentrate on the ball when you’re so concerned with such a big round number. Precedent baseball numbers are very important and indicative of how the future will go. Did you know that the Cubs are the third team to ever be shut out in consecutive playoff games? And that playoff shutouts count as more than one loss each? Strange but true.
— Attempt to re-sign Rich Hill. Why did genius Theo Epstein ever get rid of him anyway? That’s the kind of small move that proves huge years later. Tuesday night is an example of how this Cubs’ front office is a lotta lipstick on a big fat pig.
This all adds up to the longest of longshots, as the Cubs are trying to do the next to impossible in rallying from a 2-1 deficit. It’s probably happened before, but name me a time a team came back from a 2-1 deficit in sports (or life, for that matter, like when I walked in on my wife with another woman). It’s virtually impossible.
Because the Cubs are bad, like I’ve been saying all along. But even a blind goat finds a trash can once in a long while. For their sake, let’s hope the Cubs get to their garbage in Game 4.
Tim Baffoe is a columnist for CBSChicago.com. Follow Tim on Twitter @TimBaffoe. The views expressed on this page are those of the author, not CBS Local Chicago or our affiliated television and radio stations.