I remember Game 1 of the 2007 NLDS like it was yesterday.
Up and coming Chicago facing the surprise Arizona D-Backs.
I watch the game standing up, to nervous to sit on my favorite comfy chair!
Arizona scores first, a fourth inning home run by Stephen Drew.
I’m deflated, but confident the Cubs rebound.
They do when Ryan Theriot singles in a run in the top of the sixth.
Big Z’ and Brandon Webb match each other pitch-for-pitch through six innings. It’s a 1-1 game. Zambrano’s looking strong. He’s an 18-game winner. Going the distance would be no problem.
Lou Piniella feels otherwise. He lifts Zambrano after 85-pitches, believing Z will be fresher for his second postseason start. This decision, perhaps, is the single worst move Piniella makes during his tenure with the Cubs.
Meanwhile, my cell is buzzing with text messages:
“WTF?”…”Z shud stay N”…What is lou thinking?”
My small circle of Cubs faithful is unhappy with the move.
I concur, and text as much back.
Our texts fail to reach the Cubs’ dugout.
Carlos Marmol enters to pitch the seventh.
Nerves seemingly take over.
Two runs, two hits, two strikeouts.
Too little, too late from Cubs.
D-Backs win Game 1, 3-1 and go on to sweep the series 3-0. Zambrano, of course, never gets a second start.
Those feeling were stirred up watching postseason baseball today.
The sad faces on Rays and Twins fans.
No doubt the text messages were flying with the two questionable third-strike calls. But it doesn’t matter in the end.
There’s not a worse feeling in sports than watching a game, the season, or a championship slipping away. Cubs fans have felt it for more than 100 years.
And I can tell you it doesn’t get an easier. Not now, not ever.