Remember the Cubs thrilling comeback win against Colorado in late May of 2008? I know many of you do and probably just immediately thought of Mark DeRosa’s dramatic 2-R HR.
For those of you with a foggy recollection, let me jog your memory a bit. The Cubs trailed 9-1 after five innings, but rallied for a 10-9 victory behind home runs from Henry Blanco, Kosuke Fukudome, Jim Edmonds, and the blast off DeRosa’s bat.
This wasn’t just a tremendous comeback in Cubs history, it was a staple win that legitimized the first place Cubs as the best team in the National League (Ah, now you remember!).
I bring this particular game up because it reminds me so much of the Cubs dramatic come-from-behind win on Thursday against Milwaukee; a game in which Chicago trailed 9-3, then tied the score 9-9 in the sixth only to enter the bottom of the ninth down 11-9 before scoring three runs to cap off a 12-11 victory.
The dramatics were eerily similar to 2008, with one exception being the Cubs scored all 12-runs Thursday without the benefit of a home run.
But as my good friend @jdgershbein (he’s as true-blue a Cubs fan as they come) reminded me, there’s one big difference between these two comeback games–the 2008 victory actually meant something.
WILL ANYONE REMEMBER?
Thursday’s win, as memorable as it should be, will most likely be forgotten in a season that’s on course to be remembered as one of the worst in franchise history.
I bet a significant portion of Cubs fans are still unaware this comeback even happened. Probably more don’t even care to know. But that’s the cost of doing business for a team playing 30-games below .500.
Thursday’s game was played in front of a crowd of less than 20,000 (and much fewer stayed to see Soriano’s walkoff hit 4:09 minutes after the first pitch) whereas the comeback win against the Rockies was finished out in front of a packed house at Wrigley Field.
That win four-years ago is exactly the kind of ‘memorable experience’ every baseball organization hopes for–the type that keeps its fans wanting more—and precisely what Thursday’s game was not.
DOES THURSDAY’S WIN MEAN ANYTHING?
The comeback against Colorado capped off an (18-11) month of May for the Cubs, gave them a five-game winning streak (which stretched to nine-games) and enthralled even the most fringe Cubs fans to pay attention to the team on a daily basis.
Thursday’s win, however, won’t share the same effect for the masses. But it does tell those of us sticking with the team through the bitter end a thing or two about the character of these young Cubs and their manager.
Most notably, the Cubs never gave-in despite playing out the string against another underperforming team, in front of another underwhelming home crowd.
Dale Sveum, to his credit, never threw-in the towel as evidence by his five pitching changes and substitution of what appeared to be a lackadaisical Bryan LaHair in favor of Alfonso Soriano.
The young guns of Castro, Rizzo, Vitters, Jackson, Valbuena and Castillo battled start-to-finish. Their young enthusiasm helped spark the play of veterans David DeJesus and Soriano.
”Those young guys don’t give up,” said Soriano.
While the effort is appreciated and does give the club something to hang its hat on this season, we can only be certain the Cubs will waste more ‘memorable games’ even with the most promising possibilities of the Cubs fielding a competitive team by 2015.
But when the Cubs do blossom from pretender to contender, and I’m confident they will, we’re sure to see many more unbelievable come-from-behind wins like Thursday’s. That, after all, is what good teams do–win crazy games and win a lot of them.
Only then, however, most Cubs fans will immediately think back to a late May game in 2008 when the Cubs rallied from down 9-1 to beat the Rockies.
Meanwhile, Thursday’s game will have already become a faint, if not forgotten, memory, just another meaningless win in a season filled with seemingly 100 unmemorable losses.
And to that I say, what a shame.
*Fun side note. The losing pitcher for the Rockies in the 2008 comeback win? Now current Cubs reliever, Manny Corpas