Friday, September 3, 2010

Fast, Cheap, and out of Control

Perhaps the best thing about having a local team fall apart in July (if not June) is that by September tickets are much cheaper and pretty easy to come by. My friend Red—OK, really, my ex-wife Red—was in town for a couple days, and we decided to see if we could get Cubs / Mets tickets. (Little Melvin Jr. didn't come along on this trip, principally because he doesn't exist.) I was figuring for the usual bad or expensive last-minute options, but since the Cubs are freefalling into Pittsburgh-like oblivion this year, the streets are thick with woebegone scalpers. We were able to nab a pair of seats about 30 rows behind home plate for about a third of the usual price, via StubHub.

The Mets aren't lighting up anyone's dance card this fall either, so we got to see a number of recent promotions from Triple-A try to impress their respective lame-duck managers. Mike Quade might actually be the Cubs skipper next year, but in the current sweepstakes for the job, I'm laying money on None of the Above, with Ryne Sandberg about to start a long Ulysses (or do I mean Wally Backman?) act that will land him in the Cubs dugout round about 2016.

Anyway, Mets' latest exile from Buffalo, Lucas Duda, got his first major-league hit, after going 0-for-8 in his first two games. Duda, of course, is a headline writer's dream waiting to happen, but he;s got to do something first. Right now, the best we can hope for is an irate fan in Queens deciding to abscond with the young man's ride ("Duda: Where's My Car?").

On the mound for the Cubs, Randy Wells did his usual Start-Me-in-the-Second-Inning routine, giving up three in the first to set the stage for a long afternoon of scoreboard Ping-Pong. There were 21 hits overall—including Luis Hernandez's second career home run—with the Cubs squeaking out a 7–6 win. These affairs usually take forever and a day, what with endless pitching changes (in this case, Jerry Manuel trying to prove to someone somewhere that he is still doing something), but somehow this one rang down the current after about 2:35's worth of entertainment. Amazing, really. Red and I ran for the exit as an inept and unfamiliar tune rose over Clark and Addison.

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