Were I the superstitious sort, I would believe that something or someone doesn’t want the Cubs to win this year. An unholy conspiracy would seem the only explanation for the myriad misfortunes that have befallen the team: the Aramis Ramirez injury, the Alfonso Soriano slump, the Milton Bradley fiasco, the Carlos Zambrano weekly meltdowns.
Certainly, the latest addition to this laundry list of epic fail must fall under the category of intervention by dark forces: after Sunday’s win, Ryan Dempster leapt the dugout railing in an excess of celebratory enthusiasm; except that Ryan didn’t quite clear the railing, and ended up somehow catching his toe in it, with catastrophic results.
“It spun me around and slammed me into the ground,” Dempster explained. “When I did it, I thought I ripped my nail back on my foot. Unfortunately, the result wasn’t funny.”
Indeed Ryan, there is nothing funny about you breaking your toe that way and landing on the DL, probably for the next month. Unless of course you’re a Cardinals or Brewers fan, or someone who generally enjoys a good wacko baseball injury. This one goes up there with some of the classic WTF? moments, like the Rockies’ Clint Barmes breaking his collar bone lugging deer meat up a staircase, or – one Cubs fans remember – Sammy Sosa throwing out his back sneezing.
Again, were I the ladder-avoiding type, I would have no choice but to chalk Dempster’s mishap up to an anti-Cubs bias on the part of the cosmos. Fortunately, being a rational person, I see the silliness of this, just as I perceive the absurdity of blaming the Cubs’ 1969 meltdown on that black cat running past Ron Santo; just as I have always looked with scorn upon the entire endlessly rehashed billy goat curse; just as I know Steve Bartman is innocent.
No kids, this is not a matter of diabolical energies aligning themselves against the Cubs, but is rather a case of a poorly constructed baseball team having their troubles exacerbated by a series of flukes and misadventures the likes of which strike all teams during the course of a season.
If the Cubs had been a better team to begin with, they could’ve more easily absorbed the Aramis injury, the Soriano slump, and everything else. Unfortunately, Jim Hendry somehow became convinced that Milton Bradley was the answer to the lack of left-handed pop in the line-up, that we could flourish with Soriano as our lead-off man, that Mike Fontenot could be an every day second baseman, that Kevin Gregg had the makings of a closer. That stuff has nothing to do with hexes or zodiac signs or bad karma – it’s poor front office work pure-and-simple.
To paraphrase Shakespeare: the fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars, but in our general manager.