On an icy April day in 2018, the Cubs made a comeback for the ages
We’re still deep in the heart of winter and, thanks to the lockout, are likely a ways away from seeing any Chicago Cubs baseball. With the cold weather and snow hitting hard here in Illinois, it got me thinking about a certain game in recent memory that saw the Cubs and the Braves battling it out in the blistering cold in one of the strangest games of baseball ever played at Wrigley Field.
It’s April 14, 2018. The Cubs are facing down an upstart Atlanta Braves led by Freddie Freeman and the young, Cub-killing second baseman Ozzie Albies. The weather is awful. Wind chills are below freezing and a haze is setting over a less-than-full Wrigley Field. To quote Jim Deshaies, “You don’t want to be in this game.” Still, baseball goes on.
Early on, it was clear the weather was already getting to everyone. Jose Quintana was throwing considerably softer than usual, presumably because he couldn’t grip the ball, and because of it, he got rocked. He coughed up a homer to Albies to start the game before an avalanche of runs fell on him through the second and third. Joe Maddon mercifully brought in Eddie Butler to relieve, but he didn’t fare much better, putting the Cubs down 10 -2 before the fifth inning.
At that point, in that dismal weather, I couldn’t blame anyone for leaving immediately. Nobody was up to playing or watching that day. Javier Baez and Addison Russell, two of the Cubs’ surest defenders, made back-to-back blunders in the fourth, further cementing that this was not a day for baseball. I wouldn’t even blame the Cubs for giving up. Go inside, get some coats and hot chocolate and call it a day. Except they had other plans.
The Chicago Cubs make the comeback of a lifetime – against all odds
Despite seemingly insurmountable odds, the North Siders started crawling back. It started small with Albies, a normally strong defender, dropping a ball he really seemed to have a beat on and then accidentally chucking it at the pitcher because it slipped out of his hand. What should’ve been a potential double-play turned into two men on, then three, then Sean Newcomb walked Kyle Schwarber to force in Ben Zobrist. 10-3 in the sixth.
Then, in the seventh, a Kris Bryant walk followed by a Zobrist triple and a Baez groundout made it 10 -5. Things were looking possible. Nothing could’ve prepared everyone for what happened next. In the eighth, the Cubs rattled off NINE runs. Here’s the rundown: HBP, strikeout, single, strikeout, HBP, single, walk, double, intentional walk, walk, walk, walk, wild pitch from Peter Moylan, error from Kurt Suzuki (ON THE SAME PLAY), strikeout. Nine runs, three hits.
Following that insanity, Brandon Morrow comes in and, despite a leadoff walk, sends the Braves down in order. Cubs win 14-10. I encourage you to watch the condensed game of this madness because no amount of me telling you how pitcher after pitcher for Atlanta horrendously missed the strike zone does it justice. You need to hear Len Kasper screaming in amazement and see the meltdown happen to understand it.
I firmly believe neither team won this game. The Cubs’ comeback was nothing short of miraculous, but in reality, this was the result of two teams getting manhandled by a vengeful mother nature. They had nearly four god-given hours on that Saturday and rather than understandably call off the game due to weather, they used that time to play baseball in nearly the worst conditions imaginable. We should call it what it is: The Greatest Game.