Brant Brown. That's all I could think about after watching the replay of Seiya Suzuki's botched play in right field over and over again after the Cubs dropped the series opener against the Braves by a 7-6 final Tuesday.
For those of you who've never seen the play I'm referring to from late in the '98 season, you can experience the horrified screams of Ron Santo here - and you'll understand the similarities between the two plays.
Back to Tuesday night's disaster (this was just the cherry on top; the final blow as the Cubs squandered an early 6-0 lead) - as upset as the play made me as a fan, I couldn't help but immediately feel terrible for Suzuki who has put together a monster second half that has helped keep the team in the postseason hunt even now, with less than a week left to play.
Cubs will have to get up off the mat in a hurry after soul-crushing loss
As Bleacher Nation and multiple other outlets pointed out recently - Suzuki has been not just the best hitter on the Cubs the last couple months, but one of the best offensive producers in all of Major League Baseball. He carried an OPS north of 1.000 through all of August and September and in terms of wRC+, he's been a top-three player in the league during that stretch. It's been an incredible turnaround for a guy who we all had big expectations for coming into the year, but struggled with injuries and consistency early on.
This loss feels like a backbreaker - and we'll have to see how Chicago bounces back tomorrow after blowing a massive lead in the opener. The loss gives the Brewers their second NL Central crown in the last three years and drops the Cubs one game back of Arizona for the second wild card spot. The Marlins and Mets were rained out on Tuesday, meaning Miami gains a half-game - and the Reds are now just 1 1/2 back of the final wild card berth, as well.