Monday, August 03, 2009

10 Greatest Cubs-Brewers Games

I stumbled across this great post on BallHype

I was at this game. The looks on the faces of the Cubs fans after they lost was something to behold. A memory to cherish.

For the full list:

September 23, 1998. Brewers 8, Cubs 7. In the popular consciousness, some sporting contests have been forever entwined with the announcer's calls. Whether it be Russ Hodges's orgasmic call of Bobby Thomson's home run, or Al Michaels's asking if we believe in miracles, the voice becomes part of the moment. This was one of those games.

From a purely technical point of view Cubs radio color man Ron Santo is the least qualified person to hold the job this side of Marlee Matlin. Well, that's unfair. To Matlin I mean - at least she has an excuse. Santo's just brutal.

But he's excused because he's such an enthusiastic homer. He spent his almost Hall of Fame caliber career with the squad, for many years the team captain. His celebratory heel-clicks in '69 are still remembered in Chicago. By 1998, he'd called their games for about a decade, and clearly on a very personal level wanted to see them actually win a damn pennant to make up for the misdeeds of the past.

1998 looked like it could be the year, as the Cubs desperately clung to their wild-card lead over those same dastardly Mets that ruined it for Santo and the Cubs a generation before. They staggered into Milwaukee, having just been swept by the Reds. They needed some wins.

It looked like an easy one for them. Paced by two Sosa dingers, the Cubs vaulted out to a seemingly insurmountable lead, 7-0 at the seventh inning stretch. Then the Brewers put up four in the seventh, and one more in the eighth.

In the ninth it looked like the crisis had been averted. Sure the Brew Crew loaded up the bases putting the winning run on first. But with two outs, Geoff Jenkins hit a lazy fly ball to left, where Bryant Brown - a late-game defensive replacement - camped under it.

And then . . . well, a simple factual rendition is that the ball clanked off Brown's glove. Since there were two outs runners were going. Because it was a slow-moving fly, all three scored.

But the drama on the field was more than matched by the pathos in the announcers' booth. With four little letters blurted out in less than a second, Ron Santo justified two decades of an otherwise incompetent job. With the muff, Santo blurted out an "OH NO!!" filled with 30 years of ruined hopes, and dashed dreams. The specter of '69 hung over him - the play was Don Young all over again, and it looked like the Mets would be the benefactors yet again. For one brief moment, it was Greek tragedy in the land of sausage races.

Instead, history didn't repeat itself. Well, I mean the Cubs didn't make the pennant of course, but this time they made it to October. Otherwise, this tragically would've been the greatest game on the list.


  1. dear doug-
    have u noted that the nytimes is noting the chicken craze?
    who knew-
    Henny penny

  2. I lived in Chicago and concur about Santo. I can't figure out if he's drunk or just super bad (or a combination). He is atrocious.

  3. Santo is in the Chicago tradition of popular ex-players who make godawful color men - Dick Butkus was the same way.

    As a confirmed member of the Cubs Hater Fan Club, I like to listen to Santo when the Cubs lose because he is obviously in so much emotional pain.

    The poor guy has also been whittled down by diabetes (He's lost both legs.) and still is the eternal optimist - which is another reason it really kills him when the Cubs predictably fall on their face.

  4. Great article thanks for sharing Doug- By the way I added a link your blog on my blog in case anyone ever visits mine besides you! Thanks and yeah we do need to do lunch. Mike