There are certain bizarre things that seem like they can only happen to certain franchises.
Only the Mets could open Citi Field by allowing the decisive run to be scored on a balk. Likewise, only the Mets could lose two games in the first two games of the season due to their left fielder misplaying two routine fly balls.
Only the Nationals could be inept enough to show up on a field with their jerseys reading “Natinals.” And of course only that organization could be so ridiculous to fine one of its players for reporting late to the ballpark because he was at a charity function for a Little League team. In the same token, it’s only fitting that a guy who charged a Little League team a $500 appearance fee to show up at their event would be on the sad-sack Nats.
And then we have those special moments that Lou Piniella is known to refer to as “Cubbie occurences.”
To paraphrase the George Michael Sports Machine, “Let’s take you out to Wrigley Field in Chicago. Fourth inning between the Cubs and Reds, where the game is disrupted by a calico cat running through the outfield. As you recall, this is not the first time a cat has disrupted the Cubs’ plans…
[Cue to footage of 1969 cat running past Ron Santo]
“As you know, that black cat cost the Cubs the pennant, and eventually cost Santo both of his legs.
“After an epic scratching and clawing battle with security, the feline was finally tossed into the stands by its tail.
“As if the cat incident weren’t enough, the Cubs had another brush with their star-crossed history later in the inning when Jay Bruce hit a foul ball near the most infamous seat in Wrigley Field…
[Cue image of Bartman.]
“Amazingly, another fan snatched a potential out away from a Cubs left fielder, this time reaching over the field of play to grab a ball that may have been grabbed by Alfonso Soriano — or at least a left fielder more competent than Soriano — and then celebrating his one moment of athletic glory like a total asshole. Wait, can we say that on TV?
“Fittingly, Bruce used the new lease on life to drive in the game-tying run.
“Despite the pair of glaring reminders of the team’s accursed history, the Cubs were able to get over the hump behind the bat of not-used-often enough Micah Hoffpauir and beat the Reds 7-2. What was the key to the Cubs putting these omens behind them and getting the win?”
[Cue to shot of Dusty Baker chewing toothpick in Reds dugout]
“We may never know.”
Cat photo from Chicago Sun-Times.