Cubs stress-texting Part II: Here's to a better second half
JD: Strope-A-Dope. Put your hat on straight! And pitch straight, too!!
FEEZ: Pat Hughes called him a very likable fellow. I don't like him.
JD: I'd like him better if he'd pitch better. And wear his hat better.
FEEZ: Pointing to the sky after every inning no matter the outcome -- I don't get it.
JD: He's thanking God for not sending him to Triple A.
JOEL (next morning): OMG just turned on my phone ... This stuff is hysterical!!! It's real-life, real-time Cubs frustration!!!! Jim, time for another column!!! Stress texting part 2.
My Nov. 6 column, "Notes on cub reporters and World Series stress texting," was all happy news: My pal Joel scrambling to a convenience store in Schaumburg to photograph happy fans clearing the place of Daily Heralds chronicling the Cubs' first World Series win in 108 years; my sister Marilee shooting mobs after championship gear at Dick's Sporting Goods in Lombard -- and interviewing a clerk about working in such a madhouse.
I also touched on stress texting, in which Joel, Feez and I, buddies for 40-plus years, shared our angst and raw emotions of the playoffs, especially in that stress-laden Game 7.
Not sure precisely what prompted my June 14 text mocking Cub reliever Pedro Strop and his penchant for wearing his cap at a goofy angle. Feez gets credit for the nickname, though we have them for several players. And, yes, maybe that seems a little mean, but we're talking about mostly millionaires; they can cry all the way to the bank. Plus, they cause us such distress. I'm hoping, too, our bellyaching will somehow turn things around.
JD: They lit up Lacking again. And now Bryant's hurt. Geez.
FEEZ: Lackey pretty much gets lit up every start lately.
JD: Didn't we agree to get rid of him? Would rather see him go than Miggy (catcher Montero, who was cut after bellyaching about his batterymates doing a poor job of holding on runners).
But it's not hard to change our attitudes. The very next day:
JD: What a comeback!!! That's the way the World Series champs ought to play. I forgive Carl's Jr. for giving up that lead.
JOEL: Maybe now we can rip off a winning streak!
That didn't happen, and in the disastrous 14-3 loss right before the All-Star break, I texted:
JD: New rule: when we're down 9-0 and not out of the first inning, I turn off the TV, make a Bloody Mary and listen to music.
FEEZ: white flag
So, yes, we retain our measure of fatalism, despite that miraculous turn of events last year. Consider our texting on the trade for stud starting pitcher Jose Quintana:
JOEL: I HOPE he does well with the Cubs. Don't get me wrong. He will play every 5th game. What about the games in between? If the Cubs don't improve on their lackluster base running, defense, spotty starting pitching and middle relief along with their horrendous situational hitting.....this trade will be meaningless this season!
FEEZ (referring to the young position players, while channeling Yogi Berra): Remember, 90% of the game is half mental. I think they're either thinking too much or pressing or trying to do too much or a little bit of all 3.
JD: I remember a quote from Patrick Kane after the first Cup. "It wasn't that hard; we didn't know what we were doing."
FEEZ: Kane may have been very wise.
Friday night update (after Cubs blow an 8-0 lead, but win 9-8):
JD: Had 'em all the way!
FEEZ: A win is a win ...
JD: Too much stress.