Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Eulogy for a Supernova: Carlos Marmol and the Ghost of Resiliency

It had become a foregone conclusion. If Carlos Marmol came in to a game with any kind of lead, it was surely gone. The man had become so beleaguered by the North Side faithful that upon his designation for assignment this afternoon, seldom an empathetic soul could be found. What may be thrown by the wayside is how truly dominant Marmol was. At his peak, he averaged nearly two strikeouts per inning. In 2007, he received a few most valuable player votes. He was a late-inning linchpin to a Cubs pitching staff that won two consecutive division titles. Carlos Marmol's legacy is made with ninth inning collapses, but in the end, his epitaph still reads ALL-STAR.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The First Generation: Bryce Harper and the New Power Rising from the Wake of Deception

When the 1990's came to a close, the home run was king. Baseball was in a period of unprecedented power. I was preparing to enter the formative years of my mid-teens. As a child in the time of McGwire, Sosa, Bonds, and Griffey, I was awestruck by the ease to which these apparent superheroes could hit the ball. The otherworldly rate of home runs got me into the game, and I still look at the summer of 1998 as the one that saved baseball after the canceled season of 1994. So imagine my disappointment when the news came down that most of the players I worshiped back then had used steroids to increase their ability to heal and grow muscle. I was devastated. The Mitchell Report, the damning document that tore through the lineup of my childhood heroes, was released on December 13th, 2007- my 21st birthday.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Homer and the Gloamin': Wrigley Field and the Literal Fog of Uncertainty

Summer is a tardy soul. While it will waste no time in departure come October, there are years where it is as if the warmer months have ceded their dominion to an eternal spring. While the vernal equinox is often considered a time of rebirth, this lingering air of wavering atmosphere can bring about meteorological phenomena that present a different symbolism. On June 10th, 2013, a dense fog covered the full breadth of Chicago, Illinois. A product of the stillness and late blooming warmth, the city on the lake fell prey to nature. With all of mankind's capability, he is still rendered a victim to the power of the unpredictable. Like many nights before and yet to come, the Chicago Cubs lost. Coincidentally, the very fog that nearly halted play became a clear representation of their quest back to contention.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Built For Cuban Links: Yasiel Puig Valdés and the Grand Hype Machine

Summer brings many things- more sunshine, less clothing, and without fail, the summer blockbusters. Big movie studios tread out their big-budget titans midsummer to lure the disposable-income led youth. Year after year, it pays off. Baseball has its yearly tradition as well. The early summer call ups of hyped prospects with nearly insurmountable weight on their shoulders. Sometimes the summer gives us Bryce Harper and Mike Trout. But it's this hype that lessens the impact of non-superstars, simply because the mainstream has come to expect the next blockbuster prospect to be unveiled once June rolls around.

Carpe Noctem: The Geoff Blum Story

A baseball season can seem so long that a single plate appearance can seem largely insignificant. As summer's long days turn cold and th...