SPORTS DOCTOR- Miracle? Cubs come from behind-- and still lose
Was it a miracle? On Monday evening, March 31, as the rain poured down and before my Tamiflu started working, I could have sworn I saw the Chicago Cubs come from behind.
When Kosuke Fukudome, making his Major League debut at Wrigley Field, tied the game with a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth, I thought it was simply the final stage of my deathlike-flu. But it wasn't. My doctor confirmed that my various prescriptions might cause hallucinations, but certainly not miracles.
My doctor must not be a Cubs fan. If he were, he would know that they never come from behind. Never ever. If the Cubs don't have a comfortable lead by the fifth inning, it's pretty much over and done with.
I've long been a proponent of the idea that if a team scores one run, that team should be able to win a ball game. I don't believe in the steal, and I'm not a home-run fan. I've always thought defense was the name of the game.
Until Monday night.
Perhaps the home run seems like a load of hooey because it doesn't play much of a role in the life of a Cubs' fan, unless the opposing team hits a few and crushes us. Unlike every other Major League team, the Cubs have a way of making home runs look cheap, like a gimmick to please the crowd.
A Cubbie doesn't hit home runs, especially not in the late innings. That's just tacky.
But durn it! Fukudome wanted to win that ball game, even if he had to hit a home run to do it.
Okay, so the Cubs didn't win on Monday night, but that's beside the point– kind of. While the rest of the team may have wanted to show Fukudome that home runs don't win ball games, they couldn't stop the miracle.
Win or no win, a Cub hit a home run at the last possible moment. We had no runs, the Brewers had three. Prince Fielder's jelly belly had all but quit playing, and a noticeably deflated Eric Gagne thought he was all but done for the day.
For the first time in my years as a Cubs' fan, I saw fear in the eyes of an opposing team.
Usually the Brewers, the Cardinals, the Astros, the Mets and even the Phillies lope onto Wrigley Field without a care in the world. They know the drill. Get a lead before the fifth, and the game is won.
Fukudome threw down the gauntlet on Monday night. The Cubs are going to play the game a little differently this year. The Curse of the Billy Goat doesn't mean much to someone who doesn't speak English.
Even through the dark veil of severe illness, I could see that Fukudome won't be happy being a lovable loser. Praise the Lord.
Maybe, just maybe, errant fan Steve Bartman will be able to come out of hiding this year.
Even to a man of science like my doctor, that would be a miracle.