We don’t have it yet, but we know he’s in it because Joe told us. Still no update on Furcal. And Schmidt is going to throw his fourth rehab for Single-A Inland Empire on Saturday, which is significant because it comes after the standard four days’ rest, the first time he has made back-to-back starts on regular rest as opposed to standard rest. The time constraints of his rehab (30 days) are such that he probably only has two more starts, and one club official said Schmidt could jump all the way to 75 pitches this time even though he has yet to throw more than 45. Torre said as long as Schmidt gets up to 85 before he returns, he could throw 100 when he does return. Still anybody’s guess as to how they’re going to fit him into the rotation when the time comes.
That allows me to segue seamlessly from my last blog post of yesterday into my first blog post of today, because I am now ACTUALLY IN A TOILET. Or at least I’m in a big bowl that smells like somebody puked in it, a place the locals fondly refer to as Shea Stadium. The sad part is, you can see this soaring edifice going up beyond the outfield where the Mets are going to move next year, after they finally take a wrecking ball to this place, and it’s just tantalizing, so close you can almost reach out and touch it, but so far away in terms of time. I’ll try to post a photo of it sometime during this four-game series. My boss has suggested, after I posted that shot of downtown Chicago yesterday, that you, the readers, might be interested in a series of photos showing my vantage point from the press box in every major-league park I visit. I actually think that’s a great idea — and no, I’m not just being a corporate brown noser, I ACTUALLY DO think that’s great idea. Here’s the problem: I’m not the most technically advanced person in the world, and even posting that Chicago photo required a couple of phone conversations with the head techster back at the office, a super cool dude named Ryan Garfat, who had to go in and size and fix the photo the way I wanted it. So I’m going to have to figure this out before I start posting photos on a regular basis, so bear with me.
The Cubs outscored the Dodgers 8-3 in this series. That would be a pretty good spanking if it happened in one game. But I’m not going to excuse the boys by telling you they were in every game, because the fact of the matter is, when you score one run a game, you’re never really in any of them. Russell Martin made some candid comments after the game that I didn’t get into the paper, and frankly, I’m not going to waste a bunch of time transcribing them here, either, because it’s almost midnight here and I have a 6 a.m. flight. But in a nutshell, what he said was what we all already know, that you can’t expect your pitchers to win 1-0 every night and that you can’t expect to be very successful scoring one run a game. That said, though, Saito’s blown save in the ninth had nothing to do with a lack of offense. One-run leads in the ninth inning — whether it’s 1-0, 4-3 or 100-99 — are what Saito is paid to protect, and this time, he didn’t get it done. He was, however, a standup guy with the media afterward, and while that probably means nothing to the average fan, it says a lot about him as a guy. … I knew for three days there was something different about Wrigley Field, something I couldn’t quite put my finger on, and someone finally told me before the game what it was. They flattened the field over the winter, taking away the crown that I guess had been there since the place opened in 1914. This was the last park in baseball that still had a crowned field, which obviously was for drainage purposes, and according the Cubs media guide, it was 14 inches high at its peak just in front of second base. Last winter, they installed a state-of-the-art drainage system that actually sucks the water underground and eventually dumps it into the city’s sewer system. You can definitely tell the difference from field level, but the field actually looks MUCH nicer even from the press box. For a 95-year-old park, this place is remarkably well-preserved and even somewhat modern-looking. If you’re a baseball fan and you have never been here, it is definitely worth the trip. Just a truly special place in every way.