It’s been a hard summer for professional wrestlers of old. Dusty Rhodes went to the great cage match in the sky in June, and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper joined him there just a few days ago. Rhodes was 69 and Piper just 66, which leads me to believe that the third of my 80s wresting triumvirate–”Nature Boy” Ric Flair–is hearing some loud footsteps from the gates to whatever comes next.
Flair’s stock phrase, other than the “Whoo!” that the Cubs have started to use for themselves, was borderline philosophical, as far as wrestling goes: “If you wanna be the Man, You gotta beat the Man. And brother, I’m the Man!” And there was no doubt that he was exactly that, at least for the majority of the 1980s.
So now, in 2015 as the wrestlers are dying off before our eyes, baseball’s version of The Man has come to Wrigley Field for a long weekend series. With three titles in the last five years, and with the most money pitcher that anybody has ever seen in the postseason in Madison Bumgarner, they are the team to beat in MLB, regardless of what the standings say right now. Take that as a dig if you want to, Cardinals fans.
So splitting the four-game series with the Giants will do the Cubs absolutely no good at all. The only thing it will do is slice four games off the schedule, at a time when we’re getting past the 100 games mark. September’s not here yet, but taking three of four–at least–from the Giants this weekend will lay down a marker for when the teams meet again in San Francisco at the end of this month.
It’s very doubtful the Cubs and Giants would end up in a wild-card game against each other, but this weekend will have some role in determining who’s in and who’s out when the postseason arrives. Or, to put it in Ric Flair’s terms, who’s the Man and who isn’t.