Once Upon a Yesterday: Crosstown Countdown

While in present day the Chicago Cubs are kicking off a 4-game set with the Los Angeles Dodgers, we are mere days away from the 2019 installment of the Crosstown Classic.

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Five sleeps, boys and girls. We are five sleeps away from the beginning of the Cubs-White Sox series, and to be honest I haven’t been this excited for the matchup since I got to see Michael Jordan play ball at Wrigley Field. We are gonna throw it back to June 13th, 2010 to a Cubs-Sox game that was memorable for a whole mess of reasons.

Much to the dismay of many of you Blackhawks fans, the St. Louis Blues hoisted Lord Stanley’s Cup for the first time in franchise history, just last night depending on when you read this. The connection to a Crosstown Classic game? On June 13th, 2010 the Chicago Blackhawks were only five days four sleeps removed from doing the same thing, lifting the Cup and ending a 49-year championship drought. And wouldn’t you know it, the Blackhawks brought the Cup with them to Wrigley field ahead of the game on 6/13/2010, and Jim Cornelison to sing the anthem. Remember the good times, ‘Hawks fans!

With all the pageantry in the air, it masked something else, that something special was brewing. I remember this game vividly, it was a Sunday Night Baseball game, the last one I watched in Illinois as I was moving to Hawaii the next week (I gotta throw that in as often as possible). The pitching matchup saw the White Sox send out Gavin Floyd, and the Cubs had Ted Lilly as his counterpart. I’d also like us all to take a moment and fondly remember the names listed on the starting lineup cards:

What a crew. As Hawk would say, Mercy!

The game got underway, and it was moving at a clip. The big bats of the White Sox were making loud outs, but outs all the same. The Cubs batters weren’t faring much better. Seriously, for the bulk of the game it was an occasional walk here, a hit batter there, and deep flyouts. I distinctly remember texting my best bud Brad during the 6th inning, “Is this the most boring game ever? I can’t even remember who got the last hit.” “… Holy shit, both pitchers have no-hitters going!”

Suddenly this game flipped from boring to exciting. Further compounding the excitement was that this was 2010, was peak “you can’t say no-hitter” time, and everyone was dancing around saying it for both pitchers. The top of the 7th was underway, and Ted Lilly continued to live on the edge. He faced Alex Rios, Paul Konerko, and Carlos Quentin and recorded three flyouts. Paulie’s was a deep flyout, the sixth deep flyout of the afternoon for Lilly. That said, an out’s an out, and Lilly was through seven with no hits.

Allegedly, Ted Lilly took out No-Hitter insurance

Now it was Gavin’s turn. Marlon Byrd was the first hitter he faced, groundout. Derrek Lee walked and decided that runs would be so easy to come by that he went ahead and got himself TOOTBLAN. Sidebar: Rumor has it that the term TOOTBLAN was coined to describe Lee’s teammate Ryan Theriot, I’m sure ‘The Riot’ was impressed with what he saw. Such a shame for Lee, because the next hitter was Alfonso Soriano, and he cracked a double to left. The no-hitter was over for Floyd, but Lee left an opening for him to maintain the shutout. The next hitter was Chad Tracy, he singled, scoring Fonzie. After a Koyie Hill strikeout, the inning ended and the Cubs were leading 1-0.

Chad Tracy makes it 1-0 after Alfonso Soriano broke up Gavin Floyd’s No-Hitter

Ted Lilly was set to face the 6-7-8 hitters of the White Sox. A.J. Pierzynski grounded out, and Gordon Beckham and Jayson Nix popped out to the right and left side of the infield, respectively. Eight Innings down, one away from becoming the 14th Chicago Cub to toss a no-no. Gavin Floyd returned to the mound for the 8th and surrendered a leadoff single to Starlin Castro, but that was all. We were headed to the 9th, Cubs leading the Sox 1-0, with Ted Lilly looking to close things out.

Style points don’t matter here, folks.

The first hitter Lilly was to face was a familiar one in the friendly confines, one of my all-time favorite Cubs, Juan Pierre. Pierre pounced on an 0-1 pitch and hit a prototypical JP single back up the middle. No-no over, and so was Ted Lilly’s night.

The fun wasn’t over though, as Cubs manager Lou Piniella called in Carlos Marmol to finish the job. This is 2010 mind you, Marmol’s first year as the closer. It turns out this game would serve as a microcosm of Marmol’s Cub tenure. With Juan Pierre on 1st, Marmol faced Andruw Jones. He walked him on five pitches, leading to runners on 1st and 2nd and next up was Alexei Ramirez. On his first pitch Marmol lands awkwardly, failing to deliver the ball. Balk. The runners move up to 2nd and 3rd, 1-0 game and still nobody out.

Theriot has his glove over his face as he approaches Marmol, but I think he says “That’s prolly worse than a TOOTBLAN.”

Marmol managed to strike out Ramirez on three pitches for the first out. With 1st base open, the Cubs elected to intentionally walk Alex Rios to load the bases and make a force out at every base. Paul Konerko was due up next, with a chance to change the game. A scary dude in a scary situation. Marmol was able to induce a weak grounder to gold glover D-Lee, who got Juan Pierre out at home. Two down, bases stay loaded, the score is still 1-0.

It was Carlos Quentin vs. Carlos Marmol in a battle for both Carlos supremacy and a share of glory in the game. On a 2-1 count, Marmol got Quentin to fly out to CF for the final out of the game. Lilly’s start stayed scoreless, and the Cubs won 1-0. The dual no-hitters made for a quick game overall, as Marmol for Lilly in the 9th was the only pitching change of the game, the game itself was only 2 hours 20 min long.

As we get closer to the start of the 2019 Crosstown Classic stay tuned to On Tap Sports Net for continuing Cubs/Sox coverage in addition to all Chicago sports. If our group text is any indication, things are gonna get fiery, lines may be crossed and friendships put on hold. The White Sox guys may even write their own counter post to this one. Nonnie, Buzz, what you got? Pitter-Patter, boys.


Featured Photo: Associated Press
All stats and dates referenced are courtesy baseball-reference.com.

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