This is life as a Cubs manager. There are 25 people (40 in September!) whose only goal in life seems to be to give you agita. They do bad baseball things, but even worse they do dumb baseball things, and after a while it just becomes too much to take and you have to check out. There's no way to stay sane if you're going to care about every little mental mistake, because the 2012 Cubs are a mental mistake.
Yesterday evening, Luis Valbuena found himself on second. Oblivious to everything, he ambled off the base, fiddling with his batting gloves. Mike Leake threw to second, and the ball was in Brandon Phillips's mitt before Valbuena even realized there was baseball going on. (You can watch the video here. MLBAM hasn't made it embeddable, perhaps because it makes too many people cry.) Valbuena was the potential tying run. The Cubs would go on to lose in 11 innings.
Dale Sveum couldn't do much more than sigh, and ask why God is punishing him.
"That's one of these things," Sveum said. "We have one of these things every three or four days that are not even explainable. You obviously don't practice staying on a base when a pitcher isn't on the mound. (These are) things that just boggle your mind, for major league players who have played a lot of baseball to just be looking off into left field when the pitcher is on the mound.
"These things get unacceptable. And (asking) why are these things happening drives you crazy as a manager because there's no rhyme or reason for things like that to happen."
Valbuena is back in the starting lineup today, because if Sveum benched every Cub who had mentally checked out, it'd be tough to field a team. "Why these brain farts happen," he mused, trailing off. "It's not (cause to) bench anybody over it."
"I don't take anything to heart when a player gets picked off standing and gazing at the stars."
The stars. Vast, maybe even infinite pinpricks of hope. You could lose yourself in them, wondering if maybe, possibly, somewhere out there is someone just like you, with the same dreams and fears and OH GOD I FORGOT HOW MANY OUTS THERE WERE.
Sveum won't bench Valbuena for 'gazing at the stars' [Chicago Tribune]