Welcome To The Comedy Central, Where The Cubs Are In First Place

↵

↵First, the raw data: Cubs 5, Reds 2. Also, Phillies 9, Cardinals 2. By themselves, they're mere statistical noise, the July results that never determine anything of merit. Together, though, they're another sign of the apocalypse. ↵

↵

↵Yes, with the win, the Chicago Cubs have moved into first place in the NL Central. Their 51-45 record outpaces the Cardinals' 53-48 by half a game. By absolutely no account should the Cubs be in first place in any division. As a matter of fact, at 51-45, they would lead no division in the majors other than the Comedy Central; in the NL West, they'd be tied with the Giants and 10 games back of the Dodgers. ↵

↵

↵The Cubs outpace the Redbirds despite underwhelming seasons from, based on a reasonable assessment of expectations, all but two or three of their nine highest-paid players (salaries per USA Today): ↵

↵

↵1. Carlos Zambrano, $18.75 million: 7-4, 3.48 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 18 days on DL 
↵2. Alfonso Soriano, $17 million: .253, 17 HR, 41 RBI, .760 OPS, 0 days on DL
↵3. Aramis Ramirez, $16.65 million: .311, 7 HR, 25 RBI, .950 OPS, 58 days on DL
↵4. Derrek Lee, $13.25 million: .285, 19 HR, 63 RBI, .881 OPS, 0 days on DL
↵5. Ted Lilly, $13 million: 9-7, 3.59 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 2 days on DL and counting
↵6. Kosuke Fukudome, $12.5 million: .266, 7 HR, 31 RBI, .812 OPS, 0 days on DL
↵7. Ryan Dempster, $9 million: 5-5, 4.09 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 20 days on DL and counting
↵8 (tie). Milton Bradley, $7 million: .248, 7 HR, 23 RBI, .767 OPS, 0 days on DL
↵8 (tie). Rich Harden, $7 million: 7-6, 4.55 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 22 days on DL ↵

↵

↵That's $114.15 million, more than the entire opening day payrolls of all but four teams, invested in nine players. Those nine combined for one All-Star bid (Lilly, a token reserve who was not one of the eight NL pitchers who got into the game) this year. None of them are among the league leaders in anything. ↵

↵

↵This is not to champion the Cubs as winning in spite of something or being "gamers" or whatever. They haven't warranted any praise, and no serious observer of the team should claim otherwise. This is all to say the NL Central is a miserable gathering of teams, one that really ought to just forfeit its playoff bid. ↵

↵

↵Oh, who are we kidding? The last time the NL Central was laughably bad, in 2006, the Cardinals took the division at 83-78 ... and then promptly won the World Series. It's all a crapshoot when the playoffs start. ↵

↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

In This Article

Topics
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.