If the Cubs win the National League East—and the opinion here is that they will—last Thursday's 3-2 win over the Expos at Wrigley Field will probably be the game everybody remembers from 1984. Certainly it was the difference between first and second at the end of last week. Here's what made it special:
First, there were the two runs the Cubs scored when the Expos twice failed to turn inning-ending double plays with a runner on third. Then there were two spectacular catches by reserve center-fielder Henry Cotto that killed Expo chances.
Finally, in the top of the ninth, Pete Rose was pinch-hitting with one out and runners on first and third against Lee Smith, the Cubs' stopper. Rose lined one up the middle for what could have been a game-tying single. Oops. The shot caromed off Smith's right side and went high into the air toward shortstop Larry Bowa, who easily caught the ball and threw to first for a game-ending double play.
"I don't think I can hit a ball harder than that," Rose said. "But I can have better placement. Did they practice that play in spring training?"
Rose also pointed out that not all the Cubs were aware the game was over. Smith, for one, shouted to his first baseman, Leon Durham, "Hey, Bull, that's only two outs."
"He said, 'Get off the field, brother, the game's over,' " Smith recounted. "Then I strolled off the held and tried to act like everything was cool."