Baseball and the Media: How Fans Lose in Today's Coverage of the Game

By George Castle | Go to book overview

Introduction

Even though he was surrounded by a score of people, Wendell Kim looked lonely as he stood, almost lost in his thoughts, to the dugout side of the door to the weight room in the Chicago Cubs clubhouse late on the night of July 19, 2004, in Wrigley Field.

Kim, the diminutive Cubs third-base coach, no doubt had a feeling of dread about his employment for the following season after the events that had just transpired. The Cubs had just lost a tough 5-4 game to the archrival St. Louis Cardinals. Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano had an emotional meltdown at the wrong time, foolishly aiming his pitches at parts of St. Louis slugger Jim Edmonds' body, as the Cards widened their first-place lead over a team that had been favored to reach the World Series this season.

But Kim, whose reckless gambles sending runners home earned him the nickname “Wavin' Wendell” from Cubs announcers Chip Caray and Steve Stone, lived up to his reputation on this night. Third baseman Aramis Ramirez was still gimpy from a groin injury suffered two weeks previously. Ramirez doubled to lead off the sixth in a 3-3 tie. Catcher Michael Barrett then blooped a single to right. Kim waved Ramirez around rather than holding him up, which would have fashioned a men-on-first-and-third, no-out situation. Cardinals right fielder Reggie Sanders cleanly picked up the ball and gunned a huffing Ramirez out at the plate. Moments later, Alex Gonzalez hit into an inning-ending double play, drawing boos from the standing-room-only crowd of 40,033.

Zambrano's histrionics had attracted the main attention of the media. Edmonds had clubbed a two-run homer off the strapping right-hander in the fourth, prompting Zambrano to jaw at Edmonds

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