Baseball changed forever with the 1958 season. No longer was St. Louis the westernmost outpost of the major leagues. When the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants decamped for California, baseball had become a three-time zone game, and it remained as such until the Colorado Rockies came on board in the Mountain time zone back in 1993.
Unless the Chicago Cubs can win their final road game of the season on Sunday in Phoenix, the Cubs will achieve something I would have thought impossible at the start of this season: winning games in only two of baseball’s four time zones.
The team went 0-for-California earlier in the season, which was astonishing enough. But then, in the midst of a late-season flatlining that I’ve never seen before, they traveled West one last time, playing (and losing) three against the Rockies in Colorado, and losing the first two in Phoenix against the Diamondbacks. That’s zero wins in the Pacific time zone, along with zero wins in the Mountain time zone.
If the Cubs should lose on Sunday in Phoenix, not only will they make it to the historic double-triple for the first time in professional sports history, but they will have also been shut out in two different time zones. The last time that happened was in 1957, when the Dodgers and Giants were still playing in New York. The Cubs couldn’t have won a game in either the Mountain or Pacific time zones that year, because they simply didn’t have that opportunity. And this season, after 15 tries at it, they still don’t have a win in either time zone. It’s an unthinkable feat, really.
And please don’t point to any spring training games in Arizona, because those games didn’t count. The season began in Chicago on April 5. The Cubs had many chances to win a single game in either time zone, which would have spared all of us from this meaningless, yet still rather instructive, bit of information.
All of these losses to the teams of the NL West have contributed mightily to the worst home record in the history of the Cubs franchise. Never before have the Cubs lost 58 games on the road, as they have this season. They won’t catch Houston’s 60 road losses this season, but no other team besides Houston has more than 50 road losses right now. That’s a sign of just how bad this Cubs team has been on the road in 2012.
For what it’s worth, I hope the Cubs can pull out the final road game of this awful season on Sunday. That would render this piece meaningless, and keep the faintest hope alive for avoiding 100 losses overall. The Cubs would still have to sweep the Astros in Wrigley Field this week, but having something, anything, to play for in the final three games of the season would be greatly appreciated.