Cubs give Wrigley Field most appropriate gift of all

It just had to end this way, didn't it.

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Oh boy. It happened again to the Chicago Cubs and nobody should really be surprised.

What began as a celebration for 100 years of Wrigley Field ended the only way it could. The Cubs entered the ninth inning with a three-run lead and were seemingly ready to cap off the birthday party with a victory over the struggling Arizona Diamondbacks.

But lest we forget, this is the Cubs – and they wouldn’t be the Cubs if they weren’t about to smash their own faces into their own birthday cake.

If you are a Cubs fan, it went something like this:

Pedro Strop, the Chicago “closer” enters the game in the ninth ready to seal up the victory. He proceeds to walk the first batter, Chris Owings.

OK, no big deal. Let’s get the next one or even turn two, maybe!

AROUND THE HORN

Then Strop induces Tony Campana to ground into a fielder’s choice, but Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro bobbles the ball right next to second base and isn’t able to get anybody out. That’s an error.

Sure. It’s still a three-run game. Two on, who cares! That was a tough play. We’ll get out of this one, for sure.

Pinch-hitter Eric Chavez comes up, and gets walked.

All right, bases loaded. Force at any base. Let’s do this!

A long battle with Gerardo Parra ensues, with nearly a million pitches fouled off, but Strop gets the strikeout.

That’s what I’m talking about! My place after the game for beers!

Martin Prado singles to center after a potential double-play ball careens off second base and into the outfield, scoring Owings and Campana.

That’s unfortunate. Bad luck I guess. It’s not like the baseball gods have it in for us. C’mon! We still have the lead. Let’s just settle down and strike out the next guy or turn two.

Hey Hey! Struck him out. Holy cow! This is it, Cubs fans. Get ready to celebrate.

Wait … Cubs manager Rick Renteria removes Strop right when the right-hander is getting into a groove.

What? I get it, though. The manager wants a lefty-vs.-lefty situation. Playing the percentages. I get it. Smart baseball. Let’s do it, James Russell.

Up comes Miguel Montero, who ropes a liner into right field scoring one more and tying the game at 5.

Just perfect. That ball looked like it could have been caught by right fielder Justin Ruggiano. Looks like he misplayed it. Ruggiano is a new addition to the Cubs, so it’s not like he’s part of any curse, right? And he came from the Marlins, so …

The Cubs bring in a new pitcher, Justin Grimm.

That’s just a name though. It’s not like it’s indicative of the team’s chances at getting out of this jam. I mean, c’mon already with that stuff.

Aaron Hill is now up at the plate to face our man Grimm. Fly ball to right field; Ruggiano’s got it. He’s definitely got it, except he … muffs it and appears to have injured his hamstring. Two more runs score.

“F***#$@!****%%”

Next batter flies out to replacement right fielder Ryan Kalish.

Well we still have the bottom of the ninth to come back.

Nope. 1-2-3 inning. Game over.

So, happy birthday, you old bag.