From Mel Rojas to Dave Smith to Antonio Alfonseca, the Cubs have had a long line of awful closers over the past 25 years. Kevin Gregg officially overtook them all as Most Hated Cubs Closer in History (MHCCH) Monday night when he blew another save in walk-off fashion, this time to the lowly Padres, as he served up a three-run bomb to some guy named Kyle Blanks, who is unknown in 49 states. Gregg was immediately demoted by manager Lou Piniella to batting practice pitcher for the Single-A Boise Hawks of the Northwest League.
“Look, I never want to see that guy again,” said Piniella. “I’ve got a gastric ulcer that’s about to explode. One more Kevin Gregg meatball will be the end of me.”
Gregg’s 12 home runs surrendered are easily the most in MLB among all relievers. And with six blown saves and a 4.47 ERA, he officially reached Red Alert on the Cubs sliding scale of suckiness, a level not seen by a reliever since Rojas left town in ’97.
While several others like LaTroy Hawkins and Rick Aguilera tried their best to unseat Rojas as MHCCH, it took Gregg less than a full season on the north side to take home the honor. When told of the news, Rojas rejoiced with his family in the Dominican Republic.
“This is like my Hall of Fame,” said Rojas. “Never in my wildest dreams did I expect this day to come. But it has, and I have Kevin Gregg to thank for it.”
By Jeremy Barewin