During Sunday's blowout of the Brewers, two Cubs - Tyler Colvin and Kosuke Fukudome - were a triple short of the cycle.
Like most everyone before them, they failed. But that didn't stop the Twitter machine and TV box from repeatedly spitting out the phrase "Triple short of the cycle. Triple short of the cycle. Triple short of the cycle" - as if it were likely to happen with the next swing of the mighty Tyler's bat. Not to mention Fukudome.
In short: Not very.
There have 11,057 separate instances of a player being a triple short of the cycle since 1920 (click on the header above for the full list). That works out to roughly 122 per season - or about three times out of every four game days.
There have already been 24 this year, including Colvin and Fukudome on Sunday. Just three days earlier, two Brewers - Jim Edmonds and Ryan Braun - also did it in the same game. This is after it happened 267 times in 2009.
In other words, a triple of short of the cycle is not rare. It is common. Very common.
But how does it compare to the other spokes of the cycle?
Glad you asked.
Single short of the cycle
Since 1920, batters have fallen a single short of the cycle just 382 times - including twice this season (Ian Stewart and Ronnie Belliard). That's about four times a season.
Double short of the cycle
Batters have missed the cycle by a double just 1,424 times since 1920 - or nearly 16 times a season.
It has happened five times in 2010 (Alfonso Soriano, Shane Victorino, Mark Teahan, Will Venable and Pablo Sandoval).
Home run short of the cycle
Finally, there have been 4,003 batters who have missed the cycle by a home run in the last 90 years (about 45 a year). There have been eight this year (David DeJesus, Joe Mauer, Rafael Furcal, Jason Bartlett, Matt Diaz, Ichiro Suzuki, Adam Jones and Everth Cabrera).
And finally ...
Batters have hit for the cycle 198 times since 1920 (none this year). That's a little over twice a season, though it happened eight times in 2009 alone.
And for those eight batters in 2009, how many were a triple short before hitting the cycle? An impressive six came through with the triple they needed to complete one of the rarest of baseball feats.
Here they are, player by player:
Orlando Hudson, April 13 vs Giants: single in the 1st, homer in the 3rd, double in the 4th, triple in the 6th.
Ian Kinsler, April 15 vs Orioles: double in the 1st, homer in the 3rd, single in the 4th, another single in the 4th, triple in the 6th, another double in the 8th.
Jason Kubel, April 17 vs Angels: double in the 1st, single in the 3rd, triple in the 6th, homer in the 8th.
Michael Cuddyer, May 22 vs Brewers: homer in the 1st, double in the 3rd, single in the 4th, triple in the 6th.
Melky Cabrera, August 2 @ White Sox: homer in the 2nd, double in the 4th, single in the 5th, triple in the 9th.
Troy Tulowitzki, August 10 vs Cubs: homer in the 1st, single in the 2nd, double in the 4th, triple in the 7th (and another single in the 8th).
Felix Pie, August 14 vs Angels: double in the 1st, homer in the 3rd, single in the 7th, triple in the 7th.
B.J. Upton, October 2 vs Yankees: triple in 1st, double in 3rd, homer in the 4th, single in the fifth (and another single in the eighth).
What does all this mean? It means that six out of the 273 times that broadcasters said "(Player) is a triple short of the cycle" in 2009 it actually came to be. That's a robust 2 percent.
So, I must admit I was wrong, broadcasters of America. It can happen.
Feel free to use the phrase "triple short of the cycle" with abandon. There's always a chance.