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Pay Your Respects

by: Brian F. Logush

It seems fitting, almost poetic, that on this day, this soon into Fall, that we pay our respects to a fallen adversary. One that never gave up, despite seeing the writing on the wall months and months ago. One that knew how it would all end, but had managed to convince itself otherwise.

Oh, 2009 Chicago Cubs... we hardly knew ye.

The road to your demise began in 2008, actually. Jim Hendry, GM extraordinaire, struck up a deal with the Cleveland Indians that sent fan favorite Mark "The Pulse" DeRosa packing in exchange for three pitching prospects, which we learned in the 2009 season the team definitely needed. After three years in the North side of the Windy City, DeRosa's best season was his last with the club, belting 21 home runs to go along with 87 RBIs. But that wasn't good enough for Hendry, who we're sure was convinced DeRosa's right-handedness would not be helpful to the team in the long run.

Then there was the signing of free-agent infielder Aaron Miles. Miles was a switch-hitter, whose versatility in the middle infield would only help the team when a regular needed a break. He could even pitch-in during a crisis.

And of course, we would be remiss if we didn't mention the brilliant signing of outfielder/mental case Milton Bradley. Bradley provided a switch-hitting outfielder, with the kind of numbers that made the variables favor 'reward' rather than 'risk'. What variables, you ask? This one. Or this one. Or, maybe this one. Alex Brown, writer for MLBexaminer.com, said before the season began, "given Milton Bradley's strengths and the team already in place,... I believe that the Cubs made the best possible choice for their outfield vacancy." As Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler would ask, "Really?"

This was supposed to be your year. Derrick Lee was in good condition. Aramis Ramirez would continue his habit of destroying Cardinal pitching. Geovany Soto was the reigning NL Rookie of the Year. Rich Harden was going to be around for a whole season. Alfonso Soriano was due to live up to his monster contract. Kevin Gregg was going to be the closer Kerry Wood couldn't dream of becoming. If you had signed Michael Barrett and Joe Randa, two of the biggest Cardinal killers for some inexplicable reason, you'd have already punched your ticket to face the Dodgers in the NLDS.

But the small Bears seemed determined to let the "Comedy Central" go elsewhere. Would it be the Brewers, who had lost two great pitchers in Ben Sheets and C.C. Sabathia? Maybe the upstart Reds, who had a lot of the young talent the 2008 Brewers had? But certainly not the rival Cardinals, who had a lineup (with one glaring exception) nobody was afraid of, and a bullpen that made you so confident after the Opening Day loss to the Pirates. As soon as Jason Motte gave up that three-run double to Jack Wilson, you could hear the popping of the Old Style cans all the way in St. Louis.

But life threw you an Adam Wainwright 2006 NLCS Game 7 curveball. It took the Cubs almost a month and a half to gain any ground on the Cardinals near the end of the season. By that time, the division race was all but over. Their downfall gives fans two options. The extreme, over-the-top, loyal to a tee Cubs fans could take their anger, despair, and general lack of surprise at 101 years of futility to the local pub and drown their sorrows with a little Southern Comfort. Or, for the newer, bandwagon fans, they can throw their Soriano shirt onto the closet floor and bust out their throwback Walter Payton jersey.

But this is supposed to be a celebration, right? Well, the 2009 Chicago Cubs did not have many highlights. But at least no players were held for some questionable act in a New York town. So, raise a can of Old Style and toast with us. And remember: this year's Cubs team will win as many postseason games this October than they have the previous two postseasons.

2 comments:

  1. Ok, now your writing is getting to the point that I feel that I should be getting a few citations for my original thoughts, you plagiarist...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good riddance...I saw those shirts last season at Wrigley that said, "It's Gonna Happen." I just wanted to grab a fan and say.."really, it really won't. I know you don't get it, but... you're The Cubs."

    ReplyDelete


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