Monday, January 17, 2011

2011 Cubs: Year in Review

Join Jim Hendry, Kerry Wood, and me for a look into the Cubs' future.
Image courtesy of Worst Photoshop Ever, Inc.
If you have yet to take a virtual stroll through the 2010 recap unfolding over at Aisle 424, you're missing out. Last I checked he was reliving the horrors of June. Since Tim's doing such a remarkable job of it, and since I have no desire at the moment to write anything about the ghosts of failures past, I thought I'd jump into the DeLorean and investigate what happens this year.

I won't spoil the whole season; we all need some reason to watch, right? But as long as I have the means, you can bet your flux capacitor I'll take more than a few peeks at the upcoming candidate for the position of The Year. Okay, 2011, whatcha got?

February 2011
1: The Cubs and Matt Garza avoid arbitration by agreeing to a 10-year, $250 million extension to be paid over the next 30 years.

11: Individual game tickets go on sale at Wrigley Field and online. The lucky person with wristband number 12 gets first place in line, followed by 13, and then the line starts over at wristband number 1. Dozens of fans across the country and abroad complain of online wait times up to 30 to 40 seconds.

14: Pitchers and catchers and Marlon Byrd report to spring training. Geovany Soto shows up with an extra 100 pounds of abdominal weight and with only one eyebrow.

19: All players except Alfonso Soriano report to camp. Everyone is super skinny except for Tyler Colvin, who has bulked up with 25 pounds of muscle and 15 pounds of chain-mail under armor.

26: Alfonso Soriano reports to spring training on the mandatory reporting date and refuses to tell reporters how much he weighs or who he is wearing. Steve Rosenbloom prepares the tar and feathers.

27: Cubs Cactus League opener against Oakland. Ryan Dempster takes the mound and pitches 2 shutout innings. Cubs fans celebrate the return of competitive baseball and the rebirth of hope, joy, and all that is good about human existence.

(later that day): Esmailin Caridad surrenders a ninth-inning homer to Adrian Cardenas. Rich Harden pitches a perfect bottom-half for the save. Cubs fans reach consensus that they're sick of spring training.

15: Max Ramirez hits three homers, his 10th, 11th, and 12th of the spring, in a split-squad game against the Rockies.

16: Max Ramirez is cut from the active roster and designated for assignment.

28: The last remaining fan who still cares what happens in spring training . . . stops.

1: The Cubs open the season at home against Pittsburgh on a Friday? Blake DeWitt leads off and goes 0-7 in a 13-0 complete game win for Ryan Dempster. Cubs reveal it was all part of a hoax to make Cubs fans believe the team was good.

22: Kosuke Fukudome gets his 30th hit of April, a walkoff homer against Jonathan Broxton. It's his 6th homer of 2011. And his last with the Cubs.

30: The Cubs finish April with an 18-8 record (one rainout) thanks to a thorough domination of their 18-game slate against the NL West in the opening month. "This is the year," "It's gonna happen," and "The Cubs are winning for Ronnie," are uttered more than any other phrase in Wrigley Field history, ousting the previous record holder, "Aw crap," by a wide margin.

12: With 2 down in the 9th, Starlin Castro commits his 10th error of the season on a routine grounder that allows Ryan Theriot to go from 1st to 3rd. It turns out to be a game-winner anyway, however, as Theriot is thrown out trying to score on the play to end the game.

20: New Cubs radio play-by-play man Keith Moreland makes headlines by calling Fenway Park "a house of festering donkey caca" coming out of a station ID. The hubbub provides some distraction to the Cubs being swept in their first trip to the HOFDC.

18: Carlos Pena hits a walkoff triple against Mariano Rivera to drive in Jeff Baker from first base and win the game for the Cubs against a Yankees lineup depleted by a rare strain of the flu virus carried by manager Joe Girardi. Pena runs all the way to third despite being terribly slow and not needing the extra base simply because he figured "no one would have predicted it." Having not read this blog entry, the irony eludes him, as does the Yankee flu.

29: The Cubs welcome the World Series champion San Francisco Giants to Wrigley Field. Carlos Zambrano congratulates Mike Fontenot by pounding him into the ground, only not in the just-for-fun method he formerly employed in the Cubs dugout. Z tells reporters after the game, "Mike Fontenot is the enemy. All those short little white guys who left the team are the enemy." The next day he is spotted having breakfast with Bruce Bochy.

Losing. So much losing.

More winning than any sane person could have predicted.

World Series. Duh.

I confess, I just got lazy and stopped time traveling. It's exhausting, and I need to respect the Space-Time Continuum and all that. And when I saw that Gorzelanny was traded to the Nats after this very post originally had him going to Detroit on February 2, I realized the future probably isn't written yet anyway, at least not by me.

Except for the October part. Obviously.


  1. I'll mourn Geo's missing eyebrow all season long.

  2. Here's to hoping it grows back stronger and better than ever!


Spill it.

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