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October 2, 2007

Sometimes being twelfth best is all it takes!

***Note: E is back. Check out his normal ramblings HERE!***

Well, they did it.

A year after finishing dead-ass last in the NL Central, the Chicago Cubs have messed around and won the division. They managed to win the division despite the fact they finished a mere four games over .500.

They needed 160 games to put it away. And, in the last week of the season, the only reason the Cubs magic number kept going down was because the second place Brewers couldn't win a game either. In fact, had the Cubs and Brewers not won and lost, respectively, their games last Friday, I believe the division would be tied (and I'm sure some stat wonk will correct me on that if I'm wrong).

Basically, the Cubs backed right into a division win. Of course, none of this would be possible without the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Brewers were this year's "Pick to Click" in the NL Central. Many analysts picked them to win the division. And, up until May 12, they actually had the best record in baseball. And then, the slide started. By the 15th, they had the best record in the NL. By the 27th, they had the worst record of any division leader in all of baseball. And they just kept going backwards.

By the end of August, they were a sub-.500 ballclub, all the way back in 3rd, behind the Cubs and Cardinals. But, the Cardinals' resurgence was short-lived, and the Cubs, well, they're the Cubs, and the Brewers climbed back on top by the 2nd week of September. But, the Brewers threw away late-game leads (via Derrick Turnbow, the Cubs' best player, who won at least 15 games for the Cubs, even though he plays for the Brewers), and the Cubs just continued playing.500 ball.

Eventually, they got their magic number down to two, and just happened to win a game the same day the Brewers lost.

And there you have it: The new NL Central champs.

Not that any of this matters. These ARE the Cubs, who haven't even BEEN to a World Series since World War II. And this is where Cub fans will haul out the old "Steve Bartman" argument, because, had Bartman not touched that foul ball that Moises Alou maybe would have caught, the Cubs' pitching staff wouldn't have given up eight runs that inning to lose Game Six.

And not many people know this, but he also caused the Cubs to lose Game Seven as well. If not for that guy, the Cubs would (probably not) have gone to the World Series.

Anyhoo, congrats, Cubbies.

After you get knocked out of the playoffs this year, you can get all geared up to finish last next year. Because, after all, you ARE the Cubs, and that's what you do.

Ballhype: hype it up!


high&tight said...

Just a few quick points. One I think the Cubs finished 8 games over .500. And no matter what happened on the final Friday, the Brewers were not going to win this division. They could be a very talented team, but this year they were chokers and could not win down the stretch. And the Cubs were playing a Reds team without Dunn, and Griffey. And until the Cubs develop some real talent through their farm system, they are going to have keep buying division titles. And hope they luck their way into a world series.
Unrelated Matt Holliday, is the nl mvp. He scored the most important run of the season without touching home plate. That's skill.

Jesus said...

The Cubs were 85-77...four games over .500.

Brad said...

I have been front and center in being critical of the Cubs farm system (or lack thereof). This year, Ryan Theriot, Carlos Zambrano, Sean Marshall, Rich Hill, Carlos Marmol, Kerry Wood, Michael Wuertz, Ronny Cedeno and Geovanny Soto all played roles on the team. Three were starting pitchers, one was the starting shortstop and another is now the starting catcher. Granted, it isn't the Rockies, but how many teams are the Rockies when it comes to homegrown talent? From the dismal past regrding homegrown talent, I am actually rather pleased with the the Cubs farm system right now. Also, can't forget to include Matt Murton, Koyie Hill and Mike Fontenot, all of which came from the minors, albeit via another organization.

Jesus said...

I gotta agree with Brad. Just as easy it is for the bandwagon Cubs fans to NOT know who is on the is easy for the bandwagon Cubs haters to do the same.

Compared to recent years when the Cubs stunk up the Central...this year's variety has MORE home grown talent.

Buying a division title or World Series doesn't ALWAYS work how people think it does. Chemistry wins you a championship...and I'm not sure the Cubs are the best alchemists out there either.

Sorry Cubs fans.

Anonymous said...

The Cubs were 8 games above .500. 85-77 is 8 games better than .500, or 50%. to be .500 they would have to lose 8 games. just as 3-1 is .750. it doesn't work like the games back. if a team is 1 game back they have to win and the other team has to lose. 500 is a percentage.

Jesus said...

The eight games logic works ONLY if the season wasn't 162 games AND already over (and by the looks of is WAY over as I type this!). I can't believe this is even being debated, but here we go.

A .500 record for a 162 season is 81-81, correct? The +/- is 4 games on either side of the ledger.

Therefore, losing four games that they won makes them a .500 ballclub.


E said...

Maybe I should have clarified: ".500" refers to winning percentage. The Cubs finished four games over a .500 winning %.

Jesus said...

Fuck clarification...the Cubs are all of a sudden 0-0.