***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.