Sunday, September 21, 2008

Cubs win the NL Central!

This is the first time in my memory that the Cubs have made back-to-back appearances in the playoffs. So this is definitely historic, perhaps this will be the Cubs' year, but I won't get ahead of myself. I look forward to the playoff run and hopefully the Cubs will once again find themselves in the NLCS like they were in 2003.

On a warm, late-summer day with shadows creeping over the ballpark and a crowd of 41,597 on its feet, Kerry Wood induced Aaron Miles to loft a fly ball to center field with two outs in the ninth inning and the tying run on first. Jim Edmonds swallowed it up with ease, starting a party that would last all night in Wrigleyville.

The 2008 Cubs accomplished the first step of their long journey, but no one will be satisfied if it ends with a rerun of last year's finish, a three-game sweep at the hands of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first round of the playoffs.

"It has been a really, really nice year, and I'm proud of our team," manager Lou Piniella said. "Now we can start planning for the postseason, and hopefully we can give the fans what they want.

"And we all know what that is."

Everyone knows what Chicago wants, and Piniella hopes the fans realize the players want it just as much as they do. The Cubs cruised to the division title this year, leading the National League in runs scored and ranking second in pitching heading into the final week of the regular season.

"The difference between this year and last year is we did it playing ahead. Last year we came from behind," Piniella said. "And the difference this year is we won it on the field in front of our fans. I thought the tribute — the fans staying around and the players going out to left field and right field and down these lines — it was special.

"It goes to show you how much our players and our organization appreciate the support our fans give us."
Last year the Cubs won the Wild Card. In 2003 they won the NL Central. In 1998 they won the Wild Card. I especially remember 1989 when the Cubs won the NL East.

The 1989 NL East title was won in Montreal with Harry Carray making the call at that time. I was enthused and it was probably the first championship I remember. I don't remember the Super Bowl Shuffle and I definitely don't remember the White Sox' 1983 West title or the Cubs first appearance in the baseball post-season since 1945, the 1984 NL East championship.

Heh, thanks for reading that brief Chicago basbeall championship history. I look forward to talking about this more as the playoffs progress. I very much look forward to following this because I followed 2003 intensly and I regret not following 2007 intently.

Oh and let me not miss out on talking about the White Sox, they're not out of the playoff picture yet. Both teams might find themselves in the playoffs. In fact it almost happened back in 2003. I was working at a store when a Cubs fan and a Sox fan made small talk and they both were wearing their respective team's jersey.

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