I’m back! It’s been a few years since this die hard Cubs fan has posted anything. Since that time I have quietly watched the Cubs Organization bring the dynamic duo of Epstein and Hoyer into the fold. Cubs fans were told to be patient and trust in the rebuilding process. While most baseball fans would balk at such a thought, a few more years of mediocrity is a small price to pay for us Cubs fans. Tom Ricketts deserves a ton of credit. As an owner, he has done his part in creating an environment conducive to winning baseball. Epstein and Hoyer have managed to transform the Cubs farm system into one of the best, if not the best, in MLB.
The “Plan” has moved on to the next phase of development. The Cubs got lucky when the highly coveted Manager, Joe Madddon suddenly became available. This was an unexpected surprise. It also complicated matters. The Cubs weren’t planning to be competitive till next year, but with Maddon in place there has been a huge buzz around baseball that the Cubs are ready to make their move. In fact, Cubs fans expect the Cubs to make a splash during the Winter Meetings. The Cubs have already lost out in the Russell Martin sweepstakes. He would have been a perfect fit to catch and lead a young Cubs team. Didn’t happen. Now the Cubs are waiting on an answer from left-handed ace, Jon Lester, who undoubtedly would anchor any pitching staff. The question still looms. Are the Cubs making their move this year or simply adding a few pieces of the puzzle? I think if they land Lester, then the Cubs will make additional moves to solidify the 2015 Cubs. If the Lester deal falls through, then I look for the Cubs to go after James Shields and add a few small pieces here and there. We have to keep in mind that next year’s free agent class is very promising and the Cubs will not be going overboard this year by spending a ton of money on free agents. In addition, they are not going to trade away top prospects just so they can improve this year. Yes, the Cubs will make their fair share of moves this winter, but fellow Cubs fans, keep your expectations in check for now. We just have to wait and see how things play out. We are standing at the dawn of something incredible. The Cubs organization aren’t constructing a team that can be competitive. They aren’t putting together a team that can make a run at a World Series championship. No, Epstein and Hoyer are up to something even greater. The Cubs are building a DYNASTY!! Tom Ricketts, Theo Epstein, and Jed Hoyer have a plan and they plan to build an organization that will dominate for years to come. Get ready Cubs fans!!! Are you excited? I am. Regardless of when it will happen, it will happen and it will happen right before our eyes. It has already begun. GO CUBS!!!!!!
The 2010 season is finally over. Now it’s time to reflect on the players who deserve special recognition. Introducing the 1st annual Diehard Cubs’ Fan Attaboy Awards.
While my choices may not reflect the opinion of all Cubs’ fans, here are my selections nonetheless. Feel free to leave comments regarding your choices. It’s a free country.
The Ernie Banks Award goes to the player who exemplifies the heart and soul of the team. The player who demonstrated heart, determination, and who led by example.
Numbers aside, it goes to the player who contributed to the team in tangible and intangible ways.
The Ernie Banks Award goes to… Marlon Byrd.
His hustle and determination made him an all-star in 2010. Marlon batted .293, with 12 homeruns and 66 RBI’s. Byrd had a .346 OBP and defensively shined in centerfield. He brought a winning attitude to the club. Attaboy, Marlon!
Rookie Of The Year Award goes to Starlin Castro AND Tyler Colvin.
While Castro would be most fans’ choice for the award, Tyler Colvin has proven to be a valuable part of the team as well. Starlin Castro batted .300, with 3 homeruns and 41 RBI’s. Castro led the team with 10 stolen bases. Meanwhile, prior to having his season end prematurely due to the broken bat incident, Tyler Colvin hit .254, with 20 homeruns and 56 RBI’s. Both youngsters did a tremendous job in 2010. While both players have room for improvement, Castro and Colvin had an excellent rookie season. Attaboy, you guys! Good job!
Most Dominant Pitcher Award goes to… Carlos Marmol.
Carlos Marmol has been one of the most dominant closers in the game today.
Marmol has become one of the most feared pitchers for batters to face. He has a NASTY slider that when Carlos is on top of his game, is unhittable. He has been lights out this year. Marmol surpassed Bruce Sutter’s single-season record for strikeouts by a closer with 138 K’s. Carlos finished the year with a 2.55 ERA and 38 SAVES. Attaboy, Carlos! Excellent work!
Comeback Player Award goes to… Carlos Zambrano.
Big Z was on the verge of being finished in Chicago following his infamous tirade in the dugout after Derek Lee failed to dive after a ball driven down the first base line. His outburst landed him on the Restricted List where Carlos was forced to undergo Anger Management classes. Upon his return to the starting rotation, Big Z was resurrected and given new life. Zambrano made the best of his second chance as he calmly returned and was better than ever. Big Z made a statement to silence the critics, not with his mouth, but with masterful pitching performances. Since the all-star break, Big Z proved that he is one of the best in the business as he went 8-0, with a 1.41 ERA in his last 11 starts. Zambrano finished the season 11-6, with a 3.33 ERA. Big Z is back, better than ever! Attaboy, Carlos! Keep up the good work, and don’t forget to stay calm!
The Mr. Consistency Award goes to… Sean Marshall. Sean is a true team player. He would rather be in the starting rotation but the team needed his services in the bullpen where Sean has quietly turned into one heck of a reliever.
He has been the premiere set up man. Marshall finished the season with a 7-5 record and a 2.65 ERA in 80 appearances. Sean has proven to be one of the best left-handed relievers in the game. Attaboy, Sean! Nice job!
Special Award goes to… Mike Quade. Since Lou Piniella retired, Mike Quade assumed managerial duties to finish out the season. No one had Mike Quade on Jim Hendry’s ShortList but, Quade didn’t waste any time opening people’s eyes.
He quickly turned the Cubs around. Under Mike, the team finished 24-13. Quade deserves a ton of credit for the turnaround. No one expected that he would emerge as one of the front runners to win the 2011 managerial position, but here he is. The players have endorsed him and have played their hearts out to finish the season strong. The Cubs looked like playoff contenders the last month and a half, a huge accomplishment since there wasn’t anything to play for at that point. In any event, the strong finish will undoubtedly carry over into next season. I tip my hat to Mike Quade for making the end of the season enjoyable to watch. Attaboy, Mike! Good luck on the interview process! You have proven your ability to manage and manage well!
The Diehard Award goes to… THE ENTIRE CUBS’ TEAM for not giving up when all was lost, for having the heart to play hard and finish strong.
I salute you, Cubs! This team has given me a new ray of hope as next season draws near. I can’t wait till next year! It should prove to be a different story, one with a happier ending! ATTABOY, CUBS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! See you next Spring! Get some rest, work hard in the offseason and come back healthy and ready to play! We shall embark on a journey together, a quest for a World Series Championship! BELIEVE!!! What the mind can conceive and believe, the Cubs can achieve! Believe it!