I was thrilled to watch the Cubs celebrate their Central Division-clinching win on national television today and before a full house at Wrigley. It seems they’re always clinching on enemy territory — the Pirates come to mind (and yes, in my 33 years it’s happened with relative frequency — 1984, 1989, 1998 [wild card], 2003, 2007, and now 2008). But this is the first time the Cubs have won back-to-back division titles since they three-peated in 1906-1908 (winning their last two World Series in 1907 and ’08).
I’m in Las Vegas (the Cubs are 9-5 favorites to win the NL Pennant; 4-1 on the Series) at the Blog World Expo but — my heart was in Wrigley… and the victory cry I heard just now on Channel 9 News at Nine as bellowed by Ron Santo was something else — I’ll have to get audio. I’d like to thank Jim Hendry and Lou Piniella and the greatest Cubs team I’ve been fortunate to cheer on — the 2008 Cubs. For now, video below, and even the hat is pretty cool. Now back to regularly scheduled weekending and BWE08 activities.
The Chicago Cubs had one distinct goal this off-season and Wednesday morning they will announce mission accomplished.
30-year-old left-handed outfielder Kosuke Fukudome is Chi-town bound after agreeing with the Cubs to a reported 4-year, $48 million contract.
Fukudome is everything that Corey Patterson never was and further indicates the Cubs organization’s newfound understanding that top talent on the farm (see Wood, Prior, Guzman) ain’t always what it’s cracked up to be. For Japanese baseball stars who’ve come to America, the results have been awesome. Suzuki. Matsui. Dice-K. Okajima.
I went to the awesome World Baseball Classic nearly two years ago and — while I primarily remember Japan’s incredible pitchers — Fukudome stood out as well, and not just because his name is so badass.
After Japan won the WBC championship, Fukudome returned to play for the Chunichi Dragons and turned out an MVP season, batting .351 with 31 homers and 104 RBIs.
This is exciting — and Lou can make it happen. I imagine Hendry making a couple more moves — pitching-wise — someone who could stay healthy all year. I don’t want to sit through another spring watching Guzman, Prior, and Wood go through the motions only to find out that they’re arms are bunk (and Kerry, yes, you’ve regained my faith — for now).