Watching the Cubs gel into a special team

Game after game we are seeing this team grow into a force to be reckoned with. They are learning as a group how to win; that winning is possible every game. This team is maturing before our very eyes, and the sum is becoming greater than its parts. Today for example, Lou sits Aramis Ramirez. As the Rockies build a 7-0 lead, he pulls his 3rd & 4th hitters (Lee & Soto) to give them a breather too. To me, that signaled a white towel move. Most teams, I think, would have packed it in at that point. But this Cubs team truly believes they can win every game. Role players pick up the stars, they execute or if they don’t the next guy in the lineup does. The are figuring out how to win and that is exciting to watch. Not unlike a proud papa, I feel genuinely happy for these players as they rise together to become something special.

To win in this league, a team must have talent for sure. But health and luck play big roles too, and those things are hard to obtain and retain. So far so good… Arguably the teams biggest star, Alfonso Soriano, goes on the DL and the team easily fills in around him to win without him. That was an early indication this could be a good team.

But just looking at the games this week, its not the so-called marquee players that are making it happen, it’s the whole team. As much as I hate to admit it, Jim Edmonds had a big homer and a bigger 2-run double. Henry Blanco went yard. Mark DeRosa had the go-head home run. Fukudome picked an excellent time for his second major league bomb. …all this with Lee, Ramirez and Soto – the guys who are the number 1, 2 and 3 RBI producers on the club – sitting on the bench. Earlier this week there were big, big hits by Geovany Soto, Ryan Theriot, Mike Fontenot, Kosuke Fukudome… And how about the pitching of Carlos Marmol, Kerry Wood, and even Bobby Howry.  Literally everyone is contributing, and that’s what winning teams do.

Today’s monumental comeback from a 9-1 deficit in the 6th could very well be a hallmark game for this team. Mentionable in the same breath with the Sandberg game in ’84, Willie Smith’s heroics in ’69, Gabby Hartnett’s Homer in the Gloamin’, Tuffy Rhodes 3-HR opening day 1994 (off Dwight Gooden!), today’s game was special.  That said, it is still only May and there is a full two-thirds of the season remaining. I understand and accept that. But for now, it feels like this team has something very special going for it. We shall see…

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    May 30, 2008   Posted in: observations

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