Goodbye, 2011

It takes me a couple of days to come to terms with the end of a Cubs season. I sit through their last game knowing it’s their last game, getting a little bittersweet with every out. I watch them leave the field for the last time and it makes me pout. The season, no matter how craptacular, is over.

The next day, I go into denial. I think it has to do with baseball being such a part of my routine. So the first day of the Cubs offseason feels like just another off day.

It’s the day after, when the playoff games start and my boys aren’t in it, that it really sinks in that I won’t be seeing my boys until next season.

I realize that after the disappointing season the Cubs had this year, it could be considered ridiculous to be maudlin over the season being over. But like a heavily involved den mother, these are my boys and I love them so long as they wear Cubbie blue and I’m going to miss them, no matter how badly they’ve played. Bad Cubs baseball beats half the stuff on TV these days anyway.

According to the people who, in January, picked this team to end up 4th or 5th (Good job, guys! Why so bitter? You got it right!), I shouldn’t miss this team at all, but I will. I become very attached during a season and there are several guys lining up to make possible exits this year. Pena, Ramirez, Dempster, Grabow, Wood, Ortiz, Lopez, Johnson, DeWitt, Baker, Hill. All of them could be gone next year (not to mention the ones that have already left) and I’m sure many people would rejoice their absence. I’d miss them, though. Good and bad, they were part of the ride. It’s like a badge of honor. They earned it. The badge and the fifth place finish.

I’m not so soft that I can’t see they didn’t do well. Bad performances, slow starts, inconsistency, and injuried marred this team from opening week. Some might say this team didn’t have a chance from day one. Fine. It’s all true. But that doesn’t mean I couldn’t and didn’t enjoy my team. And it doesn’t mean I won’t miss them (even if I don’t miss the way some of them played).

On a personal note, I saw more Cubs games this year than I have in my whole life. Leading up to this season, I’d only seen two (one in August of ’94 and one in September of ’11; I had tickets for one in May of either ’00 or ’01, but it was rained out). This year I made it to four, three in Wrigley and one in Kansas City. Of the four, I only witnessed one Cubs win (par for the course this season), but I cannot deny that even during the losses I had a great time. There’s no place like Wrigley.

It’s been a long, hard, rough season and on the one hand, I’m glad it’s over. On the other hand, I’m bummed that it’s done.

Goodbye, 2011.

Waiting on 2012.

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Padres Series–That’s All, Folks

Last night was a wild night in baseball. The Orioles squashed the Red Sox and the Rays pulled it out against the Yankees in thrilling one right after another victories. And the Braves collapse allowed the Cardinals sneak into the postseason.

Leading up to all of this late night drama (Kiki has a baseball hangover today) was the Cubs last ballgame of the season. And in a fashion fitting the season, they went out like they came in…with a loss.

Despite it being a rather bittersweet series (no matter how bad the season, we never like to see it end), we still managed to have some fun.

Done and done.

-Soriano with a three run homer, making Petco his bitch as Kiki called it.

-Milestones: Pena’s 100th walk of the season, Dempster getting 200 innings, and Castro with a 40 game on-base streak.

-Tony Campana making an ump jump out of the way as he tagged up and ran on a fly ball.

-The final fan fun: a fan fell asleep, so his buddy put a straw in his mouth and took pictures, much to Len and Bob’s delight.

-The final fan revenge: fans slow clapping beneath Len and Bob’s press box, much to Len and Bob’s annoyance.

-The final fan comeuppance: the slow clapping fan hurting his hands, much to Len and Bob’s vindication.

-Casey Coleman breaking up a no-no with a triple.

-Matt Garza getting a win for his last outing. Well deserved.

-Kids night! Including the debuts of Rafael Dolis and Steve Clevenger.

-Steve Clevenger getting is his first major league hit and making it a double.

-Len’s last pun: Deep Friar. Bob will need the winter to recover from all of them.

-Castro hitting a single while blowing a bubble, reminding us all that the game is supposed to be fun.

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Cardinals Series–We Don’t Want to Talk About It

No, really, we don’t. Let’s just skip ahead to the fun stuff.

Was there any fun stuff?

Of course there was. This is us you’re talking about.

 

 -Barney with a standing triple.

-A great diving catch and a great sliding catch by Byrd.

-Wells with a 3 pitch first inning, as you do.

-Soriano the RBI machine.

-The Cardinals double play machine.

-Len discussing upcoming line-ups: These are all written in pencil.

-The eagle flying display. The ball players looked like little kids watching it.

-Bob’s approval of Marc Rzepczynski’s nickname “Scrabble”. He’s been looking for a good nickname all year.

-Soriano with a 3-run bomb into the Cubs dugout. It did lack John Grabow catching the ball in his hat, though.

-The “Eat It” video. We’re really going to miss Len and Bob’s “Here, Eat This” tour.

-DJ with a fantastic leaping catch.

-Starlin Castro get’s hit number 200 (and then some).

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Brewers Series–Closing the Last Homestand With a Win

This series accomplished two things. One, the Cubs closed out the last homestand at Wrigley on a winning note. Two, the Cubs prevented the Brewers from clinching the division in the Friendly Confines. I believe the words we’re looking for are “neener neener”.

The fun had during this last home series is enhanced with live observations from Kiki’s last game of the season. Consider yourselves warned.

"I'm taking my 200 act on the road!"

 -That Castro home run was pretty sweet live and in person.

-Soto repeating himself with two 2-run bombs in the same game.

-Several coaches were hanging out in left field during BP. Whenever a ball would come there way, Pat Listach would hit it towards the unsuspecting pitchers in left center/center. Hilarious.

-DJ with an RBI double.

-Welcome to the show, call-ups Rafael Dolis and Steve Clevenger. Just in time for rookie hazing, too.

-Byrd with a 3-run homer and almost catching up to Soto during his home run “trot”.

-Singing the stretch with Gale Sayers.

-Len buying the production crew dinner.

-Barney with two doubles.

-Castro leaving Wrigley with 199 hits.

-We don’t care for the Brewers, but John Axford, aside from having fantastic facial hair, seemed to have the most fun during BP. He tormented other pitchers, threw his glove in the air at a couple of balls, and had an overall good time. He may have won Kiki over a little.

-Casey Coleman with a quality start and a win.

-Watching Soriano interact with the left field fans.

-Russell throwing at DeWitt during BP when he wasn’t looking. The ball rolled past him and he was like, “Wait, what?” Again, hilarious.

-The grounds crew singing the stretch. Always fantastic.

-Matt Garza biffing a throw to some fans during BP.

-And the next day, he pitched a complete game win. Go figure.

 

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Pictures from Wrigley: Cubs vs. Brewers

It was a beautiful evening for baseball. Clear skies, a bit of a breeze, not too chilly. Really nice weather for my last game of the season. It would have been nice if I could have seen a win, but I’m kind of used to the Cubs losing in my presence, so I’m not going to shed too many tears over that.

I am willing to admit, however, that my last game of the season and the Cubs last home game of the season is enough to get me a little choked up. I know it’s been a terrible season and it’s best to put it out of its misery, but dammit, I’m going to miss my boys and I’ll be counting the days until I can see them again.

Here are a few pictures from my last game of the season to tide us all over.

Koyie Hill, Reed Johnson, and Blake DeWitt during batting practice.

 

What's the proper term for a group of pitchers? A bullpen? Here is a bullpen of pitchers during BP.

 

Randy Wells warms up while Blake DeWitt's half-brother sits in front of me. Seriously. Doesn't he look like DeWitt?

 

Soriano greets his adoring fans. Never mind the two Braun fans in front there.

 

Night, Ronnie. See you next year.

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Things Kiki Wanted to Tweet at the Cubs Game, But Couldn’t

It’s no secret that cell reception at Wrigley has a tendency to suck. So a lot of what I wanted to tweet last night during the game, I didn’t get to because…well…I couldn’t. Which means my loyal fans missed all of my wit and whatnot (mostly whatnot).

Here’s everything I wanted to tweet last night, but couldn’t.

-Narrowly avoided contact with Ronnie Woo Woo and his blue ukelele. I used a human shield.

-Judging by the fans in Brewers jersies, there’s only 3 players on their team. Weeks, Fielder, and Braun. Lots of Braun.

-Either Tony Campana is the bat boy, or the bat boy wants to be him. 90mph everywhere.

-Favorite Braun taunt: “Get your hair cut!” Hilariously random.

-Favorite Braun taunt: A ten year old accusing Braun of wearing his sister’s pants.

-Favorite Braun taunt: A man with a very deep voice telling Braun he had the nicest ass in the NL. We all felt a little dirty after that.

-I may have eaten a helmet of ice cream for dinner.

-Randy Well’s butt isn’t nearly as big in person as it is on TV. But it’s still a bit of junk in that trunk.

-Soriano is adorable with the left field fans.

-I bet these girls trying to get balls  from the players are really good at getting beads during Mardi Gras.

-If I were skinny and pretty with no shame, I bet I could get a lot of balls, too. #SeeWhatIDidThere

-The Braun fans in left field are far too impressed by Braun making routine catches.

-There are so many drunken, floppy rally hats right now.

-3 dollar beer night in the bleachers isn’t a good idea if you’re not drinking the 3 dollar beers. #SoManyUnfunnyDrunks

-Your best bet for a non-dickhead Brewers fan? Find one wearing a Gallardo jersey.

-Park and ride is great, but they have to shove 750 people on the bus back to the lot.

-I am unskilled at strap hanging on a packed bus. I’m going to need Tommy John surgery after this ride.

Okay, the last three were on the bus, but I couldn’t tweet them because I didn’t have the opportunity as I was hanging on for dear life and trying not to kill the cool Brewers fans next to me.

It was my last Cubs game of the season, a bittersweet moment for me. I went to Wrigley more times this year than I have in my life. Of my three trips, I only got one win. But win or lose, I love going to Wrigley.

I can’t wait for next year.

 

Until then...

 

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Astros Series–Sweep Denied

Due to a reversed home run call, the Cubs were denied the opportunity for a sweep, but they at least made it close every game. As well they should with the worst team in baseball, as they also handed them their 100th loss for the season for the first time in that franchise’s history.

There was other such nose-thumbing fun as well.

This fashion flashback courtesy of Emilio Estevez.

 -Martin Sheen with the stretch.

-Pat and Keith with the stretch. It seemed like Keith was doing whatever he could not to be heard.

-Campana stealing 3rd. Ping ping ping! Ricochet Rabbit!

-Bob remarking on the excellent defense played by the fans in the first base side upper deck.

-Soto with a home run.

-LaHair with a game winning home run.

-Ramirez accidentally hitting the Astros first base coach with a bad throw.

-DeWitt with a home run swing that resulted in a bunt base hit.

-Mike Quade with his 7th ejection of the season.

-Byrd with a walk-off single.

-Foul ball giveaway day (there were a lot of them this series).

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