I don't ever remember feeling this good after a bad Cubs season, but I do. I think the Cubs finishing 19-10 in the final 29 games after August 31st had something to do with it. The Cubs were eliminated from playoff contention on Sept. 13, but that's where the fun started: sweeping the Cardinals in St. Louis for the first time since 1988, sweeping the Marlins somewhere in Florida didn't make up for 2003 but still nice; and taking three of four in San Diego which foresighted the Padres missing the playoffs on the last day of the season. The 75-87 finish ranks along with 1975, 1976, or for young guys like me 1996, and even that's a vague memory for me.
I don't remember 1984 because I didn't exist but it was almost like the Cubs took care of some "unfinished business" with teams that were responsible for breaking our hearts in the past. With the Padres it was like the Cubs said: "Hey Padre fans, remember us? 1984, Steve [explicit] Garvey? Now it's our turn." With the Cardinals, all you have to do is hand them a view master toy so they can flip through images of their precious World Series rings so they don't feel so heartbroken. And with the Marlins, wait... where are the fans at? Oh yeah, they're located in a [don't support your team until you're one victory away from a pennant] tropical climate.
Thank you Mike Quade for sparking this Cubs team. I don't care who manages the Cubs next year, as long as they win, or make an honest effort to win, but I still prefer Sandberg. If Ryno is next year's manager, I think "Lou's Crew" will become "Ryno's Sandbergers". Does that sound catchy? Whatever.
After a strong and positive finish to 2010 there's some items to be arranged on the table for 2011. The Cubs seem to be forming a next to elite all around young bullpen (notice all the 1-0, 2-0 wins lately?) which is something other ballclub's would kill to have. Carlos Zambrano seems to be the top candidate for an ace role if he keeps his mind clear and doesn't let his emotions get the best of him. The minor-league affiliates did real well this year hopefully aligning a "build-from-within" stepping stone for the future. Also, with several prospects the Cubs could have the option to get the big name guy if the situation presents itself for a pennant run. Another item could be getting that speed guy unless if we want to wait for Castro or Barney to be the wheels of the team. Carl Crawford would be nice since the Rays have been forced to dismantle due to budget constraints this offseason. But the Yankees might get in the way and the price may be too much for a heavy contract-ridden Cubs team.
My take on the current stand-point is the Cubs seem to have an uncoordinated set of brilliance waiting to be bridged together to form a well-lubricated ballclub running on all cylinders. The right moves have to be made at the right time for something like that to happen and I don't think the Cubs are too far away from it. This might be a touch of wishful thinking, but I believe it's the prematurity of a reality set for the near future.
Just below is a list of the final 19 victories since the start of September. There are some pretty good one's too. Have fun voting. I'll make a Cubs game of the year post/poll after the World Series is complete in about a month.