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Looking Back... And Ahead

There are a couple of news items this morning that I know you're going to want to dive into, but first, let's look back at some of the better teams of Cubs past, to see where this year's edition might be headed.

The Cubs are 23 games over .500. The last time they were 24 games over .500 was October 1, 1989, the last day of that NL East title season. They beat the Cardinals 5-1 and finished the year 93-69.

The last time the Cubs were more than 24 games over .500 was September 30, 1984; they won the final regular season game that year, beating the Cardinals 2-1 and finishing the 1984 season 96-65, 31 games over. The high point of the 1984 season was reached on September 15, when they beat the Mets to go 90-58, 32 games over.

In only one other season since the last pennant in 1945 have the Cubs been 32 games over .500; that was in 1969, when they reached that mark several times, the last time on September 2, when they beat the Reds 8-4. They were 84-52.

The 1945 pennant winners finished 98-56, 42 games over .500 -- that's the best Cubs record since 1935, which was the last time the Cubs won 100 games.

Those are marks for this team, which is clearly the best Cubs team in my lifetime, to shoot for.

Now, on to two topics of interest: Mark Cuban showed up at Kerry Wood's benefit bowling tournament last night and a couple of players weighed in on the idea that Cuban could, among other things, improve the clubhouse:

"Our locker room is pretty awesome," joked Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster on Wednesday during a charity celebrity bowling event that Cuban attended. "We get to see everybody naked, and hang out and have a good time."

"I don't know if [Cuban] has ever been in the clubhouse," [Reed] Johnson said. "But I know there's not much room underneath to do much, unless they put some dynamite down there and dig straight down."

Wrigley triangle building

Finally, remember that building the Cubs were going to build west of the park? The one with additional parking? Well, it's apparently going to be a bit different than originally planned:

Cubs Chairman Crane Kenney said the building planned for a triangular parcel adjacent to the stadium has been "completely re-designed" by Tribune Co. CEO Sam Zell's real estate team to include more retail and office space at the expense of parking.

The new garage would shrink to 250 spaces to accommodate players, team officials, sponsors and media whose late departure from Cubs games would not exacerbate post-game congestion. To make up for the loss of parking, a smaller garage could be built on less valuable land away from Wrigley, sources said.

The ordinance allowing the Cubs to build the bleacher expansion required them to provide one parking space for every ten new bleacher seats -- or about 180 spaces. So, even though they're scaling down the parking, they still satisfy the ordinance. They'd basically be putting the same cars that now park in that surface lot where the building will go, into the new building. We await further developments.

Enjoy the off day. Here's hoping the Cardinals and Dodgers play about 16 innings this afternoon.