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The best Cubs photos of 2021

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It might not have been a good year on the field, but the Cubs were, at times at least, photogenic.

Who is that masked man? Answer below
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Usually I’d post a “Top 10 Photos” of the year as the calendar comes to a close, but I’ve got more than 10, and the last few are a bit of a cheat, so bear with me.

And instead of doing these in gallery form, I’m going to place them one-by-one in this post, in more or less chronological order.

All right, criteria set, let’s get to the photos, starting with the one that’s up top.

Cold, cold, cold

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

If you couldn’t tell, that’s Cubs manager David Ross, on Opening Day at Wrigley Field, when the game time temp was 36 and it dropped throughout the day and the game ran four hours. No wonder he looks like he wanted to be somewhere else.

The prodigal returns

Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Former Cub Jon Lester tips his helmet to the crowd after his first appearance at Wrigley with the Nationals May 17. (He struck out in that at-bat.) Three Cubs — Jason Heyward, Willson Contreras and Javier Báez — then homered off Lester and the Cubs won the game 7-3. It figured to be Lester’s final Wrigley appearance, but then he was traded to the Cardinals and the Cubs hit him again pretty hard at Wrigley September 25 and again in St. Louis October 2.

Wait, we did what?

Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

The look on Craig Kimbrel’s face says it all — after he closed out the Cubs’ combined no-hitter over the Dodgers June 24, his teammates had to explain to him what they had just done. Neither he nor the rest of the pen had any idea what was going on:

Here are Kimbrel’s postgame comments [VIDEO].

Ouch!

Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Patrick Wisdom was involved in a nasty collision in Milwaukee June 30. He wound up with an “eye contusion and tightness on right side of his neck.” Fortunately, the injury wasn’t serious and Wisdom didn’t miss any time. The Cubs, though, lost that game 15-7 after posting a 7-0 first-inning lead.

Caption this!

Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

I imagine you could come up with many colorful captions to describe what Javier Báez is doing here. This happened after he came off the bench to deliver a walkoff hit against the Reds July 26 — the last game the Cubs won before all the trades at the deadline.

The man of a million faces

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Frank Schwindel not only turned out to be a surprisingly good MLB hitter, but his face seemed moldable to just about any expression. Here, he’s high-fiving teammates after homering against the Marlins August 13 in Miami. (The Cubs lost the game 14-10.)

And here’s another great Schwindel face, from August 31 in Minnesota, when his three-run homer accounted for all the Cubs scoring in a 3-1 win:

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

And another, taken September 4 at Wrigley Field:

Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

The prodigal returns, yet again

Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Of the eight players traded at the deadline, the one Cubs fans most wanted to see on his return to Wrigley was Kris Bryant. (Javy Báez and Anthony Rizzo have not yet returned.) KB got a video tribute, a “17” scoreboard panel and this...

Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

... undying love from Cubs fans.

So that’s 10 photos. Normally I’d give you that many and call it a day, and while the photos below aren’t necessarily “great” photos, they certainly sum up the Cubs’ 2021 season.

“Tempera” is obviously an autocorrect.