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‘Twas the night before Cub Christmas, 2023

An annual affront to Clement Clarke Moore.

‘Twas the night before Cub Christmas, and in 2023
The Cubs got over .500 again, winning eighty-three.
But the team’s future performance? Who the heck knows?
We’re all waiting. C’mon, Jed, put on a show.

With Swanson and Taillon signed new to the club
Some Cubs fans hoped it would be more than hubbub
To say the team could maybe be in first place
And in April games, they were on a good pace.

Lots of runs scored early, and one new young fellow
Dropped a slam on the Mariners, the ballpark did rock
But Nelson Velázquez didn’t get much use
Later exiled to the Royals for Jose Cuas.

Drew Smyly got off to a very good start
And one afternoon at Wrigley Field, the lefty did pitch
So well that he nearly threw a perfect game, until
A collision with Yan Gomes ran that into a ditch.

The Cubs ended April one game to the good
But in May, they exited that neighborhood
With loss after loss to the Nats, Cards and Twins
The team was looking for any kind of win.

But more losses they came, and Cody Bellinger
Who was off to a good start, he did not malinger
When he went for a fly ball in Minute Maid Park
He did not catch it, and his left knee began to bark

The Cubs couldn’t seem to buy a victory
They’d lost 17 of 24 when in a return to Wrigley
Marcus Stroman had his career-best day
A one-hit shutout of the visitors from Tampa Bay

The Cubs then got swept by the team from Anaheim
And thus 10 games under .500 they arrived
The Professor, Kyle Hendricks, then came to the rescue
He one-hit the Giants — now that should impress you.

That started a bit of winning, nine times in ten games
Okay, mostly over the Pirates, but wins just the same
The only loss in that stretch went to Jameson Taillon
His games in the first half were nothing to smile on.

A trip to old London Town beckoned the guys
Ian Happ smashed two homers in the first of those tries
And if not for an error by Trey Mancini
The Cubs might have made both games British wins, easy.

Coming home from the UK, more losses beckoned
Then rain delays against the Guardians the team had to reckon
With. Taillon held the Yankees to one hit — though hard to believe,
‘Twas the Cubs’ first-ever win in the Bronx — great to achieve.

Even after that, though, Jed Hoyer was thinking trade
But Dansby Swanson went to talk to Jed and said, “Wait!”
The team won eight games in a row, one of which
A great catch by Mike Tauchman stole, he’d found his niche

And so the Chicago Cubs did not sell at the deadline
Then an 18-9 August had them in line
For a postseason spot, perhaps even a division title
Every Cubs fan waited for September’s arrival

And the last month began with the Cubs holding serve
Despite losses to the Reds, they still played with verve
Sweeping the Giants at the Confines, they looked very strong
Twelve games over .500 — what could possibly go wrong?

Plenty did, as you know, the Cubs’ bullpen had failures
Neither Alzolay, nor Leiter, nor Merryweather were saviors
And then Swanson didn’t catch a richocheted line drive
Catch that and the Cubs make October alive

Seiya Suzuki dropped a fly ball in Atlanta
If caught, would have at least given the Cubs a chance to
Win a game, instead they lost 14 of 20
The number of defeats made Cubs fans feel empty

Despite the collapse, it was a year of great fun
When Swanson and Happ and Hoerner were done
They’d all won Gold Gloves, for the very first time
The Cubs had three in one year, an achievement sublime

As the offseason started, Jed Hoyer was panned
But behind the scenes, he had a secret plan
Goodbye David Ross, Craig Counsell’s the new manager
It wasn’t anything Cubs fans thought would occur

Seven years have passed since the World Series win
(“Better than 108,” I thought with a grin.)
It’s time for Jed and Tom to realize what they’re leading
A team that should be in place for succeeding.

With Justin Steele leading the rotation, an ace perhaps found
But more starters and relievers are needed on the mound
Pete Crow-Armstrong might be a star in center field
Just hope he can hit, otherwise he’ll have to yield

There is still time to sign guys who can hit base knocks
And also bring winning themes to Addison & Clark
Put together a winner, and please make it so soon
Get Cody Bellinger re-signed. It won’t cost the moon.

Thus we enter ‘24 with Cubs baseball hope
They’ll gather in Mesa and that ain’t no joke.
Counsell and the guys will put up the good fight.
Happy Cub Christmas to all, and to all a good night!