November 7, 2010: With the Cubs’ offseason in full swing, Todd Ricketts goes on CBS, the network television version of the Chicago Cubs, to film an episode of Undercover Boss. Throughout the course of my live blog, we learn that not only can Todd not read or write, but he also cannot (1) hose down a bathroom, (2) sell a hot dog, (3) park a car, or (4) operate a scoreboard. The next day, no fewer than 6,000 blogs use the headline “Undercover Todd.”
November 12, 2010: With Harry Caray’s corpse unavailable and Ryan Dempster home for the offseason, the Cubs do their best to desecrate Harry’s memory in any way possible. (HT: Pre)
November 20, 2010: Miraculously, no one dies during a Northwestern-Illinois football game played at Wrigley Field. Despite the fact that Wrigley Field used to HOST FOOTBALL GAMES, the Cubs choose to flip the configuration of the playing surface, leaving six inches of space between the back of the end zone and the brick wall beyond. Crane Kenney is quoted as saying, “Wait, six inches is way above average, right?”
April 1, 2011: APRIL FOOL! On Opening Day at Wrigley Field, Ryan Dempster reminds us of (1) why we hate him, and (2) Game One of the 2008 NLDS. In the top of the 5th inning, Dempster walks two guys and serves up a 2-out grand slam to Neil Walker in a 6-3 Cub loss. (HT: @lcm1986) Outside the park, more pranks!
April 4-5, 2011: The Cubs lose 40% of their rotation on consecutive starts against the Arizona Diamondbacks. And you have that brief, horrible moment where you sort of miss Carlos Silva. (HT: @Toolism)
April 12, 2011: James Russell makes his first of a nightmarish five starts for the Cubs in 2011. He goes 0-5 and pitches only 18 ⅓ innings with a 9.33 ERA and a 2.018 WHIP in those five starts. He also allows an astonishing seven home runs, and strikes out only ten batters. (HT: @Toolism)
April 15, 2011: The Cubs are in Colorado to face the Rockies. In the bottom of the 2nd inning with bases loaded, Chris Ianetta triples to center field. Starlin Castro airmails a throw to Aramis Ramirez, allowing Ianetta to score. Len and Bob call the boner a “mental error.” Stupid Castro. Choosing to throw the ball to a fan instead of to Aramis. Oh, the Cubs lose 5-0. (HT: @greaso)
April 20, 2011: The final day the Cubs had a winning record in 2011. NEVER FORGET. (HT: @wsuraiders33)
April 25, 2011: Starlin Castro commits three errors in the top of the 2nd inning against the visiting Colorado Rockies, including two on consecutive batters. The Rockies score three runs off the errors and beat the Cubs 5-3. (HT: Pre)
April 29, 2011: With ticket sales already slipping, the Cubs start bribing fans to come to the bleachers with the promise of free t-shirts, cheap beer, and cheap hot dogs. They’d have done better with a Crane Kenney dunk tank. Filled with piranhas. (HT: Pre)
April 30, 2011: Matt Garza, Jim Hendry’s biggest offseason acquisition, finally wins a game in a Cub uniform. It only takes him six starts. Darwin Barney finishes the month of April with a respectable .326/.351/.449 line.
May 3, 2011: Carlos Pena, Jim Hendry’s SECOND-biggest offseason acquisition, finally hits a home run in a 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. It only takes him 88 plate appearances.
May 7, 2011: Pointy-shouldered Todd Wellemeyer retires. Too bad for him. If he’d stuck around, he’d have made at least a dozen starts. (HT: Pre)
May 10, 2011: Jim Hendry molests Albert Pujols, and the Cubs blogosphere goes apeshit over the prospect of Pujols in a Cubs uniform. (HT: Pre)
May 14, 2011: Doug Davis makes his first of (I shit you not) NINE starts in a Cub uniform. Davis pitches miraculously well, surrendering 3 runs (1 earned) in five innings of a rain-shortened 3-0 San Francisco Giants win. Davis pitches from mid-May until the end of June, compiling a 1-7 record with a 6.50 ERA and a 1.861 WHIP. (HT: @MikeyLo34)
May 21, 2011: Marlon Byrd tries to hit a baseball WITH HIS FACE.
May 27, 2011: Carlos Zambrano injures himself WATCHING TELEVISION. (HT: Pre)
May 31, 2011: Jordan Lyles makes his first career start and–surprise, surprise–surrenders only two runs in seven innings of a 7-3 Astros win. Lyles wins only one more game in his 15 starts and posts a 5.36 ERA on the year. (HT: Pre) Darwin Barney’s power and ability to get on base regularly disappear, as wraps up May with a .296/.316/.343 line. Radio callers continue to praise Barney for “playing the game the RIGHT way.”
June 1, 2011: Aramis Ramirez tries to catch a baseball WITH HIS FACE. (HT: Pre)
June 4, 2011: Albert Pujols walks off with a home run. (HT: Pre)
June 5, 2011: Albert Pujols walks off with ANOTHER home run, prompting Cubs fans to say, “Why the hell does Mike Quade keep pitching to Albert Pujols with the game on the line?” and prompting Carlos Zambrano to say what everyone is thinking. “We stinks.” Dr. Seuss covers the event.
June 7, 2011: The Cubs draft Shawon Dunston and Trevor Gretzky in the amateur draft. (HT: Pre)
June 8, 2011: Jim Hendry learns that he actually drafted Shawon Dunston JUNIOR. Also, that Wayne Gretzky was a HOCKEY player.
June 11, 2011: FOX inexplicably continues to hand a microphone to Ryan Dempster. Humorless idiot Joe Buck calls Dempster’s terrible Will Ferrell impression “tremendous,” and sycophant Tim McCarver says Dempster has “never been better.” Even Harry Caray’s STATUE rolls in its grave. I turn the game off before it even starts. Incidentally, when I was looking for the Joe Buck-Artie Lange exchange, the top autocomplete result in Google was “joe buck gay.” Allegedly, he had an affair with Fernando Tatis. None of this is germane to the season recap. I just wanted to put the image of Fernando Tatis fucking Joe Buck in your head.
June 15, 2011: Ryan Dempster makes HILARIOUS “Fudge the Goat” t-shirts. Only he didn’t say “Fudge.” He said THE word. The big one. The queen-mother of dirty words. The “F-dash-dash-dash” word! Literally. He didn’t even have the balls to put “FUCK” on a t-shirt. (HT: Pre)
June 20, 2011: Ozzie Guillen is ejected from the first game of the Crosstown Series at U.S. Cellular Field for booting Geovany Soto’s mask. (NSFW due to Hawk and Stone) Cubs fans will remember it as the one time during the 2011 season when Geovany Soto was relevant. (HT: Pre) While members of the Cub organization tell the youthful homosexuals of the world, “It gets better,” the team gets worse and worse.
June 28, 2011: The best throw of the season comes from the left-field bleachers, as a fan almost hits Miguel Tejada with his own home run ball. In other news, John Grabow gave up a home run.
June 30, 2011: Darwin Barney bats .246/.281/.246 in June without a single extra-base hit, with one measly RBI, and with 12 strikeouts against ONE walk. However, he remains white, gritty, and therefore BELOVED BY THE CUB FANBASE. Meanwhile, Tom Ricketts assures the media that absolutely nothing is wrong with the Cubs. They’re just injured. Oh, and he’s totally confident in Jim Hendry. And unicorns are real! Todd saw one behind his bike shop last week! And the economy is turning around, and it’s a great time to sell your house!
July 5, 2011: Holy shit, Ramon Ortiz is still alive? AND HE’S STARTING FOR THE CUBS??? (HT: Pre)
July 12, 2011: The 2011 All-Star Game is held at Chase Field in Arizona. Just three years after the Cubs sent SEVEN players to the game, they send only the mandatory one: Starlin Castro, the youngest player in the majors. (HT: @TheWrigleyBlog)
July 22-24, 2011: The Cubs FINALLY win three games in a row. And then promptly lose their next five. (HT: Pre)
July 26, 2011: Mike Quade denies his own insanity, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. He also manages to only use two terrible nicknames for his players during a minute-long interview. Oh, and Marlon Byrd almost punches a heckling fan. A heckling CUBS fan. (HT: @TheWrigleyBlog)
July 28, 2011: Jim Hendry awakens from his slumber long enough to trade Kosuke Fukudome to the Cleveland Indians, who are in the midst of a pennant race. Indians fans are like, “WTF?” Cubs fans are like, “LOL!” and Kosuke is like, “さようなら.” The Indians finish 14 games behind the first-place Detroit Tigers.
July 31, 2011: Darwin Barney rebounds from his awful June with a slightly-less-awful .276/.323/.391 line in July. Mike Quade finally realizes Barney probably shouldn’t be hitting at the top of his lineup.
August 1-2, 2011: Despite the damage done to Wrigley Field due to concerts held in the venue, Crane Kenney just HAD to see Sir Paul McCartney sing “Let It Be.” My search for the setlist led to me accidentally reading my first BCB post, which was, incidentally the MOST BORING GODDAMN THING EVER WRITTEN ABOUT THE BEATLES. Yellon writes about McCartney MAGICALLY rolling up his sleeves before getting to the important questions, like what the crowd wore. Here’s a brilliant snippet from the article: “Meanwhile, Wrigley itself looked the same — only different…” That fragment makes perfect sense — only it’s fucking retarded. Maybe Al should take over the Muskbox when Carrie retires. (HT: Pre)
August 5, 2011: Tony Campana hits his first (and, God willing, his last) MLB home run, an inside-the-park job off Cincinnati Reds starter Mike Leake. Legions of idiots insist that Mike Quade should give the 25-year-old “kid” more playing time. Incidentally, Campana finished the 2011 season with an anemic (too soon?) .259/.303/.301 line. He’s a disgrace to the #41 once worn by legends Jim Essian and Lou Piniella. (HT: @wsuraiders33)
August 10, 2011: The Cubs unveil a Ron Santo statue. I am disappointed the statue isn’t made mostly of plastic, but with legs made of human flesh.
August 12, 2011: Carlos Zambrano serves up five home runs to the Atlanta Braves and “retires.” The Cubs see a cheap way to get out of Zambrano’s contract, so they immediately begin doing everything they can to (1) destroy any trade value he might have had left, and (2) void the rest of his contract.
August 15, 2011: The Cubs put Carlos Zambrano on the disqualified list. I learn that the MLB has a “disqualified list.”
August 19, 2011: After 16 years with the Cubs, Jim Hendry is finally fired. Outside of doughnut shops all around the Chicago area, “Taps” is played faintly, mournfully, soulfully. We learn soon after the announcement that Hendry was actually fired on July 22nd, which explains why he sat with his thumbs up his ass through the trade deadline. Un. Fucking. Believable.
August 22, 2011: Bobby Valentine interviews for a managing job during Sunday baseball, ripping into the Cubs’ best position prospect since Mark Grace for SEVEN MINUTES for…chewing sunflower seeds, I guess. I hate Bobby Valentine.
August 31, 2011: Darwin Barney finishes August with a .255/.306/.343 line. Reporters and bloggers everywhere blame Aramis Ramirez’s laziness for the Cubs floundering near the bottom of the NL Central. Aramis finishes August with a LAZY FUCKING .377/.429/.575 line, slugging five home runs and driving in 20 RBIs.
September 3, 2011: The Cubs are facing former Cub Derrek Lee and the Pirates in Pittsburgh. Carlos Marmol is handed a 5-3 Cub lead in the top of the 9th inning. In an inning eerily reminiscent of his August 16 outing, Marmol gives up a single, two walks, and a passed ball. Lee sends a grand slam into the bleachers to give the Pirates a 7-5 lead that they would hold. (HT: @bbott17)
September 6, 2011: Ned Ryerson points out to me that Cubs tickets are selling on StubHub for ONE DOLLAR AND FORTY-EIGHT CENTS. Holy shit. (HT: @89Cubs)
September 9, 2011: Health inspectors at Wrigley Field confirm that, yes, the Cubs organization has been trying to kill you for years.
September 21, 2011: Despite a half-full Wrigley Field for many of the Cubs’ 81 home games, they surpass three million fans for the eighth season in a row. Because of idiots like me who ordered their tickets before this shitshow started. (HT: @Toolism)
September 27, 2011: In the top of the first inning of the penultimate game of the year, Starlin Castro collects his 205th hit, passing Juan Pierre and making him irrelevant to Cub history. THANK YOU, STARLIN! Castro ended 2011 with 207 hits, tying him with Heinie Zimmerman at #9 on the Cubs’ hit leaders for a season. Wait, how did this GOOD item get on here?
September 28, 2011: On the greatest night of regular season baseball ever, Alfonso Soriano finishes the season with a .289 OBP, the lowest of his career. (HT: @Toolism) Ryan Theriot finishes the season with a .663 OPS versus the league…and an .864 OPS versus the Cubs, cementing his place as a Cub Killer. (HT: @LouUhler) The Cubs wrap up the 2011 season without hitting a single grand slam. They are the only team to finish the season without one. (HT: @lastcartridge) Darwin Barney hits to the tune of a .247/.291/.321 line in September. But the Ricketts family will tell you they’re “set” at second base heading into the 2012 season. Marlon Byrd, who spent most of the 2011 season batting 3rd, 5th, or 6th, finishes with only 35 RBIs, EIGHT FEWER than Darwin Barney.