The Cubs are bad, really bad. This season has been a let down for the Cubs, to say the least. The team that was picked by Sports Illustrated to play in the World Series has been flirting with the .500 mark all season long and haven’t claimed first place in their own division since soon after the All-Star break. A season that was expected to be full of excitement and winning has instead been full of frustration and sub-par play.
As the playoff picture is being set, with hardly even a hope of the Cubs being in it as each game passes, this season can undoubtedly be considered a colossal failure. The Cubs have been the opposite of anything consistent all season other than the fact that they’ve been exceedingly inconsistent. They recently sent home Milton Bradley for the season and fortunately for us Cubs fans, we probably won’t have to go through the agony of seeing him bear the Cubs’ blue pinstripes ever again. Now, with football season underway, the Cubs are dead to the city of Chicago.
So, is there anything to be happy about when it comes to this 2009 Cubs baseball season? Surprisingly, the answer is yes, and his name is Derrek Lee. Since Lee’s triple-crown pursuing season in 2005 we’ve had to deal with the annoyance of listening to guys like ESPN’s Jon Miller and Joe Morgan compare every single hit, walk, strikeout, and every other imaginable statistic of Derrek Lee’s to that of his 2005 season. Now, finally, there’s something new to talk about with Lee; he’s once again the Cubs’ best player.
Not only is he the Cubs’ best player, he’s again one of the best in Major League Baseball. He’s batting over .300, 10th in all of baseball with 35 homeruns, and has hit a career record, including that magical 2005 season, 109 RBIs. At the beginning of the year all of the so-called baseball “experts” were calling for a magnificent year out of the Chicago Cubs but as well called for the gradual downfall as the season wore on of Derrek Lee. Seems as if those experts couldn’t be more wrong.
Players who were expected to help carry the team like the before mentioned Milton Bradley, as well as Alfonso Soriano could only have wished for a fragment of the numbers that Derrek Lee has put up this season. Unfortunately for them, there is a zero percent chance of getting anywhere near those numbers as both of their disappointing seasons are finished.
To give credit where credit is due, Aramis Ramirez has also been a rare strongpoint for the Cubs while he’s been healthy this season. He’s batting extremely well with a .325 batting average, granted he hasn’t played as many games as the majority of the team, as well as 14 homeruns, and 63 RBIs in 77 games this season. Ramirez and Lee have a been a disturbance and strong one-two punch in the middle of the Cubs batting lineup to teams they’ve faced this year which has been the key component at keeping the Cubs over a .500 winning percentage.
Being optimistic in a season where positive thoughts have been more than hard to come by has been difficult to do, luckily us fans have Derrek Lee in our lives to keep us from the brink of giving up on the game of baseball. I think all us Cubs fans need to take a step back, clear our heads of the undeniably vulgar and horrifying thoughts that pop in when we hear anything even vaguely related to the Chicago Cubs or baseball in general, and thank the savior that is Derrek Lee for making this 101st season of World Series championship drought just the slightest bit more tolerable.