Filed:October 30th, 2008
Kosuke Fukudome and Reed Johnson celebrate a Cubs win (Cubbie Nation/File)
Click here for the 2008 in Pictures gallery
With a fantastic 4-3 win over the Rays last night, baseball has found its king in the Philadelphia Phillies, and the 2008 season is officially drawn to a close.
While I most sincerely wish that we were looking at the Cubs celebrating instead right now, having spent some time in Philadelphia, and knowing some of their more polite fans, I'm extremely happy for them.
It's been a incredibly maligned team for most of this decade. Pegged as classic and chronic underachievers, they finally found the right combination of players and expectations, fulfilled in guys like Pat "The Bat" Burrell to punch their ticket. Congratulations, even to Scott Eyre, who likely is having the last laugh on Lou right about now.
But this isn't about the Phillies. It's partly in that every other team and their fans are left to spend a long winter contemplating what might have been, and what could be for the next season. Countdowns to Spring Training have officially begun, the Hot Stove season is around the corner, and even the saddest of us will be forced to forget 2008 soon enough.
But there are three things that I learned from covering the Cubs this season that I never quite knew before. First, the season ends much too soon and abruptly. Especially when expectations are not met. And yes, after success in the last few seasons, there are a lot more fans at the park who have expectations.
Second, that you can't get photos that anyone really wants to look at from the outfield. Lesson learned.
Lastly, is that it takes everybody to make a successful team. And I mean everyone in the organization, and most certainly on the field. Some guys you'll remember for all your lives. Some only the hardcore fan will sort of remember. "Hey, remember Mike Fontenot and those homers that he was launching in '08?"
And as free agency, harsh realities, and desires to upgrade set in, some guys are all but forgotten. Teams change. This one already has, with Casey McGehee waived. He was acquired by the Brewers yesterday.
These guys shouldn't be forgotten. And so, in what I hope to be an annual piece at Cubbie Nation, I submit the 2008 team in pictures. I'm pretty sure that we've included any and all who made an appearance with the Cubs this season and the coaching staff. It was a great season, one of the best in Cubs history; even if it ended so poorly. I hope you find that I've done them justice.