In 1969 the New York Mets stunned the baseball world and broke the hearts of Chicago Cubs’ fans worldwide by winning the World Series. The Mets began the 1969 season in a less than stellar way with a record of two games under .500 at the end of May. During the middle of August the Mets were 9.5 games and in third place behind the Cubs and Cardinals. But the Cubs went 8-17 in September and the Mets won 38 of their final 49 games and finished with a 100-62 record. Can history repeat itself only to tilt itself in the Cubs favor? As we head toward July, the Cubs find themselves close to being in a double digit hole behind the Milwaukee Brewers. Anything that could go wrong did go wrong for the Cubs on the field during the first 3 months of the 2007 season. Teammates fighting, sloppy base running, bullpen blow ups, and inconsistent line ups, is the bad baseball behind us? The Milwaukee Brewers are playing good ball, they have a solid team and they in some ways the mirror the 1969 Cubs. The Brewers have a terrific infield with Ryan Braun at 3B, JJ Hardy at SS, Rickie Weeks at 2B and Prince Fielder at 1B. While the Cubs had Ron Santo, Don Kessinger, Glen Beckert and Ernie Banks from third to first. The Brewers, like the 1969 Cubs, also lack infield depth. Don’t be surprised if the Brewers have some players that run out of steam like the Cubs did.
This year the Cubs have a ton of depth, sometimes it may look like a bunch of square pegs trying to fit into a round hole but the cream is rising to the top. Felix Pie has solidified the black hole known as center field. Pie’s defense is already one of the best in baseball. Yes, his hitting will go through peaks and valleys but in this Cub fan’s humble opinion he is going to be a star. The 1969 Mets did have a pitching staff that tossed 28 shutouts and that will not happen with this year’s Cub team. However, for the most part the starters have been good. Carlos Zambrano has been an ace since his brawl with the jettisoned Michael Barrett. Rich Hill, Ted Lilly and Sean Marshall have been more good than bad and only Jason Marquis needs to step it up. Our beleaguered bullpen has shown signs of life with several sparkling games of relief as of late. I really believe that the Brewers will level off; my concern is can the Cubs win at a clip similar to what the 1969 Mets did?
One other note from 1969…. While playing for the K.C. Royals, Lou Piniella was named Rookie of the Year.
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