If you talk a big game, you’d better back it up.
The Cubs billed this season at Wrigley Field as “The Party of the Century.” This of course is the team that calls Wrigley Field “The Friendly Confines,” even though it hasn’t won a World Series since it started playing there. In fact, as CSN Chicago’s David Kaplan reported last year, the Cubs have the worst home record since World War II, with the exception of four teams who were not in existence in 1945 – the New York Mets, Tampa Bay Rays, Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres. That’s not very friendly at all.
Still, you’ve upped the ante when you promise a blow-out party. You expect something that people will be talking about for the next century to come. By that lofty standard, I think it’s fair to say that the Cubs didn’t reach it. Oftentimes, it seemed more like a wash-out than a blow-out, with the many rain delays that stretched out games for hours and even days.
But I also think it’s fair to say that the so-called Party of the Century wasn’t a complete dud. For the first time since 2009, the Cubs posted a winning record at their home ballpark. Sure, they finished only one game above .500, posting a 41-40 record at home. At least they gave their long-suffering fans reason for hope. Baby steps are better than no steps or backward steps.
The Cubs 2014 home season even had a few special moments, topped by the most memorable game of the season, when catcher John Baker took the mound for the Cubs in the top of the 16th inning in the early morning hours of July 30, to become the first position player in Cubs history to be credited with a victory for the team. Baker even scored the winning run in the bottom of that inning in a game that lasted 6 hours 27 minutes, a team record.
Here are my picks for the top five games at Wrigley this season, with video highlights provided by MLB.com:
#1 7/29/2014: Castro lifts Cubs in 16th with walk-off (home)
#2 9/16/2014: Arietta flirts with no-no, fans 13 Reds (home)
#3 6/6/2014: Rizzo’s walk-off homer in 13th keeps Cubs hot (home)
#4 9/20/2014: Coghlan drives in 4 in thrilling victory (home)
#5 9/15/2014: Rizzo returns, walks off on the Reds (home)
Randy Richardson is the author of CHEESELAND. An all-new edition of his Wrigleyville murder mystery, LOST IN THE IVY, was released by Eckhartz Press on Opening Day.