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David Brown

Is this the worst Cubs playoff appearance in history?

Big League Stew

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The moment the Dodgers posted the final out last night in their NLDS sweep of the Cubs, the Wrigleyville bar discussions began in earnest. Was this the worst playoff defeat in Cubs history? Here are five arguments for and five against such a notion.

Yes — The Cubs won 97 regular-season games, most in the National League this season and most for the franchise since 1945, and failed to win even one playoff game.

No The 1906 Cubs won a record 116 games in the regular season and lost to the crosstown "Hitless Wonder" White Sox in the World Series. Now, that's a Cubs fan's nightmare.

Yes — The Cubs were dominated on the scoreboard by the Dodgers 20-6, and led for a total of three innings in the entire series against a team that had a losing record as recently as Sept. 2.

No — Anyone who saw the 2003 debacle against the Florida Marlins — the Cubs were five outs from the World Series, instead of seven victories — will tell you nothing could top that one. The loss to the Dodgers was stunning. That Marlins series shocked the system to the core.

Yes — They collectively batted 5-for-28 (.179), including 1-for-11 in Game 3, with runners in scoring position. Alfonso Soriano batted .071 overall and scored no runs, Aramis Ramirez hit .182, as did Geovany Soto.

No — Against the Dodgers, no Cubs fan became notoriously involved with any key play that went against his or her own team.

Yes — They made six errors — the most for the Cubs in the playoffs since 1929 — including a super-embarrassing four in Game 2 that helped snuff any chance they had of turning the series around.

No — The Cubs never had a lead in the series to blow, like they in '03 or in 1984, when the Padres came back from an 0-2 series deficit to reach the World Series. Then there's the '29 Series, which the Cubs lost to the Philadelphia A's in five games, but blew a 2-0 lead in the ninth inning of Game 5, and allowed a 10-run seventh in Game 4 to lose, 10-8. Imagine something like that happening today.

Yes — New ownership is coming in, presumably this off-season, and who knows what changes it will bring, or how it will operate. The Cubs, whose average age was 30 this season, might have seen their window to win already close.

No — The bulk of this team that won 97 games (notable exceptions being free agents Ryan Dempster and Kerry Wood) are signed through next season at least, and the Cubs were listed as eighth in the majors in payroll. There's more money to spend! And, perhaps, more hearts to break.

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