The Chicago Cubs finished the 2012 season with a 61-101 record after beating the Houston Astros 5-4 in the final game of the year on Wednesday, October 3. Fans would rarely say that a season could be fun when a team loses over 100 games. The celebration on the field at the end of Wednesday's game, however, showed how much fun this year's Cubs team could be at times. Knowing this was a rebuilding season, many fans accepted the team's flaws, celebrated any minor achievements and now look forward to a much better future.
The Cubs have a lot to fix before they can be contenders. After losing 13 of their final 16 games, though, it was great to see the team win on Wednesday. Bryan LaHair, who has been very quiet since playing in the All-Star Game in July, led the team offensively. LaHair hit a home run in the second inning to tie the game at 1-1 and then drove in the winning run in bottom of the ninth to send Chicago into the offseason with a win.
The Cubs' other offensive star in the final game was pitcher Travis Wood, who drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single in the fourth inning. He was even better on the mound, allowing just one run and striking out four through 6.1 innings. Wood finished the season with a 6-13 record, a 4.27 ERA and 119 strikeouts. In his last nine starts, Wood allowed three or fewer earned runs in eight of them. As a fan, I am excited about his future with the Cubs.
Lots of changes will be made in the next few months, meaning some players appeared in a Cubs uniform for the final time on Wednesday. While I did have fun watching this team at times, I hope to never see 100 losses again and certainly welcome any and all improvements. In my opinion, only a handful of players on the current roster should be considered crucial to the team's future success. For the most part, however, I will support any moves made this offseason by team leaders Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer. Next season, I am hoping the goal is a little more ambitious than avoiding triple-digit losses. But first, the roster has to be improved.
Mike Patton is a sports fan who grew up in New Orleans cheering for the New Orleans Saints, Chicago Cubs, and LSU Tigers. As a kid in 1987, he made his first trip to Wrigley Field and also slept outside of the Louisiana Superdome to purchase playoff tickets for the Saints' first postseason appearance. Follow Mike on twitter @MikePattonGBS.