Big League Stew - MLB

As each of the division champions and wild-card teams are determined, we at the Stew will ask the hopeful World Series candidates to issue a formal acceptance speech and explain why they're the team that will be hoisting The Commissioner's Trophy in October. Second in line are the Chicago Cubs, who clinched the NL Central on Saturday with a 5-4 victory over the Cardinals. This is their address.

Mr. Commissioner, Chief Executive and Mrs. Zell, Chairman and Mrs. Kenney, General Manager Hendry, Manager and Mrs. Lou, Ernie and Mrs. Cub, my fellow Illinoismakers, Chicagoans, North Siders, Lakeviewers, Wrigleyvillains, Roscoe Villagers, North Centurians, Lincoln Parkers, Clark and Addisonians, Cubs fans from across the universe, distinguished goats, holy cows and Iowans.

The Chicago Cubs proudly accept, with a voracious hunger for more, our second straight National League Central Division championship! (pause for applause and reverb on antiquated Wrigley Field sound system) ...

No championship is an easy accomplishment, and we take our NL Central trophy very seriously. We would like to thank our opponents in the Central for being nowhere near as good as us, and for being relatively non-threatening for most of the summer. We thought this was gonna be harder than it actually was — but it turns out we had only a few Cubbie Occurrences. So, let's hear it for the Central! (pause for applause and trash being thrown on the field in front of bleachers) ...

To our friends 90 miles away, the Cubans. ... the Milwaukee Brewers, sorry. Look, they have a good ballclub. Braun the left fielder is a good hitter and Fielder swore off meat, which is very noble,  even if it didn't help his slugging percentage. CC Sabathia's a heckuva pitcher. Shortstop's a nice ballplayer. Just goes to show you that no manager is safe, even with that kind of talent working for him. Hopefully, the wild card will work out for them. (pause for mocking laughter) ...

The Houston Astros caught a tough break, a tough break, when that hurricane came through Texas. We'd like to think we would have beaten them at least two out of three if we could have played down there, but we couldn't, so what can you do? What can do you?

And the St. Louis Cardinals, (pause for vicious booing) they ran a good, clean season. Tony La Russa's a great manager. Albert Pujols, he's the game's best player. They had some injuries. Injuries are part of the game. Nobody else felt sorry for us when Mark Prior and Kerry Wood weren't healthy. You make do. You move on.

The Cincinnati Reds and manager Dusty Baker and Junior Griffey. They gave us fits, absolute fits, especially in that junior college ballpark of theirs. No thank you, sir. We'd like to play them here in Wrigley all the time, so long as Marty Brennaman will have it. 

Finally, to the Pittsburgh Pirates, thank you for being on the schedule 18 times.

Bleacher Bums, two NL Central titles in a row is a great accomplishment and certainly not one to be diminished. No Cubs team has made the playoffs two seasons in a row since the team that last won the World Series in 1908. Say, will all of the members of that team who are with us today, please stand and acknowledge the crowd? (pause for no one) ...

This is greatness, seated before us, right here. Tinkers to Evers to Chance. Mordecai "Three-Finger" Brown. How could you get any break on your slider that way, 3-F? Anyway, the World Series is what we want from the season. We don't just want to get there, just to break the curses and verses and nurses, but we want to win the darn thing.

Hey, let's win the World Series, what do you say? (triple pause for extra-long garbage break) ... ... ...

Look, we've got the club that can do it, too. Is there anyone you'd rather want on the mound in a big game than Carlos Zambrano? Big Z? Well, before he threw that no-hitter in Milwaukee and then after his subsequent stinker, you might have mentioned one or two dozen pitchers ahead of him. But  there's no doubt that Big Z is ready for the big stage. And we've learned something from last year's early hook. A promise is a promise and we won't be saving him for any 'only if necessary' games down the road. 

Moving on ... Kerry Wood has come under some fire, but whose closer hasn't? Are there any other closers in the National League field where you'd go, "Oh, I want THAT guy closing my games instead of Kerry Wood?" The Mets, they can't finish a game to save their lives. The guy on the Phillies, Lidge is it? He's had a great year, but remember what he was like the last time he was in the playoffs? Little Scottie Podsednik hit that home run, and Albert hit one a few days before that still hasn't come down. I'm not sure who's closing games for the Dodgers, but I'm sure Joe Torre didn't bring Mariano Rivera with him from New York. (pause for required New York booing) ...

The championship, the ultimate championship, that's what we covet. Our club can swing the bats well enough, too. No weak spots in the lineup so long as we figure out how to dump Fukudome along the way and we've got two or three guys — Aramis Ramirez, Geovany Soto our catcher and Alfonso Soriano, if he'd stop hopping around like a bunny — who can carry a team offensively. This is a sound club. We can pitch the baseball and swing the bat.

In conclusion, Cubs fans, get ready. The division was only the beginning. The drought ends NOW. We will be the next World Champions of Major League Baseball! We will deliver a World Series title to the North Side of Chicago! May Harry Caray bless all of you and may Harry Caray bless the Chicago Cubs!

PREVIOUS SPEECHES: The Los Angeles Angels (AL West)

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