Friday, December 31, 2010

The Top Ten Cubs News Stories of 2010

Since it is the final day of the calender year, it is just about time to look forward to a new year of Cubs' baseball. But before we can put this season behind us, it is time for a look at the biggest Cubs news items over the past twelve months.

10. Rookies Clutter Roster
When a team struggles and is forced to trade away many essential players, it usually looks to the farm system to try to fill these vacant roster spots. The way the Cubs season was going was evident based on the number of rookies to take the field. For example, Marcos Mateo became the 11th rookie pitcher to put on Cubbie blue in 2010 on August 10. Just two days later, Darwin Barney was the 15th Cubs rookie to player during the year. This was bad news at the time but it could bode well for the team going into 2011. Other rookies to see time the season include Starlin Castro, Tyler Colvin, Jeff Gray, Jeff Stevens, Justin Berg, Esmalin Caridad, Mitch Atkins, Casey Coleman, Thomas Diamond, Welington Castillo, James Russell, Scott Maine, Brian Schlitter, Bobby Scales and several others.

9. Byrd Named an All-Star
Marlon Byrd wasted little time in making a good first impression on his new team. A stellar first half, at the plate and with the glove, propelled the outfielder to an appearance in the Mid Summer Classic at Angel Stadium. Byrd was the lone Cub in the game and made a terrific defensive play in the ninth inning that helped the National League snap the A.L. streak.

8. Mainstays Traded Away
As the weather got hot, the Cubs got cold. As a result, they were sellers at the trade deadline, prompting a deal that sent fan favorites Ted Lilly and Ryan Theriot to the Dodgers. After July 31st, Jim Hendry pulled the trigger on a pair of waiver deals that sent two more Cubs from the division title runs in '07 and '08 packing- Derrek Lee to Atlanta and Mike Fontenot to San Francisco.

7. Castro's Sparkling Debut
On May 7 the Cubs finally decided to call-up highly touted prospect Starlin Castro to try his luck at sparking the offense. Castro immediately took over as the starting shortstop, with Ryan Theriot sliding over to second base. Speaking of making a good first impression, Starlin did just that in his big league debut against the Reds. The 20 year old hit a three run homer in his first career at-bat! He followed that up with a bases clearing triple to finish with a big league record six RBIs in his first career game!

6. Quade Named Cubs Skipper
The Cubs slashed the interim tag from former third base coach Mike Quade's title and made him the full time manager on October 20. He took over for Lou Piniella in August and did a great job leading the team to wins down the stretch. Many fans were pulling for Hall of Fame second baseman Ryne Sandberg to get the gig, but instead the organization gave it to the guy with more coaching experience. It will be interesting to see what Mike can do with this team next season.

5. Kerry Wood Returns
It has been over 12 years since Kid K struck out 20 Astros, but he has been close to Cubs fans hearts ever since. Wood proved his loyalty to the organization by signing for considerably less money (one year, $1.5 million) to return to the club that he broke into the big leagues with. Kerry was the staff ace in 2003, the closer in 2008 and will now return as a set-up man for Carlos Marmol in 2011.

4. Crossing the Line
Carlos Zambrano, known for his fiery personality and confrontations with coaches, umpires and teammates, finally went too far on June 25 in a game at U.S. Cellular Field against the White Sox. After pitching poorly in the first inning, Zambrano screamed at teammtes in the dugout for "not diving for some of the balls". The Cubs finally decided to take action, suspended Z indefinitely and eventually forcing him to undergo anger management.

3. Lou Leaves
The fine manager of the Chicago Cubs walked away on August 22 to spend more time with his ailing mother. Piniella has announced in July that his storied baseball career would come to an end at the conclusion of the season, but he ended up having to leave the club early. Lou led the Cubs to two division titles and three above-.500 records in four years.

2. RIP Santo
On December 3 the Cubs family suffered a tough loss as legendary third baseman and broadcaster Ron Santo passed away. Ronnie's passion for the Cubs will be missed in the booth. Everything Cubs blog has posted a picture to remember Ron on the right sidebar that will remain there forever. Santo died of complications with cancer and diabetes.

1. The Hawk in the Hall
After years of waiting, Andre Dawson finally got his just-do. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in January and inducted in July. Although he wanted to wear a Cubs hat, the Hall picked an Expos cap for him. He thanked Cubs fans during his speech for what they did for his career. Congrats Andre!!!

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