Today marks the beginning of the end of the 2011 Chicago Cubs’ season. While a handful of teams are yet fighting for a playoff spot before ending their season in a blaze of glory, the Cubs are simply expiring like a great uncle you never really knew, but are now being forced to visit in the hospital for his waning days. The smell is insufferable.

  • Mike Quade is likely to play a “kids lineup” today for the opener in San Diego. At a minimum, it sounds like you can expect to see prospective 2012 catching backup Steve Clevenger make his debut.
  • CSN’s Patrick Mooney writes about Sean Marshall’s effectiveness and future role, drawing the obvious comparison with the man he might replace, Carlos Marmol. It’s a fine piece with one glaring flaw: Mooney says Marmol’s pre-2011 extension, which pays Marmol $7 million in 2012 and $9.8 million in 2013, was “widely praised as a sensible way to buy out a year of free agency and reward a homegrown player.” Perhaps I’m too wrapped up in my own take, but that certainly wasn’t the reaction around here. The extension was a foolish the day it was signed, and it only looks worse today.
  • Carrie Muskat writes that yesterday was rookie dress-up day, an annual hazing tradition. Among the outfits, Tony Campana dressed as Tinkerbell, Casey Coleman as Hannibal Lector, Tyler Colvin as Minnie Mouse, and Andrew Cashner as MC Hammer. But, in a cardinal sin, she posts no pictures.
  • In a Tribune article about the theoretical possibility of the Cubs reaching out to fans to help finance Wrigley Field renovations, Phil Rosenthal quotes an economics professor from the University of Chicago on the city’s failure to assist in the renovation with public dollars. “Although the Cubs and Wrigley are private entities, and presumably Tom Ricketts knew what he was buying from the Tribune, nevertheless the area … benefits from the Cubs’ existence,” said the University of Chicago’s Allen R. Sanderson, senior lecturer in economics. “The Cubs are certainly not a [nonprofit] entity, nor in the league with the Red Cross or United Way in terms of charity. But I don’t think the city ought to stiff them as much as it does.” I enjoy when folks who are smarter than I am articulate a point I’ve been trying to make for more than a year.
  • Carlos Pena sees Albert Pujols returning to St. Louis next year.
  • Bryan LaHair hopes the Cubs have seen enough to bring him back next year.
  • MichiganGoat

    Nothing like 3 meaningless games to start a “kids” lineup.

    • Toosh

      Quade can still pass the Pirates. Time to play the veterans.

      • MichiganGoat

        Dont forget that veterans that have milestones that they need to reach

        • Fishin Phil

          Yes, Marmol is trying desperately to get to 12 blown saves.

  • Cedlandrum

    Those “kids” should play all three of the last games. It would be a crap lineup, but what we have been watching has been crap too.
    Campana CF
    Castro SS
    Colvin RF
    LaHair 1st Base
    Lemahieu 3rd
    Clevenger C
    Montanez Lf
    Barney 2nd.

  • ISU Birds

    I have a bad feeling that next years closer will be the same guy that is this years closer.

    Also I’m sure that I will end up drinking heavily while watching “Catching Hell” tomorrow night.

  • Chris

    What about pulling the same move as when we signed Dempster and making Cashner closer while he builds his arm strength up & get Marmol back on the 8th inning duty? Seemed to work well for Dempster and if the Phillies have taught us anything (other than spend spend spend) if a guy can’t start but has dynamic stuff – make him close

  • Andrew

    id like to see lahair back.

  • Andrew

    isu birds~ Iowa state?

    • ISU Birds

      Illinois State

  • jstraw

    Ace, did you win the damned award or didn’t you??

    • Fishin Phil

      What he said.  The suspense is killing us.

      • TWC

        Nope.  He announced it in the 1st EBS from the Cardinals series.  The loss is, of course, super lame, and you should throw eggs at the Washington Post.

        • Brett

          Indeed – it’s a bummer. I’m working on a write-up of the event, so that’s why I haven’t posted it on the main page yet. Tried it get the word out via the comments and Twitter.

  • Bleed Cubbie Blue

    For those interested, BN did not win the BWB award today. The sports blog for the Washington Post won, so I guess I can say “it’s an honor just have been nominated,” and actually mean it.

    OK, yeah… there’s a little bitterness.

    Thanks again to everyone for the support. I’ll put together a write up next week.

    • jstraw

      What have you done with Brett, you imposter?

      Buddy, it is an honor to be nominated. First, it was voted for not judged and the Post has a LEETLE bit of name recognition and market penetration. Second, if “traditional media” is willing to participate in a competition with “mere bloggers” then they’re acknowledging that journalistically, they they have no per-eminance any longer. You stand shoulder to shoulder with one of the most established franchises in the business. You really better be proud. Now win next year.

      • Brett

        Thanks, straw. Those are some kind words right there.

    • Brett

      That’s a quote from Saturday from me, by the way.

  • RY

    i will consider doing drugs if marmol is our closer next year to numb the inevitable pain.

    • TWC

      I’m right there with you, RY.  I’ll consider doing drugs if Marmol is the closer.  I’ll also consider doing drugs if Marmol is not the closer.

  • Jeff

    Err, Tyler Colvin and Andrew Cashner in the rookie dress up day?  I’m pretty sure they were rooks last year.  Maybe that’s why Quade is so adverse to playing Colvin, he doesn’t realize he played in the majors last season.

  • dreese

    Brett, how much of Marmols and even our entire rotations shittyness can we blam on us not having a pitching coach?

    • Brett

      Until Coleman had to get valuable tips from his dad, I thought the Riggins blame was a bit overdone. Now I’m not so sure.