I’m a day late on this anniversary, but it was such a huge moment, and it’s the 10-year anniversary, so I’m gonna post about it this morning even if the date doesn’t line up perfectly.
Ten years ago, the Chicago Cubs were in an interesting, and long-term-unproductive phase. The organization had some solid talent thanks largely to some good trades in the Jim Hendry era, but playoff contention wasn’t coming in the near-term without a free agent spending binge. With the team set to be put on the sale block within a year, that’s precisely what the Tribune Company ordered.
By late June of 2007, however, it hadn’t worked.
Despite an explosion of spending that saw the team bring in Alfonso Soriano, Mark DeRosa, Ted Lilly, Jason Marquis, and Cliff Floyd, among others, the team was well under .500 before they started to heat up with a sweep of the White Sox on the South Side from June 22-24.
Then, on June 25, the Cubs had an insane win against the Rockies, where they blew a five-run lead in the 9th inning, only to then walk it off on a two-run Soriano single.
The Cubs went on to sweep that series, too, and the Brewers came to town on June 29 and hung a five spot on the Cubs in the very first inning. But the Cubs battled back, and got to within two runs by the time the 9th inning rolled around.
That’s when, with two runners on base, Aramis Ramirez belted one of the most iconic homers in recent Cubs memory:
The homer brought the Cubs to .500 for the first time since early May, and they would go on to win 85 games, which was enough to claim the NL Central that year.
It’s interesting to think about a lot of that stuff in the context of this season, as the Cubs stand, again, at precisely .500. Maybe they’ll get hot from here, or maybe they’ll win just 85 games. But maybe that’ll be enough to win the division.
Maybe the playoffs could go differently this time around, though …