The way that this season ended for the Cubs was a massive letdown. After blowing the NL Central Division lead and painfully drawing out a Wild Card loss, I went into a baseball blackout, refusing to digest any news surrounding the Cubs-less playoffs in order that I might process my disappointment. I stayed off of the blogs, Twitter, MLB Trade Rumors, and avoided even so much as glancing at a barroom TV - I wasn't messing around.
In the end, I've come to grips with the fact that the 2018 Cubs were running on fumes, held together with Band Aids and incapable of halting the juggernaut that is the Brewers (who I'm starting to think will never lose another game again). Plus, with guys like Addison Russell and Daniel Murphy on the roster and the drama and ugliness surrounding them, I'm kind of glad to see this slogging season come to a merciful end... as well as their Cubs tenures.
Having come to grips with these facts, after a week or so decontamination, I think it's safe for me to finally come out of the bunker. Plus, I've been ignoring a generous gift from Jason, of Hoarding Cardboard fame, and that simply won't do.
Tyler Chatwood might be the franchise's biggest free-agent bust in the last two decades. Brought in to be a fifth starter with potential upside, Chatty instead went full-Rick Ankiel and walked more people than a Boy Scout. However, instead of escorting little old ladies across the street, Tyler lead the world with 95 free passes in 103.2 frames - that's an eye-popping 8.2 walks per nine! His Steve Blass-blow-up was a big reason why the Chicago bullpen ended up being so over-taxed as the season wound down.
However, though he may be one of the goats of the 2018 Cubs, he didn't beat women and wasn't endorsed by the Westboro Baptist Church - so, he's still okay in my book. Therefore, I was still happy to see his name listed as a Cub on the Heritage High Numbers checklist and thrilled when Jason informed me that he'd be sending a copy my way. Now, I'll be absolutely over-the-moon if Chatwood can turn things around and pitch more like he did in Colorado from here on out.
In the meantime, I'm quite happy to replace this over-saturated, purple 2017 Flagship single with the clean, crisp, and blue HHN gift from Jason - ain't bloggers grand?
Any time I get to swap out a placeholder for a true, blue Cubs card is a good time - each "Cubgrade" brings me one step closer to fulfilling my ultimate goal. Jason clearly wants to be part of that mission, judging by the note that he included with my newest addition:
Of course, when I "Cubgrade," I have to switch cards out of my collection. Unfortunately, one of Jason's contributions fell victim to that a little while ago, as David Bote's first official, pack-issued rookie cards started to hit the market. Shortly after "Boatie McBoatface" started to make his presence felt, Jason had my back with a pre-rookie gem from his days with the Kane County Cougars. As appreciative as I was, I knew this card's time in my marquee binder was likely limited, as, after his mid-season heroics, there was no way that Bote would be ignored by Topps. Even though the local club was a Cubs affiliate at the time and the pasteboard represented a friendly gift, a bonafide Cubs card will always trump a minor league single. That's just how it is.
Luckily, I also collect minor league cards of major league players, so that card was immediately filtered into said binder. It made for a nice addition. That said, Jason clearly has his sights set on being a permanent contributor to my marquee CATRC project and I couldn't possibly be more thankful. This card is pretty safe - thank you for being so insistent, Jason, and for providing the blogging material to jolt me out of my blackout!
After a week of being a baseball recluse, I'm glad to be back. I'm also glad to be exasperated over a playoff loss rather than a 100-loss season - as a Cubs fan, overall, that's still rare-air. With all of the success the club has had since 2015, it's easy to forget how hapless the "Lovable Losers" were for most of my lifetime... and the previous two generations', for that matter. Here's hoping Chatwood and the rest of the club come back strong next year, so that they can make it five postseason appearances in a row!...
...and I don't have to put my self through another detox program - that seriously sucked.