I don’t think there’s any doubt that the 2016 Chicago Cubs are the greatest Cubs team of my lifetime (since 1963). The regular season was filled with a lot of moments, some of which we detailed throughout the course of this season. From offense to defense to pitching, it seemed as if every game had a monster play made by someone different every night. It could be a hit, slide, a defensive web gem, pitch, or even a tag that enthralled the fan base.
When I watched the Cubs end of the year hype video, I was stunned at how many great moments there where. The video is a great way to reflect back on the NL Central division champions. As I watched this video, shown below, I tried to figure out what I thought were the top 10 moments of the year.
10. For me, I got to nine easily. Then, it became extremely hard to try and find just one play by Javier Baez. So I just lumped them all together. It was really hard to differentiate between “the slide”, the tags, and the Mother’s Day home run.
9. Russell’s Catch – What I loved about the play was not that he caught the ball after a long run. Rather, it was that he made the catch in what appeared to be trip and fall. Then, he just reached out and grabbed it. It was an extremely athletic play.
8. Contreras HR Debut – First off, I was surprised he was called up so soon this year after a month plus at AAA. In his very first at-bat, any questions anyone had about his bat were squashed with one swing.
7. Grandpa Rossy’s farewell tour concluded yesterday. There were a lot of great moments from the scooter to his 100th HR to an appearance on Beer Money to the celebration. Ross only played two years as Cub, but his enthusiasm and leadership made him stand out. Some people don’t understand what he means to everyone on that team.
6. Dexter Fowler Signing – I thought for sure he was gone to Baltimore. I was quite stunned the Cubs latched him away at the last minute. His return may have initially been bad for Chris Coghlan, but Fowler’s presence at the top of the lineup was the impetus for the Cubs offense in 124 games. What made the signing cool, for me, was how Theo walked him out to spring training to announce it to the team. It was a very classy moment.
5. Lester Bunt – I enjoyed watching Jon Lester pitch all season long. He could have arguably had his best season on the mound. However, one small bunt in August cemented Lester’s transition to the NL with a walk-off bunt. I still cannot believe he did it because of how beautiful the bunt was. What also made it extra special is that I am not a fan of bunting to score runs.
4. Rizzo Catch – This year, Rizzo’s big moment came again on a pop-foul down along the first base line. What I loved about the catch was that he made a similar catch against the Brewers almost a year to the day in 2015.
King of the Confines.https://t.co/adkwZD5lIB
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 17, 2016
3. Kris Bryant’s 5 Hit Game Against the Reds
Dear Cincinnati Reds Fans,
We have Kris Bryant signed through at least 2021. He will be at the peak of his powers during this time.
2. Hendricks’ One-Hitter
The whole night against the Cardinals, Kyle Hendricks looked like he was hardly breaking a sweat. While he did lose the bid for the no-hitter on September 12, the start actually began to put Hendricks into the Cy Young discussion.
1. Arrieta’s Second No-Hitter
It only took three weeks before Jake Arrieta threw a no-hitter, his second of his career. On April 21, I thought that his season would be filled with more outings similar where Arrieta would just dominate opponent after opponent. Still, this game was one I got to see and be in on from the first inning. Arrieta’s next best start would not happen until late September when he had 10 Ks against the Cardinals.
Hopefully, I will be back here in three more weeks writing about the top 10 moments of the Cubs World Series Championship!