A mostly forgettable season for the Chicago Cubs spelled the beginning of the end for many things
After the Chicago Cubs won 97 games and getting swept in the NLDS in 2008, the team returned the following year looking to avenge the historically awful postseason performance that killed their dreams of a World Series. Instead of going to the postseason for the third-straight year like many predicted, the 2009 Cubs ended up going 83-78 and missing the playoffs.
The offense took a massive dip in productivity (855 runs in ’08 vs. 707 in ’09), and they lost a lot of aggravatingly close games. The starting pitching was still excellent, but the back end of the bullpen struggled, and they blew several games late as well. Few big positives included Derrek Lee having his best year since 2005 and Ted Lilly being the lone All-Star for the squad.
Yet there is so much more to the story than meets the eye. 2009 was the last season for a while; the team would at least be competitive. They were not good, but they were just above .500, so about a step or two above mediocre. What happened before, during, and after this season steered the direction of the team in the coming years.