Chicago Cubs: Top five moments during the team’s window of contention

(Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: You DO remember this one, right?

This might be the outlier amongst the other moments on this list, but it sticks out in my mind as THE defining game of the last six years. I remember thinking before the game, “What the &%$# is Theo thinking and there’s no way Joe is happy with this.”

I remember thinking in the first inning, “What the &%$# was Theo thinking and Joe must be so pissed right now.”

I remember thinking in the second and third inning, “What are we doing running him out there again?!?!?”

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Then, I remember the feeling I had that somehow this was some weird experiment Epstein had devised and then created to test the Cubs resiliency and stalwartness for a possible run to the World Series. I even texted my brother that exact thought.

While it may have been giving Epstein too much credit, running a has-been out there and sticking with him for three innings and a six run deficit was exactly what they needed. When most fans were probably turning off their Sunday Night Baseball, I had this weird feeling the Cubs were going to come back from this 6-0 hole and pull it out.

And, of course, pull it out they did in 12 innings thanks to the heroics of Travis Wood in left field and a Lester walk-off, two-strike suicide squeeze. Whether it was a turning point in believing in Maddon’s wacky and unconventional managing or a consolidated group effort to negate even the worst of organizational decisions in running Brian Matusz out there in the first place, it worked. And the rest, as they say… is history (and the next slide).