It's Offical!! The Chicago Cubs have clinched the 2008 National League Central Division for the third time in 6 seasons.
The Cubs defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 5-4 at Wrigley Field infront of 41,597 fans. The Cubs started the scoring by getting 3 runs off of Joel Pineiro on an Alfonso Soriano 2-run single in the 2nd inning. Brian Barton let the ball get by him and roll all the way to the wall, allowing a third run to score. The Cubs would add two more runs in the bottom of the 4th on a Mark De Rosa double and a Ted Lilly suicide squeeze play giving them a 5-0 lead. However, it wouldn't be a typical Cubs versus Cardinals game without the trailing team battling back. In the St. Louis 6th, the Cardinals scored four runs with two outs on a Felipe Lopez RBI single and a Troy Glaus 3-Run homerun. The game would continue 5-4 to the 9th inning giving Kerry Wood the chance to nail it down. Wood would give up a leadoff walk to Glaus, but quickly retired the next three batters giving the Cubs the division title. Wood picked up his 32nd save in 39 tries. Ted Lilly improved to 16-9 with his 7 inning 4 earned run performance.
September 20, 2008 would be the earliest a Cubs team has clinched a playoff spot since the 1932 Cubs. The 1932 team ended up making it to the World Series, but lost to the New York Yankees.
I find it appropriate that the Cubs clinched on September 20. It gives Cubs fans a chance to see their team clinch at their field. In 2003 and 2007 they had clinched the division on the road. More Importantly it also comes 24 years to the day of the passing of Steve Goodman.
For those of you that don't know who Steve Goodman is, he is the creator of the infamous song "Go Cubs Go" that you hear played at Wrigley after Cubs victories.
Steve Goodman was born July 25, 1948 on Chicago's North Side. He was a folk music singer/songwriter, but also a huge Cubs fan. He was diagnosed with lukemia in early 1969. Goodman wrote many songs on the Cubs, and the city of Chicago including "Go Cubs Go", "A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request", "The Lincoln Park Pirates", and "Daley's Gone".
On September 20, 1984, Goodman would lose his battle with lukemia dying at the age of 36. Four days later the Chicago Cubs would clinch the National League East earning them their first postseason birth since 1945. Goodman was asked to sing The National Anthem before the Cubs first playoff game, but he was replaced by Jimmy Buffett, whom dedicated the song to Goodman. I know Steve Goodman is watching his Cubs down from heaven, and he is in good company with Jack Brickhouse and Harry Caray.