It wasn’t the year we wanted to have or the year that I was expecting. This team is built to win. It didn’t happen. We didn’t play the way we wanted to, didn’t play up to our capability as a team. Everyone knows that, everyone sees that. At the same time, we never gave up all year long and played hard. We had some changes at the end of the season. Lou had to go home, Quade came in and we still played hard. You can see it in our record against teams that are still in it that we do have a good team. We just showed it a little bit too late. At the same time, we’re missing Ted Lilly, we’re missing Derrek Lee, Ryan Theriot, and Mike Fontenot. We wish them well. They have a chance to play for something. I wish we could’ve done it over here. Through everything, the fans have been out every single game. It showed last night and the past three nights. The fan base here hasn’t changed. Everyone loves the Cubs. Next year, we’re going to have to figure out a way to give them something to cheer about all year long and through October. When the end of the season comes, you start thinking a little about next year, and that’s what I’m doing now.
I was traded late in 2005 from the only organization I knew to the Washington Nationals. The weird thing about getting traded is, you’re thinking, “It’s going to be great for me, a new start” and everything, but you never really know what you had until it’s gone. It seems like since I got traded, I was always trying to get back to Philly some way, some how.
For Theriot, it’s the first time he’s been through it. The Cubs will always be home for him. This is the organization he came up with. When you get drafted by an organization, you think you’re going to stay there your whole career. On the flip side, Ted Lilly has been through it. I’ve been on four teams, I think this is his sixth team. I don’t think it really fazes him. It’s the business aspect of the game.
It seems like the first time you get traded, you take it personally. You have to transfer all that energy into playing the game instead of trying to show your old team, “Hey, see what you’re missing.” That can be a positive or a negative. It was a negative for me when I went to Washington. I was trying to show the Phillies.
Everyone wishes Theriot good luck. Ted’s a vet, he’s been in this game a long time and he’ll go be Ted Lilly. We just want Ryan to go be Ryan Theriot and not try to prove anything to the Cubs, not try to prove anything to L.A. He’ll be fine.
Home runs — gosh, when the wind’s blowing out of here, it can happen very easily, especially with these guys and this team. Everybody with the pop they have — Soriano, me, Derrek Lee, even Theriot can get it up in the air and it’s going out. Once we get our swings, it’s going to be a lot of fun this summer when the wind’s blowing out.
That Reynolds’ homer in the fifth Saturday — I had no clue where it was. That was one of those where I was trying to jump as high as possible to see if I could get a glove on it. By the time I was on the ground, I saw the ball fall. I wasn’t sure if it went over or bounced off. I was going to play it through regardless. I’m still going to play it through even if I know it’s a home run. I’m still going to fire it in. They have instant replay now, but you never know.
As far as our offense, the hits are coming. They’re coming. You can see everyone starting to get comfortable. I’ve heard about the Cubs in April and the Cubs from May on. Hopefully that’s a trend that continues from May all the way through the playoffs. I know everybody was worried, everybody was wondering, what Rudy was doing. Rudy said from Day One, it takes time. I knew that. When I worked with him, it took me about a year to really understand and get my swing going. You can see it — you can see everybody getting better.
You can see it in Fukudome, you can see it in Theriot. You see guys are a little different. Even with Geo. It’s all going to come out. Once we have our one through eight hitting, with the pitching we’ve been getting, it’ll be a lot of wins for us.