Q. When you catch up with former members of the 2008 Cubs such as Mark DeRosa, is it weird to think just four years ago this team won 97 games?
A. It is, but it also speaks to the fleeting nature of success in baseball.
It's interesting to look back at what GM Jim Hendry did following that season. For the second consecutive year, the Cubs flopped in the playoffs, so he clearly was trying to tweak the makeup a bit.
In the end, it didn't work out, which might speak to how fickle October baseball can be. Three bad days can unfortunately negate a great six months.
Easy to say now, but I think the DeRosa trade and the losses of Jim Edmonds and some key pitchers like Jason Marquis, Kerry Wood and Michael Wuertz ended up hurting the 2009 club.
DeRosa and Edmonds were really solid veterans who brought a lot to the clubhouse in terms of experience. Marquis was a workhorse, while Wuertz was always underrated and Wood was replaced by Kevin Gregg, who struggled in '09, leading to the emergence of Carlos Marmol as the closer.
On top of that, you had the Milton Bradley signing, which didn't go well at all. He never seemed comfortable in a Cubs uniform and had his tenure end here after one forgettable season.
Again, if Hendry knew then what he would find out later, clearly he would have played his cards differently. But that's the beauty and danger of this game -- there are no guarantees either way.
Q. How do you get motivated for a series like the one starting Monday night in Houston with two teams that have been out of the race for so long?
A. It's always been very easy for me to be motivated to come to the ballpark. I've said this a million times, but you never know what you're going to see on a given day.
Two great teams can play a horrible game, and two bad teams can play a great game. It's the anticipation of the unknown that always excites me on the way to the park.
No matter what, Bob Brenly and I always have some laughs and keep it fun. A bad baseball game is still better than a lot of other things in life.
Q. You've recently seen all the first-place teams in the National League. Which one is best built for October?
A. It's hard not to like the Nationals. Their pitching staff, even minus Stephen Strasburg, is pretty impressive. And the offensive barrage we witnessed last week was jaw-dropping.
The other thing to like about them is the back end of their bullpen. With incumbent closer Drew Storen missing time early, setup man Tyler Clippard took over the ninth inning and has become a pretty good closer in his own right.
Must be nice for manager Davey Johnson to know he has two great options late in games as they head into the playoffs.
Q. The Adam Greenberg story has grabbed some headlines lately with a push to get him his long-awaiting first official major-league at-bat. What are your thoughts on his brief career and potential comeback?
A. The 2005 incident in which he was hit by the first (and to this point only) pitch he saw in the majors was scary and terribly unfortunate.
I would love nothing more than to see Adam get back to the big leagues. And while I can't speak for him, I would guess he would never want his next at-bat to come as the result of a publicity stunt.
I think it's great there are people looking out for him, but if he makes it back it should be because a team thinks he's good enough to compete at this level, period.
And if it never happens, he can always say he was a big- leaguer, if even for one fateful pitch.
•Len Kasper is the TV play-by-play broadcaster for the Chicago Cubs. Follow him on Twitter @lenandbobwww.wgntv.com/lenandbob;http://www.wgntv.com/blogs/lenandbob/[URL]. Subscriber Total Access members can email him [/URL]questions;mailto:cubsquestions%40dailyherald.com?subject=Reader%20question[URL] each week via our online link.[/URL]