Spiegel: Championship or not, this Cubs season ruled

 
 
Updated 10/5/2015 9:29 AM
Updated to correct details with games involving Lester and Russell.

I want to collect them.

A surprisingly great team in an unexpectedly successful season delivered hundreds of memorable moments. Our urge to experience them together led us to ballparks, televisions, radios, broadcast apps, Twitter, game recaps, newspapers, and talk shows.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

And I don't want to forget them.

This Cubs season could continue through to early November. Or it could all be over by 11 p.m. on Oct. 7

But these seven months will not, and cannot, be taken away. We all know that championships are the goal. But baseball is a companion sport like no other, and we were escorted from March to October in style.

A mix of veterans and rookies, the grizzled and the gawking, has won 94 games and counting. Along the way, nearly every player has provided an enduring moment.

Jorge Soler hit two homers into empty bleachers on April 13, the second of which tied the game and led to his very sheepish curtain call.

Matt Szcur had a walk-off moment on May 15 when the Pirates' Gregory Polanco fell down on a routine pop-up.

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Kyle Hendricks threw a 5-hit shutout on May 21 in San Diego.

David Ross pitched a little, helped calm Jon Lester a lot, but also finished off a 1-run win in Washington on June 4 with an amazing pick-off, and a memorable scream.

Chris Denorfia had a walk-off home run in the last home game of the year. But we'll also remember him getting the Superman carry after a game-ending sac fly against the Dodgers on June 23.

It was an eventual loss, but Miguel Montero's bases-clearing double in the sixth inning on July 8 was as loud as the ballpark could get.

Kyle Schwarber owned much of late July, and what will stick is his night in Cincinnati on July 21 with family in the stands. One home run tied it in the ninth, the other won it in the 13th.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

There was the Taylor Teagarden game on July 22, when the seldom-used catcher had a game-winning RBI against Aroldis Chapman.

Kris Bryant's first of 2 walk-off home runs against Colorado on July 28 is made into a team commercial, replete with a theoretically hefty soprano's aria.

Anthony Rizzo had big hits all year, but this is what lasts: he jumps on to the tarp, steps on the wall, and makes a catch in Wrigley's first row on Aug. 12.

An emotionally charged series against the White Sox was highlighted by Pedro Strop's Aug. 14 fist-pumps to end the eighth inning. I will probably most remember him running alongside Bryant's walk-off homer on Aug. 24 that got them both on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

Jake Arrieta's historically brilliant season was highlighted by a national TV no-hitter at Dodger Stadium on Aug. 30. That was the night some think he secured the Cy Young Award.

Lester saved his best for September, most notably a dominant complete game in Pittsburgh on Sept. 15 to stop a losing streak.

Starlin Castro won three games with clutch hits early, but the best moment came long after his benching. A 2 homer, 6 RBI game on Sept. 18 brought him a well-deserved curtain call.

Addison Russell's defense was a huge part of the climb to excellence, best exemplified by his game-ending dive in the very next game.

Earlier this week, I wondered aloud when Austin Jackson might have his time. Then came the sweep in Cincy, and Jackson's 8th RBI in two days.

So who's going to own the night on Oct. 7? What if it's not a Cub?

You'll always have these moments.

Didn't we have some fun?

• Matt Spiegel co-hosts "The Spiegel & Goff Show" 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday-Friday on WSCR 670-AM. Follow him on Twitter @mattspiegel670.

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