When you think about, baseball's postseason is a little messed up. You play almost every day for six long months in the regular season -- an utter marathon, the most grueling schedule in all of sports -- and then, boom, the entire season comes down to a best of five series.
Best of five? Success in baseball is measured by performing in a humongous sample size, so doesn't it seem odd that all it takes is three quick losses to ruin everything a team accomplished? The best-of-seven format used in the LCS and World Series is barely a better alternative, but it's an improvement over the ridiculously short LDS.
What am I getting at? In a roundabout way, a defense for the Cubs' collapse. There's no question they were the best team in the National League for 99% of the season, and the fact that they ran into a buzzsaw in the first round should hardly tarnish all they accomplished. Lou Piniella has already been given an extension to keep him in Chicago through 2010, the reward for getting the Cubs into the postseason in consecutive years for the first time since the turn of the 20th century.
Next up? Locking up Jim Hendry, the man who hired Piniella in the first place and built the current roster. His original contract ran through this season with a team option for 2009, but the team announced a new deal today that keeps him in the Cubs' front office through 2012. Hendry has his work cut out for him keeping the Cubs atop the NL Central, but his track record compares favorably with just about any GM In the game. This was a no-brainer for the Cubbie ownership.