Happy New Year, Cubs Fans!

2011 was a fun year to be a Cubs fan. And by fun, I mean interesting. And by interesting, I mean – noteworthy at the very least.

A season taken away from us in the first weeks of the season in losing our number four and five starters in the rotation.

A season that displayed exactly how important depth is on a major league baseball team and how even more important arguably it is to have in your farm system.

A year of historic significance in returning to Fenway Park, Castro’s 200 hit season, Santo’s vote tabulation for the Hall and the introduction of boy wonder, Theo Epstein along with the departure of Hendry and Quade.

I’ll remember the struggles the club had in finding suitable replacements for Wells and Cashner, the amazing season Castro put together, the once again uber-reliable innings eating calendar Dempster put together and that horrifying shot to the eye Marlon Byrd took at Fenway Park.

I’ll remember my trips to Wrigley, meeting with members of the front office staff and what they did for my son last off-season.

I’ll remember my trip to Cooperstown, my first with my wife and 10 month old son. It was amazing to revisit the Hall, look at all of the exhibits and plaques after years and years making it all new again. It was fun to introduce my son to the game by showing him the greatest to ever play the game and talk to other fans in the game in fun conversations giving them the opportunity to convince my son that he should not become a Cubs fan (good luck with that). You can see the video here:

I’ll remember singing the stretch in a couple of rain-threatened series at Wrigley, one game of which in fact was rained out, yet I made the trip back to Chicago to catch the make up game (any excuse to get to Wrigley is a good one). I’ll remember meeting with Vine Line and beginning my time writing for them along with the contributions I made to MLB.com, Baseball Digest and the other sports writing I put out there in 2011 and look forward to doing so in 2012.

Looking ahead to the new year, I can’t wait to see what Theo Epstein and his merry men can manage to pull off with our boys on the North Side. Will he end up writing a similar thank you note to Cubs fans referring back to multiple championships in his time with the club, starting with the rumors that flew around after being spotted at a Starbucks? I hope so.

I hope Garza is still a Cub and that Epstein and Company find a way to better the team without having to deal him. Our rotation needs some stability and Garza, had he received a few breaks, could have come out of 2011 with one of the most impressive records in the National League. I understand why other teams would want him and how he is a valuable piece of bait that could potentially bring back significant pieces of the future – I just hope he is still around and that the front office finds another way.

I look forward to seeing Castro put up another season of impressive numbers and make an argument for a starting spot at the All-Star Game. I remain curious regarding how we’ll manage on the corners and how DeJesus will fit in with the club come Opening Day and I remain hopeful that a few more moves this winter will be the ones that bring in a no-name player that surprises us all and perhaps one headliner that can be a cornerstone for years to come.

Regarding the future, yet in more of a short-term fashion, I hope to have an exciting announcement to bring you in the next few days – so please keep visiting Prose and Ivy this week for what will hopefully be a very big announcement I will be VERY excited to share with you!

Happy New Year to every single one of you and thank you for making 2011 a sweet fourth year for me here at Prose and Ivy. Happy New Year, have a great 2012! Go Cubs Go!