Lenny Puddock writes of his experiences as a Chicago Cub during the 2011 baseball season. Puddock is a 32-year-old physical therapist for the Indianapolis National Institute of Fitness and Health who attended Randy Hundley’s Fantasy Camp.
Part of the Fantasy Camp experience is his developing friendship with Gertrude Castellano, a waitress who becomes a singing star. They romance at a distance.
Puddock is invited to the Cubs’ Spring Training after an outstanding performance at the Camp. The Cubs offer him a contract with the Daytona Class A team and he accepts. Puddock is moved up to Class AA Tennessee in mid-May and is called up to the Cubs in mid-July. He was batting .378.
In mid-August Mike Quade resigns as manager. Ryne Sandberg, who had an escape clause in his contract with a Phillies Minor League team, becomes the Cubs manager.
When Puddock joined the parent club, the Cubs were 10 ½ games out of first place. By the end of August they are four from the Wild Card spot.
In the waning days of August the roster was two short due to injuries. Sandberg did not want to disrupt the Iowa or Tennessee playoff-bound teams, so he activated Greg Maddux and himself, thinking the roster had to contain the maximum 25 players. Plans were to activate two players before the August 31 midnight deadline but due to an intern’s goof not recognizing the difference in Eastern Standard Time and Central Standard Time, the move came too late. In essence the Cubs would have only a 23-player Post-Season roster.
The Cubs win their Division and League playoffs and enter World Series for the first time in 76 years. In an amazing ninth inning of the seventh game, the Cubs win the Series.