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The Cubs’ season in quotes

Cubs pitcher Carlo Zambrano reacts after giving up 2-run homer Sox hitter Paul Konerko first inning opener Cross Town Classic

Cubs pitcher Carlo Zambrano reacts after giving up a 2-run homer to Sox hitter Paul Konerko in the first inning of the opener of the Cross Town Classic series pitting the Chicago Cubs at the Chicago White Sox Monday June 20, 2011 at US Cellular Field. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: May 9, 2012 9:45AM

As the Cubs prepare for another September role as extras in somebody else’s pennant race, let them tell you how it came to this again.

From the beginning of the Mike Quade era to the end of the Jim Hendry and Carlos Zambrano eras, their echoes from the last seven months are reminders of the miscalculations, injuries and inexplicably unrelenting optimism that have assured this year’s team its own small, special room in Cubs culture and lore. It may be left to history to determine whether the walls of that room are made of rubber.

FEB. 13

“We fully expect to be in contention in the National League Central.” ~ GM JIM HENDRY, the day pitchers and catchers reported for spring training

MAY 17

“If we haven’t reached rock bottom with this, were pretty damn close.” ~ MANAGER MIKE QUADE, after all seven runs in a 7-5 loss at Cincinnati were unearned

MAY 18

“It was definitely the naked guy.” ~ REED JOHNSON, on the Cubs’ key rally that helped beat the Florida Marlins after a streaker ran on the field


“Whatever heat comes, bring it on.” ~ QUADE, responding to mounting criticism


“We stinks.” ~ CARLOS ZAMBRANO, in a postgame rant that singled out teammate Carlos Marmol


“I’ve never bought into the [idea that] I should have a baseball guy to watch my baseball guy. And then what do you get? A baseball guy to watch the baseball guy who’s watching the baseball guy?” ~ CHAIRMAN TOM RICKETTS


“They say we’re down and out, but . . . we’re right where we need to be right now to make a good run.” ~ MATT GARZA, after a comeback win in Washington improved the Cubs’ record to 36-53, 11 games back


‘‘I was just mad because . . . I didn’t get a tee time at Oakmont.’’ ~ RYAN DEMPSTER, on yelling at Quade on the dugout step after being pulled


“I’m not a lunatic.” ~ QUADE, as he described how his fifth-place team, then 18 games under .500 and 11 1/2 games out of first, might get back into contention


“If the change has to be me, that’s OK.” ~ ZAMBRANO, after saying the Cubs need ‘‘changes’’ but refusing to get specific


“This is an opportunity for me to restart and get going.” ~ KOSUKE FUKUDOME, after being traded to the Cleveland Indians

AUG. 12

“I feel like I’m stealing money.” ~ ZAMBRANO, in a text to team officials, according to sources, after he bailed on his teammates and ‘‘retired’’ during a game in Atlanta

AUG. 13

“He’s a big man, but I think mentally he’s weak.’” ~ ALFONSO SORIANO, on Zambrano

AUG. 20

“We just didn’t win enough games.” ~ RICKETTS, explaining Hendry’s firing

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