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January 2014

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It's A Long 162 Games…..

Written by , Posted in General

Did you know the Cubs are on the precipous of a monumental occasion?

Five straight losing seasons will be quite a feat, even for the Cubs.  Take a guess how long it has been…..your probably thinking, “Oh it just happened yesterday, right? Didn’t we lose for an entire decade once?”  Yah, we did, it was called the 50’s (it was actually the ten years between 1953 and 1963.)  The losing in the 50’s and early 60’s got so bad it brought about the idea of the “College of Coaches“, which ranks itself near the top as one of the worst ideas in the history of the sport.  Since then, no Cub team has registered a losing record for longer than four straight seasons*.

*Note- I left out the streak from 1979 -1983 as 1981 was strike shortened.

Since that glorious time, Cub fans got a repreave from the typical loveable losing ways, at least once every five years.  Now, here we sit.  I am pretty sure anybody with a baseball marble in their head will consider the upcoming 2014 Cubs season a wash.  Just like 2013, the prospects are not ready and the retreads will run the show until the golden geese are good and set to take the stage.  If the Cub conventions of the last two years are any indication, we as fans are supposed to hold our allegiance out for the future generation of players, and the remake of the landmark known as Wrigley Field.

That’s 810 games of losing.  No, they don’t lose them all, but when you don’t even sniff competing for five years, that’s what it feels like.  How many times over the last four seasons have you watched the Cubs win and felt a genuine sense that the team was good? Even when they win during this fine stretch of futility, I feel like they are losing.

Herein lies my biggest gripe with baseball.  It’s such a long damn commitment when your team is no good.  Each game, after a certain point of losing in a season, becomes meaningless.  Sometime in August I begin to wonder how professional broadcasters can stand sitting in the booth and calling the games.  Then I remember, that’s right, they get paid to do this.

If you can’t tell, I am having trouble getting excited for the 2014 season.  Rebuilding in baseball is a brutal task and I have never seen a front office do it with such malice towards fans.  It’s as if every day they’re looking at the fanbase and saying, “Just enjoy the beautiful history of Wrigley Field and the quasi-professional product we are rolling out there at a blue light special price tag, oh and don’t forget to sample a beer for $6”. I have also been wondering who I should back for the series with bwin.

What they are really saying is take your medicine, because this is the only way out.  I believe in what they are doing, but I don’t have to enjoy it.  Being a fan of a major market team should have its perks, and one of those is not having to eat a main course consisting of potatoes and bread when there is enough money in your wallet for a steak and then some.

The sad thing is, I don’t see us competing in 2015, like many at one time felt would be a realistic goal.  2016 anyone?

 

 

 

  • PLCB3

    In past years I would have the football countdown underway in June or July. The last 2 years though it’s started at the end of April.

  • AC0000000

    In past years I would have the football countdown underway in June or July. The last 2 years though it’s started at the end of April.

  • Seymour Butts

    Well, you don’t know until you know…then you know.
    The new facility down here is awesome. a guided tour thru the facility at lunch highlighted this. Players are likely to want to stretch out rehab assignments as the locker room is better than most if not all at the majors level. I have photos and will compile something when I return. Oh Raker… yes we were the first group to play any organized ball on these fields.

    • Doc Raker

      How cool, enjoy.

    • Doc Raker

      How cool, enjoy.

    • cap’n obvious

      I have reservations about whether or not we could call Randy camp either organized or baseball.

      • Getting the pitching machine a jersey would be a step in the right direction.

      • Doc Raker

        You wouldn’t go back to the hotel if you were there Capn, you would sleep in the clubhouse reveling in every bit of big leagueness that surrounds you. Plus you might like actually getting some hits for a change off that cookie throwing pitching machine. To participate in any form of baseball in such a beautiful setting with 100 other Cub people is a lot of fun, you even make some life long friends even as peculiar as they are.
        Don’t be bitter, embrace old man baseball Capn since after all, you are old.

    • cap’n obvious

      I have reservations about whether or not we could call Randy camp either organized or baseball.

      • Getting the pitching machine a jersey would be a step in the right direction.

      • Doc Raker

        You wouldn’t go back to the hotel if you were there Capn, you would sleep in the clubhouse reveling in every bit of big leagueness that surrounds you. Plus you might like actually getting some hits for a change off that cookie throwing pitching machine. To participate in any form of baseball in such a beautiful setting with 100 other Cub people is a lot of fun, you even make some life long friends even as peculiar as they are.
        Don’t be bitter, embrace old man baseball Capn since after all, you are old.

    • No way…that is awesome. Waiting on some pics.

    • No way…that is awesome. Waiting on some pics.

  • Doug S.

    I eagerly await the season as usual. Seymour said it well, you never know. I’ll continue to watch as many live MLB and minor league games as possible and follow the rest on computer/TV to the end. Even if the Cubs are out of it by the ASB, I’ll bug my fav sports bar to put their games on as much as they can stomach. It gets a little tougher when college/pro football start up.

    • Eddie Von White

      You nailed it.

    • Eddie Von White

      You nailed it.

  • Eddie Von White

    Really good article, Chet. Where have you been?

    • Chet

      Well, I moved my family to Minnesota from Illinois for one thing. That took a little time. I also changed jobs completely. Left something I had done for about 15 years and started something totally new. It is time consuming to say the least.

      • Eddie Von White

        It’s good to have you and your good-natured optimism back, although I think moving to Minnesota will test that.

  • Eddie Von White

    Really good article, Chet. Where have you been?

    • Chet

      Well, I moved my family to Minnesota from Illinois for one thing. That took a little time. I also changed jobs completely. Left something I had done for about 15 years and started something totally new. It is time consuming to say the least.

      • Eddie Von White

        It’s good to have you and your good-natured optimism back, although I think moving to Minnesota will test that.

  • Noah_I

    While I generally agree that the past few years, and 2014, will be a tough time to follow the Big League club, I wouldn’t describe what the Cubs have done as having malice towards the fans. I’ll be curious if, either after the plan works or it fails miserably and the current front office is removed, Theo/Jed will open up more about the process. I’d be curious if this was the initial plan: if the initial plan may have been to be willing to sign Type B free agents.and those without attached free agent compensation to try to be competivish. Then the new CBA hit, your ability to spend on the farm and IFAs was tied strongly to how bad you were, and at that point the plan changed, where they determined that actively competing would have actually hurt their ability to build the system they wanted to.

    Not saying this is what happened. Or that, if this is what happened, it was the right move, as we can’t know that until the current front office either builds a perennial contender for an extended period of time through the prospects either succeeding at the MLB level or trading the prospects for MLB talent, or they fail to do so.

    I’ve largely spent the last two seasons focused on the farm system, as opposed to the MLB club, though, which has made the season pass by more pleasantly.

    • Chet

      I agree Noah, I am curious to know what goes on behind the scenes as well. Also, following prospects is an even better way to divert attention from mlb club, especially now that our prospects show more promise.

      • Noah_I

        At some point, I’m hoping someone writes a book about this. But there’s no way any access will be given until this either leads to the longest stretch of competitive Cubs teams since before World War II, or it’s such a disaster that everyone is fired.

        In its own way, I’m glad the front office is so tight lipped right now, although it is frustrating, as we’re trying to guess when the Cubs will pull the trigger based solely on things occurring on the business side and estimates on prospect ETAs. But at some point I’d like to know what the discussions have been, including Ricketts role in them, and what the discussions to bring Epstein and Hoyer into the fold were in the first place.

      • Bryan

        Noah – do you believe 2015 will be different depending on what happens this year. Let’s just say for argument’s sake that Castro and Rizzo are the players we think they can be, Samardzija has a top-of-the-rotation year, Wood and Jackson are above average, and a few surprises here and there have the Cubs sniffing .500 ( I was going to say a Wild Card but that’s just silly). In your opinion, would that change things compared to finishing with 67 wins again?

      • Bryan

        I mean different from the front office’s point of view?

      • Noah_I

        I think the difficulty with this is that we don’t really know how much the ability to spend is tied to the business side issues: the loan issues, the subpar TV revenue deal, Wrigley’s limited ability to bring in advertising revenue pre-renovation, etc. etc.

        But, presuming that what we’ve heard, that the Cubs will be able to spend when they’re ready to compete, I think we’ll see some steps, but be in a situation where we still think the Cubs are a couple steps behind the Cardinals and Pirates.

        Now, if ALL those things go right, and some of the prospects come up and excel, could it speed up the timeline? Certainly. And I think you have as good a chance as ever of having two or three really good starters reaching free agency. I don’t think Lester or Scherzer get there, but I think there’s a pretty high likelihood that Bailey, Shields and Masterson get there. And my guess is the Cubs will be in on those guys with the intent to sign one of them.

        I think one of the things that hurts the Cubs as far as being able to try to speed this up is that they’re in a division that I think has such a good top 2 teams, especially the top team (the Cardinals). With that said, I’ve actually found the gradual ascent/gradual descent thing most expect from improving and regressing teams to not actually happen. It seems to happen quicker than we expect. Maybe getting a top of the rotation guy next season makes that happen for the Cubs.

        Sorry to hedge so much, but there’s just so many variables, it’s hard to do more than that at this point. We should have a better idea by mid-season.

      • Bryan

        Jeez…and I thought I knew a lot about. Thanks for the input I appreciate it.

      • Bryan

        I can’t type to save my life…

      • Noah_I

        The Cubs are an unhealthy addiction in my life.

  • Noah_I

    While I generally agree that the past few years, and 2014, will be a tough time to follow the Big League club, I wouldn’t describe what the Cubs have done as having malice towards the fans. I’ll be curious if, either after the plan works or it fails miserably and the current front office is removed, Theo/Jed will open up more about the process. I’d be curious if this was the initial plan: if the initial plan may have been to be willing to sign Type B free agents.and those without attached free agent compensation to try to be competivish. Then the new CBA hit, your ability to spend on the farm and IFAs was tied strongly to how bad you were, and at that point the plan changed, where they determined that actively competing would have actually hurt their ability to build the system they wanted to.

    Not saying this is what happened. Or that, if this is what happened, it was the right move, as we can’t know that until the current front office either builds a perennial contender for an extended period of time through the prospects either succeeding at the MLB level or trading the prospects for MLB talent, or they fail to do so.

    I’ve largely spent the last two seasons focused on the farm system, as opposed to the MLB club, though, which has made the season pass by more pleasantly.

    • Chet

      I agree Noah, I am curious to know what goes on behind the scenes as well. Also, following prospects is an even better way to divert attention from mlb club, especially now that our prospects show more promise.

      • Noah_I

        At some point, I’m hoping someone writes a book about this. But there’s no way any access will be given until this either leads to the longest stretch of competitive Cubs teams since before World War II, or it’s such a disaster that everyone is fired.

        In its own way, I’m glad the front office is so tight lipped right now, although it is frustrating, as we’re trying to guess when the Cubs will pull the trigger based solely on things occurring on the business side and estimates on prospect ETAs. But at some point I’d like to know what the discussions have been, including Ricketts role in them, and what the discussions to bring Epstein and Hoyer into the fold were in the first place.

      • Bryan

        Noah – do you believe 2015 will be different depending on what happens this year. Let’s just say for argument’s sake that Castro and Rizzo are the players we think they can be, Samardzija has a top-of-the-rotation year, Wood and Jackson are above average, and a few surprises here and there have the Cubs sniffing .500 ( I was going to say a Wild Card but that’s just silly). In your opinion, would that change things compared to finishing with 67 wins again?

      • Bryan

        I mean different from the front office’s point of view?

      • Noah_I

        I think the difficulty with this is that we don’t really know how much the ability to spend is tied to the business side issues: the loan issues, the subpar TV revenue deal, Wrigley’s limited ability to bring in advertising revenue pre-renovation, etc. etc.

        But, presuming that what we’ve heard, that the Cubs will be able to spend when they’re ready to compete, I think we’ll see some steps, but be in a situation where we still think the Cubs are a couple steps behind the Cardinals and Pirates.

        Now, if ALL those things go right, and some of the prospects come up and excel, could it speed up the timeline? Certainly. And I think you have as good a chance as ever of having two or three really good starters reaching free agency. I don’t think Lester or Scherzer get there, but I think there’s a pretty high likelihood that Bailey, Shields and Masterson get there. And my guess is the Cubs will be in on those guys with the intent to sign one of them.

        I think one of the things that hurts the Cubs as far as being able to try to speed this up is that they’re in a division that I think has such a good top 2 teams, especially the top team (the Cardinals). With that said, I’ve actually found the gradual ascent/gradual descent thing most expect from improving and regressing teams to not actually happen. It seems to happen quicker than we expect. Maybe getting a top of the rotation guy next season makes that happen for the Cubs.

        Sorry to hedge so much, but there’s just so many variables, it’s hard to do more than that at this point. We should have a better idea by mid-season.

      • Bryan

        Jeez…and I thought I knew a lot about. Thanks for the input I appreciate it.

      • Bryan

        I can’t type to save my life…

      • Noah_I

        The Cubs are an unhealthy addiction in my life.

  • Jerry in Wisconsin

    I learned as a teen in those late ’70s early ’80s to just take it one game at a time, and enjoy the beauty of the game not where the Cubs were in the standings (usually near last). Those teams were just awful at times, but we always had someone to root for like Billy Buckner. Going to the games in those years was fun as the fans were there to root for the Cubs, they were not tourists or bandwagon jumpers.

    • Bryan

      Agree 100% Obviously winning a WS is what we are waiting for, but I think the beauty of the sport of baseball (or any sport which one is a fan of) is in the sport itself. I love the Cubs because I am a baseball fan…I don’t love baseball because I am a Cubs fan.

      • Bryan

        I realize after a handful of edits that my reply to you Jerry really has little to do with what you said, and to be honest I don’t remember what my initial response was going to be. Time to lay of the coffee for me.

      • There is too much agreeing going on here, but I agree with you. Completely. I’ve never understood how someone could get so wrapped up in fan-dom to boycott watching the Series. Good baseball is good baseball, and that is sometimes under-appreciated.

      • Eddie Von White

        I’m going to have to disagree with you on the agreeing bit. I kind of like it when we all get along like this, except that Noah doesn’t have to defend his position anymore.

  • Jerry in Wisconsin

    I learned as a teen in those late ’70s early ’80s to just take it one game at a time, and enjoy the beauty of the game not where the Cubs were in the standings (usually near last). Those teams were just awful at times, but we always had someone to root for like Billy Buckner. Going to the games in those years was fun as the fans were there to root for the Cubs, they were not tourists or bandwagon jumpers.

    • Bryan

      Agree 100% Obviously winning a WS is what we are waiting for, but I think the beauty of the sport of baseball (or any sport which one is a fan of) is in the sport itself. I love the Cubs because I am a baseball fan…I don’t love baseball because I am a Cubs fan.

      • Bryan

        I realize after a handful of edits that my reply to you Jerry really has little to do with what you said, and to be honest I don’t remember what my initial response was going to be. Time to lay of the coffee for me.

      • There is too much agreeing going on here, but I agree with you. Completely. I’ve never understood how someone could get so wrapped up in fan-dom to boycott watching the Series. Good baseball is good baseball, and that is sometimes under-appreciated.

      • Eddie Von White

        I’m going to have to disagree with you on the agreeing bit. I kind of like it when we all get along like this, except that Noah doesn’t have to defend his position anymore.

  • Allan Birmantas

    I could have written that article, that is how close to my views that is. Life goes on as we slowly become the Pittsburg Pirates of 20 years ago.

  • Allan Birmantas

    I could have written that article, that is how close to my views that is. Life goes on as we slowly become the Pittsburg Pirates of 20 years ago.