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Wednesday

6

August 2014

96

COMMENTS

Are the Chicago Cubs at the Tipping Point?

Written by , Posted in General

95,242. That’s my place in line.

This morning I decided to sign up for the Cubs’ season ticket waiting list.  I did so knowing I would have no chance of having them anytime soon. Considering I will have a child in college for 12 of the next 13 years, my disposable income will be…let’s just say… limited. I joined just to see where I would place on the list. I have heard unconfirmed (maybe one of you can confirm) reports that waiting listers were getting calls just last winter from the Chicago Cubs…stating that their numbers had come up and they could get tickets.  If this is true, and anyone passed…that person may be waiting a long time for another opportunity.

I know very little about the ins and outs of season tickets and ticket brokering, but I know a little about supply and demand.  For the last couple of summers, I have heard angry callers to sports radio begin conversations with “I am a season-ticket holder, and…” they then rant about Jeff Samardzija being traded or whatever other move they are upset about.  My thought when I hear these rants? Get rid of your tickets then. I have a friend who has a ticket business on the side…and I have listened to him lament for the last 3 summers regarding the Cubs.  This may sound insensitive to those who have had tickets for the last 3 summers, and watched bad, bad baseball…but they didn’t have to keep them.  Yet if you did, I think you are about to be rewarded for your patience.  I view season tickets like stocks…buy low, sell high. If you bought Chicago Blackhawks season tickets in 2006, the idea would have seemed rather silly. Yet, in 2014, those lucky enough to have done so have 41 sold-out dates each year to use or sell at their leisure….and they have benefited greatly during two Stanley Cup runs.

I spoke with my long-time friend, Dale Bradley, a financial adviser with 25 years of experience, of Bradley Investment Center in Evanston…and a Cubs’ season ticket holder for the last 20 years. In regards to his tickets, Bradley stated; “You love them and you hate them…when times are bad you are tempted to sell.  When times are good, they are golden”. In my opinion…times are about to be very good for the patient ones.

This brings me to my “Tipping Point” regarding the Chicago Cubs.  The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell is a book that combines economics, human nature, and social trends.  The book may be a bit “thinky” for some, but here is how Gladwell defines a tipping point: “the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point”.   Gladwell demonstrates messages, ideas, products and behaviors that race like wildfire through our society…after reaching their tipping point.  In my opinion, as year three of the Theo Epstein regime comes to a close…the Cubs are either at a tipping point or on the precipice of one.

Am I just a Cubbie blue Kool-Aid drinker?  I will let the reader be the judge, as I give my reasons why the tipping point for the Cubs’ organization is nigh:

  1. Before we get to the fun stuff (players)…lets address an off the field issue.  It appears as though the renovations to Wrigley will finally begin.  With the way this issue has played out, I will keep my fingers and toes crossed, but the Cubs finally give the impression that they have their “ducks in a row” on this. The dark cloud regarding future revenues concerning the park…might finally be lifting.  In fact (fingers crossed, fingers crossed), we may see some of these changes take root during the 2015 season.
  2. The contract of Alfonso Soriano (the equivalent of two Presidential terms) is finally off the books in 2015.  Not including players eligible for arbitration, the Cubs currently have $31.2 million allotted to salaries in 2015.  Let’s give them a modest payroll of $85 million for 2015…you are looking at a heck of a lot of dough the Cubs will have to allocate to free-agents.  They will not enter 2015 with a $40 million dollar salary.  However, I would like to caution those of you who already have Jon Lester in the 2015 Cubs’ rotation…if Lester wants anything more than a five-year deal…that might not be where the money goes.  Regardless of Jon Lester and other top of the line free-agents, the Cubs will have the flexibility to sign, and trade for contracts they have not had for the past six off seasons.
  3. Recent events, the call ups of Arismendy Alcantara, Kyle Hendricks, and now (cue, shining light coming through the clouds) Javy Baez, have me thinking that Theo and Jed are ready to at least compete in 2015.  They have stated numerous times they like to call players up to stay…if that’s true, these players will be on the opening day roster in 2015.  A line-up that will include the current NL home-run leader in Rizzo…and perhaps some of the other amazing offensive prospects the Cubs have in the system. These call-ups signal to me that the regime is not concerned about tanking the last two months. I am not alluding that Baez, Alcantara and Hendricks are going to give the Cubs a winning record for August and September…but I get the feeling that the regime isn’t  worried as much if the pick 3rd or 7th overall next June.
  4.  I know some people will always be suspicious of prospects…but when you have respected national writers stating that this may be the best assortment of position prospects ever assembled…you can dismiss those thoughts of Ty Griffin, Corey Patterson and Felix Pie. Jorge Soler, Kris Bryant, and Kyle Schwarber seem to hit home runs daily.  Alcantara (yes, small sample size) has looked as smooth to me as any prospect in recent memory upon arriving in the Majors.  The Cubs system is “boiling over” with offensive potential.  The “graduation” of these prospects will not leave the minors barren of talent, as players such as Eloy Jimenez and Gleyber Torres will ascend to the top of prospect lists.
  5. Almost under the radar, the Cubs have done an excellent job of stockpiling young power arms for the bullpen.  Justin Grimm has shown flashes, yet still inconsistent. (side not…you don’t have to pitch him every day Ricky) Hector Rondon has stepped in nicely as the current closer, and Neil Ramirez has been filthy for most of the season.  Pedro Strop, although not as young, has displayed his magic slider recently.  At Iowa, the Cubs actually may have the two best power relievers in the system in Armando Rivero (83 k’s in 54 innings) and Arodys Vizcaino.  The Cubs could enter spring training next year with 6-7 relievers who throw 95 mph.

I have had this Tipping Point concept floating in my head for the last month or so…and I finally decided to own it.  I loved Gladwell’s book and the analogies made sense to me.  Some of you may take a much more pessimistic view about 2015 for the Chicago Cubs…and that’s fine. If you do have a negative outlook on the future for the Cubs…please try to convince the 95,241 people ahead of me on the season ticket list that they should drop off.

  • PLCB3

    You better make it 95,240 because I believe in what McJedEp is doing and I am on the waiting list, position 77,955. When I signed up 3 years ago, I was 120,000.

    Game winning HR from Baez in the 12th in his debut. Halfway out of the No Homers Club.

  • I love Malcolm Gladwell. And you are right, I was called over this past winter to be offered season tickets. Actually I shouldn’t even say “winter” … The considerable sales pitch began in late August or early September, long before the 2013 season ended. When I signed up I was in the 55K range and that was somewhere between six and eight years ago. So, based in your current placement and years remaining for college financing I’d say you’ll be spot on once the kids fly the coop! We analyzed and contemplated and went back and forth for months before respectfully declining the offer. Our nephew bought them and isn’t anywhere near breaking even this year but he’ll be sitting pretty in years to come. In fact in his case they may actually supplement his children’s college funds!

    • Noah_I

      I am currently in just over the 50,000 spot, and signed up at the end of the ’08 season. I’m pretty sure the list was 200,000 deep when I joined. I’ve moved up a ton in each of the last three years, and wouldn’t be surprised to be in the 20,000-30,000 range after this season.

      I am currently bought in for 1/6 of the season with some cousins, and my presumption based upon what I am currently paying is that a full set of season tickets (with 2 tickets per game) costs around $6,000. Is that about what you would have been charged?

      • Yep that’s just about right. If I’m remembering correctly the lowest per-seat cost was around $1,600 and the highest around $8,000, so you don’t necessarily HAVE to spend $6,000 for two but you probably wouldn’t want the lesser cost seats. This was for the full 81 games. We weren’t offered a smaller package but I do know some people who have “nights and weekends” so I’m not sure if that would have eventually been offered had we pursued it further.

      • Noah_I

        That’s what I thought. It stinks that you got offered before this past year because the economics made it tough, with the prospects all still being a bit away. You didn’t know if you were looking at 1, 2, or 3 years of probably not being able to recoup expenses. If I came up this year (which I almost certainly won’t), it would be easier because I’m probably looking at 1 year more of bad baseball at most (and potentially 0).

      • That’s EXACTLY it Noah, you are so right. It would be one thing if we had to eat it for one year. But we had no way of knowing at that point, and if you’re still losing money a few years in then you have that much more to recoup when they do start doing well. And that’s when you actually want to go to the games instead if selling. Today, we’d probably buy them.

        My friends with the nights and weekends plan basically keep them with the singular hope that they get a chance to buy playoff tickets before they die, since season ticket holders would have the chance before the general public. They’re a lot older than me and I’m 47 so they’re really starting to sweat it now, LOL.

    • Noah_I

      I am currently in just over the 50,000 spot, and signed up at the end of the ’08 season. I’m pretty sure the list was 200,000 deep when I joined. I’ve moved up a ton in each of the last three years, and wouldn’t be surprised to be in the 20,000-30,000 range after this season.

      I am currently bought in for 1/6 of the season with some cousins, and my presumption based upon what I am currently paying is that a full set of season tickets (with 2 tickets per game) costs around $6,000. Is that about what you would have been charged?

      • Yep that’s just about right. If I’m remembering correctly the lowest per-seat cost was around $1,600 and the highest around $8,000, so you don’t necessarily HAVE to spend $6,000 for two but you probably wouldn’t want the lesser cost seats. This was for the full 81 games. We weren’t offered a smaller package but I do know some people who have “nights and weekends” so I’m not sure if that would have eventually been offered had we pursued it further.

      • Noah_I

        That’s what I thought. It stinks that you got offered before this past year because the economics made it tough, with the prospects all still being a bit away. You didn’t know if you were looking at 1, 2, or 3 years of probably not being able to recoup expenses. If I came up this year (which I almost certainly won’t), it would be easier because I’m probably looking at 1 year more of bad baseball at most (and potentially 0).

      • That’s EXACTLY it Noah, you are so right. It would be one thing if we had to eat it for one year. But we had no way of knowing at that point, and if you’re still losing money a few years in then you have that much more to recoup when they do start doing well. And that’s when you actually want to go to the games instead if selling. Today, we’d probably buy them.

        My friends with the nights and weekends plan basically keep them with the singular hope that they get a chance to buy playoff tickets before they die, since season ticket holders would have the chance before the general public. They’re a lot older than me and I’m 47 so they’re really starting to sweat it now, LOL.

  • Doc Raker

    Baez does his best Carlos Pena impersonation in his debut, 1-6 with a bomb and 3K’s. Baez does have a very Gary Sheffield like swing.

    • Baez’s walk tool doesn’t project to Pena’s level (80/80.)

      • Seymour Butts

        Ok, I’ll bite. What is a walk tool?

      • I’m trying the saber thing where you say a baseball word and then “tool.” Then you say a number that doesn’t really mean anything.

      • Doc Raker

        I certainly hope Baez develops his contact tool and decreases his K tool as he develops otherwise he is a second base Mike Old tool.

      • Seymour Butts

        Excellent! One thing I often think of when reading about such advanced metrics is tools.

      • Wax cup toast, bud. Not as definitive as a glass glass, but the ice does make some noise when it bumps around in the Mountain Dew.

    • Noah_I

      Well, if you could put Carlos Pena’s 2011 offensive performance (.357 OBP, .462 slugging with 28 home runs) at second base with average to above average defense, you’d have a 5+ WAR player.

      But we should expect a fair amount of this from Baez this season. There will be a lot of Ks. A lot of them. Like Adam Dunn his first season with the White Sox a lot. But when he gets a hold of a pitch, it will be really, really pretty.

      And while I agree on the Sheffield comp for the swing and love that bat speed, I do think he should cut back some with 2 strikes in most situations.

      • Doc Raker Tool

        Lots of K’s is not a good tool in baseball. Why is everyone so excited for a guy who has a high K tool?

  • Doc Raker

    Baez does his best Carlos Pena impersonation in his debut, 1-6 with a bomb and 3K’s. Baez does have a very Gary Sheffield like swing.

    • Baez’s walk tool doesn’t project to Pena’s level (80/80.)

      • Seymour Butts

        Ok, I’ll bite. What is a walk tool?

      • I’m trying the saber thing where you say a baseball word and then “tool.” Then you say a number that doesn’t really mean anything.

      • Doc Raker

        I certainly hope Baez develops his contact tool and decreases his K tool as he develops otherwise he is a second base Mike Old tool.

      • Seymour Butts

        Excellent! One thing I often think of when reading about advanced metrics is what great tools they must be.

      • Wax cup toast, bud. Not as definitive as a glass glass, but the ice does make some noise when it bumps around in the Mountain Dew.

    • Noah_I

      Well, if you could put Carlos Pena’s 2011 offensive performance (.357 OBP, .462 slugging with 28 home runs) at second base with average to above average defense, you’d have a 5+ WAR player.

      But we should expect a fair amount of this from Baez this season. There will be a lot of Ks. A lot of them. Like Adam Dunn his first season with the White Sox a lot. But when he gets a hold of a pitch, it will be really, really pretty.

      And while I agree on the Sheffield comp for the swing and love that bat speed, I do think he should cut back some with 2 strikes in most situations.

      • Doc Raker Tool

        Lots of K’s is not a good tool in baseball. Why is everyone so excited for a guy who has a high K tool?

  • Josh Cornwall

    I got called too, but couldn’t afford them considering where I am in life. It was sad.

    • PLCB3

      It does suck. I was called for Bulls season tickets 3 years ago and had to turn it down for money reasons

  • Josh Cornwall

    I got called too, but couldn’t afford them considering where I am in life. It was sad.

    • AC0000000

      It does suck. I was called for Bulls season tickets 3 years ago and had to turn it down for money reasons

  • Noah_I

    I think the statement of $31.2 million committed is slightly misleading, as that doesn’t count anyone likely to be offered arbitration or players under team control like Alcantara, Baez, Ramirez, Rondon, Hendricks, etc. I have the Cubs at around $55 to $60 million in likely payroll next year after those issues are dealt with.

    I also think $85 million is a VERY conservative guess on 2015 payroll. The Cubs indicated that they has about $110 million available for 2014 payroll (opening day payroll minus Hammel plus Tanaka at $20 million). I’d expect the 2015 payroll to be in that range (between $100 million $110 million), giving the Cubs somewhere between $45 and $55 million to spend. They could get Lester (I’m guessing about $22 million per year for him) plus a second tier guy at $12 to $14 million per year, and still have money available for other needs (if he could be had on a reasonable deal, I’d love to see the Cubs go after Russell Martin, who would be a significant improvement over Castillo at catcher).

    • BBCG: 105 Reasons

      the 85 is way below what it should be…just being extra, extra conservative…as far as Arb guys….they don’t have many….

      • Noah_I

        Wood is the biggest one, and several others who look to be in the $2 million to $4 million range (Coghlan, Ruggiano, Strop, etc.), that it adds up to a decent chunk of change. But yeah, no one who is going to be getting close to $10 million on their own.

    • I’m with you up to the Martin point. That contract would be big, he is too old for the execs, and his line is Barney-esque.

      • Noah_I

        I’d say calling his line Barneyesque is something of an exaggeration. He walks a ton (even in the years his BA has been down he’s put up decent OBPs because of the walks), making a significant difference. But odds are he ends up too expensive. By far the best C available in free agency, been pretty healthy 4 years in a row. He has somewhat decent odds of receiving a tender offer from the Pirates as well, which would link him to draft compensation the Cubs probably wouldn’t and shouldn’t want to give up for a 32 year old catcher.

      • PLCB3

        You don’t think if he was given that qualifying offer he wouldn’t accept it?

  • Noah_I

    I think the statement of $31.2 million committed is slightly misleading, as that doesn’t count anyone likely to be offered arbitration or players under team control like Alcantara, Baez, Ramirez, Rondon, Hendricks, etc. I have the Cubs at around $55 to $60 million in likely payroll next year after those issues are dealt with.

    I also think $85 million is a VERY conservative guess on 2015 payroll. The Cubs indicated that they has about $110 million available for 2014 payroll (opening day payroll minus Hammel plus Tanaka at $20 million). I’d expect the 2015 payroll to be in that range (between $100 million $110 million), giving the Cubs somewhere between $45 and $55 million to spend. They could get Lester (I’m guessing about $22 million per year for him) plus a second tier guy at $12 to $14 million per year, and still have money available for other needs (if he could be had on a reasonable deal, I’d love to see the Cubs go after Russell Martin, who would be a significant improvement over Castillo at catcher).

    • BBCG: 105 Reasons

      the 85 is way below what it should be…just being extra, extra conservative…as far as Arb guys….they don’t have many….

      • Noah_I

        Wood is the biggest one, and several others who look to be in the $2 million to $4 million range (Coghlan, Ruggiano, Strop, etc.), that it adds up to a decent chunk of change. But yeah, no one who is going to be getting close to $10 million on their own.

    • I’m with you up to the Martin point. That contract would be big, he is too old for the execs, and his line is Barney-esque.

      • Noah_I

        I’d say calling his line Barneyesque is something of an exaggeration. He walks a ton (even in the years his BA has been down he’s put up decent OBPs because of the walks), making a significant difference. But odds are he ends up too expensive. By far the best C available in free agency, been pretty healthy 4 years in a row. He has somewhat decent odds of receiving a tender offer from the Pirates as well, which would link him to draft compensation the Cubs probably wouldn’t and shouldn’t want to give up for a 32 year old catcher.

      • AC0000000

        You don’t think if he was given that qualifying offer he wouldn’t accept it?

  • Chris

    Does anyone think that Olt has a chance to be on the 2015 opening day roster? Possibly starting at third to begin the year? If he is hitting then he sticks at third with Bryant moving to the OF and if he is not hitting then is replaced by Bryant.

    • Noah_I

      Very, very minimal. Bryant is likely coming up so early in 2015 (mid to late April), that Olt couldn’t do enough to establish himself. I believe Olt will have one option left next season, though, so he can stay in Triple A, or the Cubs can try and package him in a trade to a team that thinks it can fix him. Olt’s best shot is if he comes up and succeeds against LHPs when rosters expand.

      • Dusty Baylor

        I’d like to see them bring Olt up now…put him back at 3B for the rest of the season. He’s mashing the ball in AAA. Let’ssee if that’s fool’s gold or not. Maybe he fixed a mechanical issue?

      • Chris

        I’d like the same thing. I never understood why Olt was never given the opportunity to play everyday. Alcantara and Baez are both going to play everyday, why not give Olt the same chance. I think it would be better to see if he has made adjustments or if he is a AAAA player.

      • I’m with you two. Valbuena can get enough ABs between infielder days off and pinch hitting…give Olt an opportunity to make a case for himself.

  • Chris

    Does anyone think that Olt has a chance to be on the 2015 opening day roster? Possibly starting at third to begin the year? If he is hitting then he sticks at third with Bryant moving to the OF and if he is not hitting then is replaced by Bryant.

    • Noah_I

      Very, very minimal. Bryant is likely coming up so early in 2015 (mid to late April), that Olt couldn’t do enough to establish himself. I believe Olt will have one option left next season, though, so he can stay in Triple A, or the Cubs can try and package him in a trade to a team that thinks it can fix him. Olt’s best shot is if he comes up and succeeds against LHPs when rosters expand.

      • Dusty Baylor

        I’d like to see them bring Olt up now…put him back at 3B for the rest of the season. He’s mashing the ball in AAA. Let’ssee if that’s fool’s gold or not. Maybe he fixed a mechanical issue?

      • Chris

        I’d like the same thing. I never understood why Olt was never given the opportunity to play everyday. Alcantara and Baez are both going to play everyday, why not give Olt the same chance. I think it would be better to see if he has made adjustments or if he is a AAAA player.

      • I’m with you two. Valbuena can get enough ABs between infielder days off and pinch hitting…give Olt an opportunity to make a case for himself.

  • Doug S.

    Considering the long wait list for season’s tickets I was pleasantly surprised to see the quality of single game tickets available when I purchased the 3 game Braves series from the Cubs site earlier this year. Got sections 120, 121 and 34, no row higher than 8, all on the aisle. Great seats.

  • Doug S.

    Considering the long wait list for season’s tickets I was pleasantly surprised to see the quality of single game tickets available when I purchased the 3 game Braves series from the Cubs site earlier this year. Got sections 120, 121 and 34, no row higher than 8, all on the aisle. Great seats.

  • I’ll always have a spot in my Cubs history books for Nate Shierholtz.

    Goodbye, Nate.

    • Doug S.

      I’m not so sure we saw the “Nate the Great” part of this guy. I wish him luck.

  • I’ll always have a spot in my Cubs history books for Nate Shierholtz.

    Goodbye, Nate.

    • Doug S.

      I’m not so sure we saw the “Nate the Great” part of this guy. I wish him luck.

  • cap’n obvious

    tipping towards 4th place or toward being only the 5th worst team in the majors?

    Impressive (albeit altitude aided)homerun by Baez last night…but before we erect the statue, he IS only hitting .167 All of these position prospects are impressive, we just need to find a dumb GM or two to trade for a few pitching prospects. The above mentioned bullpen arms will likely suffice, but who is going to pitch the first 6 innings? The cap space is there, but will the Ricketts’ spend the money with only 60k fans on the season ticket wait list?

    • Seymour Butts

      Well hold on there Cap. 1 for 6 is a rather small sample size. About 6 I reckon.

      • Verified.

      • Doug S.

        0-4 last night but no strikeouts

      • cap’n obvious

        the sample size will grow, not sure about the batting average.

      • cap’n I mean this with absolutely no snarkiness whatsoever because as you know I consider us to be friends. So this is a serious question. Why do you continue being a Cubs fan? You don’t like the owners, the management, the coaching staff or the new young guys. That’s about all there is, LOL. What’s left for you? In that situation I’d probably go find some other team that I could actually enjoy. It’s been a good long time since the Cubs have been particularly enjoyable but there are lots of pieces that I like so I put up with it. It must feel pretty rotten to hate every aspect of your team. Again no disrespect intended in any way. I’m honestly curious. Is it more because you grew up with them so you want to stick with them through thick and thin?

      • Dusty Baylor

        No offense to Lizzie….but can I copy this….and use it for a few of my Cubs fan friends who do nothing but complain and gripe.

      • I’ll relinquish any copyright for the sake of the public good. 😉 Copy and paste away!

      • cap’n obvious

        You hit it on the head. Habit. The Cubs are a bad habit for me. They suck. They mostly have sucked since I became a fan. I still see myself in my basement on summer afternoons watching and listening to Jack Brickhouse as I rested up for little league games. Smokers quit. Problem drinkers quit. Cub fans like myself can’t kick the habit, no matter how hazardous to my health and happiness.

        I still root for them to be good. I’m a realist and can see through years of watching and playing the game that what is happening might get a few more wins, but it’s not going to win a world series. You need pitchers. Good pitchers that can pitch a lot of innings. You need coaches who can teach new things to big leaguers. I don’t hate the hitting coach, I’ve actually dined with him, and Renteria was hired as a short timer anyway. The Cubs haven’t had a great pitching coach since the 50’s. The Cubs could have hired Sandberg 5 years ago, and I’d probably still be thrilled, even though they are in last place.

        I’m on board with some of the new guys. Bryant will be an All-Star. Soler will be good. I think Castro is solid. I’m certainly not sold on the #1 draft pick catcher that can hit, because he is a lousy catcher, and you probably can’t win a world series with a lousy defensive catcher. You can win one with a catcher that can’t hit, if you have great pitchers, but not one that can’t catch. Baez has impressive power. He strikes out 1/4 of the time. In the minors. He is Dave Kingman. Dave Kingman hit 48 home runs one summer while I watched from my basement in the cornfields of Illinois. It was exciting. The Cubs finished in last place that year. Baez is not a savior. He’s a strong young kid with an enormous swing with holes everywhere. Big league pitchers don’t make enough mistakes for him to be successful at this point in his career, and maybe not at any point.

        I know that you are a positive person by nature, and that Joe has asked many times to keep the comments positive, which is why I comment about 1/10th as much as I once did. Plus, I ran out of sandwich jokes in 2012. While I do see a few good young position players coming up, I don’t see what most of you see. I see at best a 3rd place team in the next 5 years, before it will need to be blown up again. There are some good players coming up. There SHOULD be a lot of great young players coming up. The Cubs have had fantastic slots in the last 6 drafts. A monkey could have drafted these guys, and a smart monkey would likely have drafted better. There aren’t near enough pitching prospects in the system for people to be as giddy as they are.

        So yes, I’ll stick with them through thin and thin. There hasn’t been much thick in the last 8 years. I’ll continue to root for them to win, and for the all knowing Thed to make a move or 6 to make me believe they can win a world series. I can see better days ahead, but the world series we all crave is still a complete pipe dream.

        I do hate most aspects….but not all. For example, I think Len Kasper is dreamy. I like Castro and Rizzo…who wouldn’t? Maybe I’m just a glass half empty guy. I just think that the franchise can and should do better. A whole lot better. We deserve better. Not just 2 or 3 up and comers.

        For now, you can all keep drinking your Kool-aid. I’ll keep drinking my 15 year Dalwhinnie.

      • Doug S.

        I sometimes refer to my love of the Cubs as a curse or that I’ve fallen for the wrong girl and am powerless to do anything about it.

      • I understand that, believe me I do. The positive nature probably forces me to dream up things to like even where there are none. But I’m reasonably excited about the future, or at least more than I have been which might not be saying much! I was just curious.

        For the record I don’t mind the negativity unless it turns into the “you’re an idiot” type and you don’t do that. So feel free to hate them all you want. You know there’s that fine line between love and hate. When you resort to indifference then we’ll know you’ve turned in your fan card!

      • Dusty Baylor

        Nah..you’re right….167 is about right.

      • Seymour Butts

        I imagine he will first be a grower, then become a show-er.
        And now we are back to the basics.

  • cap’n obvious

    tipping towards 4th place or toward being only the 5th worst team in the majors?

    Impressive (albeit altitude aided)homerun by Baez last night…but before we erect the statue, he IS only hitting .167 All of these position prospects are impressive, we just need to find a dumb GM or two to trade for a few pitching prospects. The above mentioned bullpen arms will likely suffice, but who is going to pitch the first 6 innings? The cap space is there, but will the Ricketts’ spend the money with only 60k fans on the season ticket wait list?

    • Seymour Butts

      Well hold on there Cap. 1 for 6 is a rather small sample size. About 6 I reckon.

      • Verified.

      • Doug S.

        0-4 last night but no strikeouts

      • cap’n obvious

        the sample size will grow, not sure about the batting average.

      • cap’n I mean this with absolutely no snarkiness whatsoever because as you know I consider us to be friends. So this is a serious question. Why do you continue being a Cubs fan? You don’t like the owners, the management, the coaching staff or the new young guys. That’s about all there is, LOL. What’s left for you? In that situation I’d probably go find some other team that I could actually enjoy. It’s been a good long time since the Cubs have been particularly enjoyable but there are lots of pieces that I like so I put up with it. It must feel pretty rotten to hate every aspect of your team. Again no disrespect intended in any way. I’m honestly curious. Is it more because you grew up with them so you want to stick with them through thick and thin?

      • Dusty Baylor

        No offense to Lizzie….but can I copy this….and use it for a few of my Cubs fan friends who do nothing but complain and gripe.

      • I’ll relinquish any copyright for the sake of the public good. 😉 Copy and paste away!

      • cap’n obvious

        You hit it on the head. Habit. The Cubs are a bad habit for me. They suck. They mostly have sucked since I became a fan. I still see myself in my basement on summer afternoons watching and listening to Jack Brickhouse as I rested up for little league games. Smokers quit. Problem drinkers quit. Cub fans like myself can’t kick the habit, no matter how hazardous to my health and happiness.

        I still root for them to be good. I’m a realist and can see through years of watching and playing the game that what is happening might get a few more wins, but it’s not going to win a world series. You need pitchers. Good pitchers that can pitch a lot of innings. You need coaches who can teach new things to big leaguers. I don’t hate the hitting coach, I’ve actually dined with him, and Renteria was hired as a short timer anyway. The Cubs haven’t had a great pitching coach since the 50’s. The Cubs could have hired Sandberg 5 years ago, and I’d probably still be thrilled, even though they are in last place.

        I’m on board with some of the new guys. Bryant will be an All-Star. Soler will be good. I think Castro is solid. I’m certainly not sold on the #1 draft pick catcher that can hit, because he is a lousy catcher, and you probably can’t win a world series with a lousy defensive catcher. You can win one with a catcher that can’t hit, if you have great pitchers, but not one that can’t catch. Baez has impressive power. He strikes out 1/4 of the time. In the minors. He is Dave Kingman. Dave Kingman hit 48 home runs one summer while I watched from my basement in the cornfields of Illinois. It was exciting. The Cubs finished in last place that year. Baez is not a savior. He’s a strong young kid with an enormous swing with holes everywhere. Big league pitchers don’t make enough mistakes for him to be successful at this point in his career, and maybe not at any point.

        I know that you are a positive person by nature, and that Joe has asked many times to keep the comments positive, which is why I comment about 1/10th as much as I once did. Plus, I ran out of sandwich jokes in 2012. While I do see a few good young position players coming up, I don’t see what most of you see. I see at best a 3rd place team in the next 5 years, before it will need to be blown up again. There are some good players coming up. There SHOULD be a lot of great young players coming up. The Cubs have had fantastic slots in the last 6 drafts. A monkey could have drafted these guys, and a smart monkey would likely have drafted better. There aren’t near enough pitching prospects in the system for people to be as giddy as they are.

        So yes, I’ll stick with them through thin and thin. There hasn’t been much thick in the last 8 years. I’ll continue to root for them to win, and for the all knowing Thed to make a move or 6 to make me believe they can win a world series. I can see better days ahead, but the world series we all crave is still a complete pipe dream.

        I do hate most aspects….but not all. For example, I think Len Kasper is dreamy. I like Castro and Rizzo…who wouldn’t? Maybe I’m just a glass half empty guy. I just think that the franchise can and should do better. A whole lot better. We deserve better. Not just 2 or 3 up and comers.

        For now, you can all keep drinking your Kool-aid. I’ll keep drinking my 15 year Dalwhinnie.

      • Doug S.

        I sometimes refer to my love of the Cubs as a curse or that I’ve fallen for the wrong girl and am powerless to do anything about it.

      • I understand that, believe me I do. The positive nature probably forces me to dream up things to like even where there are none. But I’m reasonably excited about the future, or at least more than I have been which might not be saying much! I was just curious.

        For the record I don’t mind the negativity unless it turns into the “you’re an idiot” type and you don’t do that. So feel free to hate them all you want. You know there’s that fine line between love and hate. When you resort to indifference then we’ll know you’ve turned in your fan card!

      • Dusty Baylor

        Nah..you’re right….167 is about right.

      • Seymour Butts

        I imagine he will first be a grower, then become a show-er.
        And now we are back to the basics.

  • Doc Raker

    Nate Schierholtz was DFFC, designated for fantasy camp. Nate will now be free to roam the fantasy camp locker rooms and dine with Seymour. What will it be, Italian baked with provolone, turkey and swiss or tuna melt on squaw?

    • I wonder what type of Sun Chips Nate will go for. I’m thinking Garden Salsa.

      • Doc Raker

        Can’t wait to find out.

  • Doc Raker

    Nate Schierholtz was DFFC, designated for fantasy camp. Nate will now be free to roam the fantasy camp locker rooms and dine with Seymour. What will it be, Italian baked with provolone, turkey and swiss or tuna melt on squaw?

    • I wonder what type of Sun Chips Nate will go for. I’m thinking Garden Salsa.

      • Doc Raker

        Can’t wait to find out.

  • disgusted after 56 years

    LOL i had season tickets for 30 years and I let them go… row 3 lower box ..this owner sucks they willnever be good..your dreaming…. if you think they win with ricketts

  • disgusted after 56 years

    LOL i had season tickets for 30 years and I let them go… row 3 lower box ..this owner sucks they willnever be good..your dreaming…. if you think they win with ricketts

  • indifferent07

    The number also indicates that they have no reason to be successful. Here is a journal article suggesting that they have no incentive to win a World Series.

    http://www.choregia.org/images/issues/1023.pdf

  • indifferent07

    The number also indicates that they have no reason to be successful. Here is a journal article suggesting that they have no incentive to win a World Series.

    http://www.choregia.org/images/issues/1023.pdf