There is a scene in The Princess Bride (which is full of great quotes) where Inigo and Wesley (who, to Inigo, is simply “the man in black”) are having a sword fight and some very snappy banter. At one point, Inigo can’t stand it and, well, it goes like this
Inigo Montoya: Who are you?
Man in Black: No one of consequence.
Inigo Montoya: I must know…
Man in Black: Get used to disappointment.
Inigo Montoya: ‘kay.
I’m telling you the same message today, and I hope you take it as well. Get used to disappointment.
I KNOW this team has shown flashes of greatness this season. I KNOW we all have incredibly high hopes for this 2016 team – that they can finally win it all. I KNOW their record is outstanding. I KNOW we probably all WANT it more than any other fan base. But…
I also KNOW that this team has a number of weaknesses, and they are not the kind that you can overlook in the playoffs, rather, they are the kind that are exposed in the playoffs.
Weakness number one – inability to hold the lead. Even with Harold Chapman – who we possibly dramatically overpaid for – they haven’t held a lead in what seems like weeks. That adds such pressure to the starting staff, who doesn’t need added pressure. Now, if Chapman can ramp it up, and if Strop and Rondon return healthy and productive…sure, that bullpen might get it done. At the moment, however, I’m not feeling real good about it.
Weakness number two – not a great clutch hitting team. Too many guys you don’t have to throw a strike to – ever – to get out. Too many guys who refuse to consider the situation (I do like that Contreras is willing to lay down a bunt in a “need baserunners” situation) As a team, the offensive patience appears to wear off as the games goes on. In my head, I keep thinking that with maturity that will change…but will it? Your guess is as good as mine.
The playoffs are when it is most important to be able to grind out a run and hold the lead. Wait. What? Our two greatest weaknesses are two key success elements in the playoffs? Yup. Of course, the starting pitching is also critical and so is scoring runs early and often…but teams are so evenly matched in the postseason that it’s the little things that matter. The little things are the Cubs’ weakness right now. I’m just saying – Get used to disappointment. It’s not like you shouldn’t be. You don’t fail 108 years in a row without some degree of normalcy developing FROM the failure. This is not a knee-jerk post – I’ve been watching this team all year and the pattern is undeniable. I hope they can change it. I hope the bullpen can get hot at the right time of the postseason. I hope they can score so many runs that it doesn’t matter. But remember, everyone else will be throwing their Aces, too. I personally think the Cubs will win the World Series – just not this year. I think they will win several in the next 5 or 6 years…two and maybe even three…but 2016 isn’t going to be one of those unless some dramatic change takes place.
Hey – good luck to all of us…but if you are, in your heart of hearts, really BELIEVING that this team is going to win the WS this year? Get used to disappointment, my friends.