Kap's Corner

What Keeps The Cubs From Winning?

We all know it has been 101 years and counting since the Chicago Cubs last won the World Series in 1908 and it isn't looking like this season will end the longest drought in sports history either. On Saturday I interviewed Cincinnati Reds star Scott Rolen who has played many games in the Friendly Confines and asked him why he thinks the Cubs don't win. What he told me might surprise you but give the man credit. He spoke from the heart and was extremely passionate in his comments.

DK: There is a lot of talk about leadership in a locker room. What is your take on the importance of leadership?

SCOTT ROLEN:
 
That word is thrown around a lot. It was thrown around a lot when I was in Philadelphia. Leadership means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. The leadership aspect is a bunch of guys going out together and playing good baseball. When you're playing good baseball your winning baseball games then you have good leadership and you have good personnel. When you're going out and playing sloppy baseball and not winning ball games then we have bad leadership. I don't take it, I appreciate it. I take it as...a high regard and very complimentary. But we're trying to be professionals on and off the field trying to go out and play good baseball and stay on top of things and not let things get out of hand and have little brush fires along the way, just keep a nice clean clubhouse.

DK: We hear all the time about bringing in winning type players because they have won championships and they have "been there before". Do you agree?

SCOTT ROLEN:
 
Well, again I'm kind of a downplay guy, I think it's a little overblown. A winning player is a player that's on a team that won. That maybe didn't get a lot of at bats or get a lot of playing time. Whatever, there's something to it with individual guys, but it's individual personnel, case by case, there are special people in all sports that play the game that are infectious that have a way of putting people where they need to be. In the clubhouse keeping things loose, keeping things going in the right direction without a doubt. I do believe in that, but being a winning team and being a winning player, yeah I don't know.

DK: You have played a lot of games here at Wrigley Field during your career. Why do you think the Cubs haven't been able to win here?

SCOTT ROLEN:
 
I think I don't know is probably the politically correct answer. True answer? The facts or the truth? The facts? The facts as I see it, I think they have their hands full a little bit. I think they're limited in their facilities here, their batting cage, I think it limits their work. A little restricted obviously in the clubhouse and their weight room. A lot of facilities that other teams have. They play a different schedule than everybody in baseball. There's three things in my mind that are facts. I don't know if that's the truth because to me there's a difference between the facts and the truth. Well it's a night game now basically. You sleep in during the day, you play a lot of night games and you struggle with travel days and everyone struggles with day games. They're playing 50, 55, 60 whatever day games a year. It's a different schedule. So I know for us coming here playing four day games, we're beat. That's their season. That's what they're doing. It puts their backs against the wall a little bit. They have good players, they have good personnel, they know how to play baseball. They have a good organization, but you know honestly I think it's difficult for them. Like I said, when we're talking about facilities everyone talks about Wrigley Field. Great atmosphere we love coming here, the fans, batting practice, everything. Fantastic, the ivy the whole works. I'm in. There's a lot in the game today, there's a lot of beautiful facilities. That are geared towards working, towards perfecting you know your skill, towards video, you know a lot of things have changed in the game and I'm not sure what the other side looks like but you know batting cages and stuff, I think are a bit restricted. They have to work pretty hard, they've got their hands full. But great place to play, everyone loves playing here and good personel, good ball club, good players.


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14 Comments

TracyT said:

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I'm not sure if I agree with Rolen's comments. In fact, it kind of irritates me. I don't want to hear about facilities, day games, Chicago night life, etc..

The only thing that matters is getting good to great players who know how to play the game.

This is the reason why the Cubs haven't won. Period.

Anybody who talks about the facilities, day games, Chicago night life, etc., is not talking about the real issue, and that's the talent on the field.

The Cubs never scouted, signed or developed top talent that made them consistent winners.

End of story.

joeydafish said:

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TracyT, I must agree, the closet they came was SCOUTING and trading for Sandberg, a great player yet even he couldn't bring us a World Series ALONE. Thanks to Dallas Green for the Sandberg signing and the best shot at comprising a TEAM more capable than the Hendry teams. Until multiple players are scouted, signed, developed and brought to the big league team during the SAME WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY the Cubs will always come close at best. The lame attempts of Hendry (and other GM's) have grown old.

cubneil said:

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Scott Rolen can go fuck himself. And take Cardinal fans with him, too.

Edelweiss said:

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Here is a scoop you didn't get from Kap. Before Monday's game, Lou held another team meeting. He did it in Arizona, to escape the nosy local media. There were two things my source reported, and a bunch more deemed too mundane to comment upon. First of all, a pair of 5 inch zebra print high heels was found in the Wrigley clubhouse. They obviously don't belong to a wife or girlfriend, unless she is on the Chicago Sky, and they probably don't belong to Theriot. They look to be about a size 15 or 16, but have no size in the lining, as they are custom made. What disturbed Lou is that when they were found, several guys were strutting around in them, and he worried about a twisted ankle.
Secondly, Lou has banned all "forms of vulgarity" in the clubhouse, especially those activities involving "flaunting" of the private parts. He was upset that some of these activities are making the players tired and lethargic too close to game time. He was mainly upset because someone has been taping video clips on his cell phone, and is afraid they might end up on You Tube.

BlueOctober2010 said:

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You lost your heels in their clubhouse? Again?

Edelweiss said:

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I wear a size 5½. Little old ladies do not wear 5 inch heels.

BlueOctober2010 said:

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I actually agree that the Cubs are hampered by the facilities at Wrigley. They won 97 games in '08 you say? OK, then what did they do in the playoffs that year? Why couldn't they win 100 or more games that year? I'm sorry but when you're talking about taking batting practice against a piece of plywood in the clubhouse -- in 2010? You're kidding, right? I'm guessing that there are minor league teams that have better situations than that. When every major league team is relatively loaded with talent, you can't consistently give them ANY competitive advantages. The lack of adequate batting cages, weight rooms, training rooms, etc. at Wrigley is a competitive disadvantage for the Cubs. The number of day games the Cubs play every year is a competitive disadvantage. These things may be very subtle, but it doesn't take much when you're competing at such an intense level.

That being said, the level of failure we've seen from the Cubs this year cannot be entirely blamed on poor facilities or day games. This year's failures can be placed directly on the lack of hitting with RISP, particularly from the third and fourth places in the batting order. Mix in a shaky bullpen and nagging injuries to key players, and it makes no difference where you're playing.

joeydafish said:

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Blue, I can see your point but would still (just for kicks) see how the entire Yankee roster would fair playing a full season in Wrigley. I think they would still make the playoffs as it is their talent along with ownership/management that is the concerted effort needed to consistantly win if not appear in the World Series once a decade. Not arguing with you just wondering...

BlueOctober2010 said:

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That would be interesting to see. I don't think the pretty boys over there would survive a whole season in Wrigley. To be honest, the amount of money the Yanks are willing to spend would cure a lot of ails the Cubs face. In reality they have already shown us what they feel, as an organization, about playing in a dated facility. Steinbrenner bought the club in '72, they closed it down for a massive 2 year renovation in '73. That facility is now a parking lot and the Yanks are playing in another brand new state of the art facility. Seems like they see the importance of having nice digs.

IvyChatChuck said:

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What keeps the Cubs from winning? Bad management. They fired Dallas Green and still haven't found a guy to replace him.

joeydafish said:

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I love it, I'll take Green over Hendry any day. See my reply to TracyT.

davesime said:

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What keeps the cubs from winning is the following.
1. Facilities, night life, and day games are excuse for players failiour.
2. The fact is the cub ownership over the last 25 years are more concerned about keeping fans happy , and the ball park full.
3. The last time I checked Tampa, Florida did not worry about keeping fans in the ball park when they went you, and took the organization down to the ground with good young talent.
4. Only when the cubs decide to tear it down, and use the Tampa, Florida model of wining the team can look forward to great things.
5. The only thing cubs fans have to complain about is the fact you all are some of the most dumbest, and ignorant fans that I have ever come across.
6. Stop going to the park, and Cub management just might get it.
7. I feel if the cubs just tare it down, and start over the cub fans will come out in groves.
8. As far as the no trade Claus that so many players have, this problem is very easily solved, tell them they are sitting on the bench, and we are going in a different direction.
9. How long do you think it would take until they all decided to wave there no trade Claus?

joeydafish said:

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In other words...it's mostly Hendry's fault. I agree.
However we both may be surprised if the Cubs players that Hendry signed to no trade contract wouldn't actually mind sitting on the bench collecting a paycheck as opposed to actually playing for another team less tolerant of their fading and over-rated abilities.

Edelweiss said:

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One thing I have noticed is that Lou does not use his players to the best advantage. He has all kinds of different lineups, but seems to fare no better with any of them. He says one thing, and does another, or he finally does it a month after it was supposed to have happened. Then it is only for a game or two. I think he makes those announcements just to appease the media.

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