The most recent mountain to be made out of a mole hill of news happened this week when the Chicago Cubs announced that they were going to modernize the music at Wrigley field. And also that they want to get more "Cub Fan" celebrities to sing the 7th inning stretch and less people who are simply there to promote themselves. People went nuts. Now was the time to complain about the 7th inning stretch. Now was the time to talk about Wrigley Field being in the dark ages. Now was the time to ring the more than tired phrases like " this is SO Cub" and "Maybe the Cubs should concentrate on other aspects of their organization... Like winning."
Here's the thing.
You really didn't hear any of this outrage from actual Cub fans.
Pitchers and catchers reported last week. Positional players arrived soon after. And the Haters arrived right after them. And like 85 % of the players, say it with me now, THEY ARRIVED IN THE BEST SHAPE OF THEIR LIFE.
Cubbie hate is everywhere. On sports talk radio. On Twitter and other sports talk radio. And from a press corps that all too often follows a predictable cliche narrative rather than, oh I don't know, doing their job.
Jorge Soler hit a home run in the first Cubs intra-squad game of the year. And Cub fans got excited. Most Cub fans probably hadn't seen Jorge Soler play, so when video appeared of him taking Nick Struck about 430 feet to left, Cub fans were naturally giddy. They had heared of the Cubs pursuit of this guy for months, he was signed to a long, lucrative deal and proof that this was a wise investment was treated with rightful optimism.
But no sooner than the breath was gone from our collective "ahhs" that sarcasm started to hit. "How long before they're calling Soler the savior? har har har.", "Get your Soler Power t-shirts now..." "People, do I need to remind you that he was hitting against Cub pitching."
And on it went.
Brent Lillibridge is already being groomed as "a Campana replacement" because he's small, white, and tries hard. It's incredibly unfair. Never mind that he was praised for those things on the other side of town. But now it's because he's cute and cuddly.
And then there's this thing with the music. That's a lot of Cub heckling for the first week of Spring training.
( lemme offer in-game programming director Jim Boikowitch some free advice: Believe in the power of the non-press release. The Blackhawks this year got rid of their talentless, annoying house rock band. Didn't announce it. Just did it. Perhaps it was a lockout thing. Who cares. It was welcomed with open arms. Imagine if May 1 rolled around and the word around Cub circles was: Anyone notice the music's gotten better?...Somehting to think about going forward.)
I was following two fellow Cub fans have a discussion on Twitter. They're both much more accomplished than I am. They're much more analytical. In short, they're much smarter than I am. They were trying to come up with a reasonable-yet possible slash line for Starlin Castro. They came up with a line of .325/370/500 with 206 hits, 20 HR's, 35 2b and 8 3b's. He admitted that might be a tad bullish but ended with "Man, that would be fun to watch." And I just smiled at the thought that was possible. Might have been my favorite thought all week. I really though of re-tweeting or trying to join the conversation. I didn't, because I knew it create some tweets about me drinking the kool-aid.
I've given up on the Score ever providing fair, enjoyable Cub coverage. There's supposedly another sports radio station but being owned by the booyah's, their narrative was formed about 8 years ago, except somehow they'll manage to blame some of it on Jay Cutler. The only saving grace ( other than our great blog) should be the community of other Cub fans. But Twitter is awash with even more sarcastic unfunny garbage than the regular media. ( Someone is going to have to explain the success of Cubs Facebook to me because it's not humor...)
This will probably always be a sore spot with me. I love being a Cub fan. And part of what I love about being a Cub fan is being optimistic, and being happy. And way too often, WAY too often we let non-Cub fans and even fellow Cub fans interpret that optimism as delusional. And I get way too much grief for nothing more than rooting for my team and having a good time. Isn't that why we're all Cub fans? Why do we let so many people chide us for that?
THIS AND THATS
I'm setting the over and under on number of Cubs to start at 3rd base this year at 5. And I'm taking the over.
My dream of having Brett Jackson hit .465 for the spring and making Jed and Theo make decisions they didn't want to make is off to a pretty good start.
It is the first game of spring, and we should note that certain things won't be kept up all year.
Brett Jackson had 2 triples. He can't keep that pace up all year.
Cub pitchers only allowed 1 walk. They're not going to keep that up all year.
The White Sox drew 7000 people to their first spring training game. They're not going to keep that up all year...
I'm gonna battle Arguello over who's more bullish about Trey McNutt making the Cubs bullpen.
Speaking of battles, Paul Sullivan will probably retain his title as least funny, least relevant Cubs beat writer on Twitter. But ESPN's Jesse Rogers is having a really strong spring.
Magical Mystery Tour is today's Beatles album.
I can't tell you how much I enjoy the Joe Sheehan newsletter. If you like baseball, and really smart, analytical writing, it's the easiest $20 you'll ever spend. ( he has $4 trial runs for a month.) Every time one pops up in my Inbox, I immediately figure out when I'm gonna carve out the time to read it.
One more triple Brett. you know, since you're making it look so easy...
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