Can We Stop Talking About the Cubs Prospects Already?

Can We Stop Talking About the Cubs Prospects Already?

The short answer: no.  But you all know I won't be able to handle just the short answer though.

Well, can we at least talk more about the guys who are actually on the team? Sure, but there'll be plenty of time for that as the season marches mercilessly on.

Baseball is the only sport in which you can come up short 70% of the time and still make the Hall of Fame; it's a game of failure.  And when it comes to failure, the Chicago Cubs are indeed in the HoF.  As such, Cubs fans wear blinders that allow them to view their team in terms of the past and future, often neglecting the present.

Weaned on the colostrum of nostalgia and swaddled in the blankets of hope, many fans are locked in a dichotomy that has little basis in fact or reality.  That's all well and good when half of that equation is no more than a year away, but as the future grows hazy and distant, the natives start to get restless.

I started writing this while sitting in an orientation meeting for my kids' Little League, listening to an older gentleman drone on about the finer points of baseball instruction.  While I'm sure some of it was important, my primary concern is of herding cats through T-ball and rookie softball seasons, not on the way the Auburn Tigers practice their throwing motion.

His opening, however, did stick with me, though it's a pretty worn-out idiom.  The first goal of baseball, he said, should be...to win.  Okay, that's not what he said; the first goal should be to have fun.  And that's great and all, but when you're a billion dollar organization, fun takes a backseat to winning.

So at some point along the way, Cubs baseball stopped being fun, or at the very least, as fun.  And I know all too well what happens when baseball stops being fun; it's happened to me before.  As a kid, I loved playing sports.  Two partial right nephrectomies kept me from playing contact sports, but I was all about baseball and basketball, despite my lack of appreciable size and skill.

But I kept after it and developed into an almost-passable baseball player; I was a defensively-minded second baseman who couldn't hit a lick.  I mean, there are Punch and Judy hitters and there was me: just plain Judy.  I wore number 6,  2 x 3, and even had the Roman numeral VI shaved into my hair (it was a different time, so I could do this without being laughed off the field).  I wanted to be Ryne Sandberg, though I played more like Darwin Barney.

But I was still having fun and I played on some pretty good teams, so I kept at it.  At least, until I had a coach who sucked all the enjoyment out of the game like a Dyson, except without the high price or the British accent.  And it wasn't something as silly as not playing me enough or just being kind of an all-around douche.

I mean, those probably played into the decision, but it mostly the fact that the guy wasn't teaching us the game.  He'd put on the red light until hitters had 2 strikes, would make random switches, and generally flew by the seat of his pants in both practice and in games.  My decision to quit playing baseball was a difficult one, but I can't say I really regretted it.

The Cubs, on the other hand, I couldn't quit if I tried.  The fun of following the team has waxed and waned, and it's been in the latter of those phases for a bit now.  The product on display at Wrigley has been nothing short of awful for the last three years, so many of us have been forced to look elsewhere for the hope and enjoyment we so desire.

And that's exactly why we talk about the prospects, why we write about them.  There seems to be an insatiable appetite for stats, videos, and stories about these young men.  And when you watch them play, you can't help but understand why that is.  These kids are electric, as Tom Loxas wrote recently.  But above all: they're fun to watch.

Maybe it's Kris Bryant's easy power and easy-on-the-eyes looks.  Maybe it's the flashing, slashing arc of Javier Baez's lightning-quick lumber.  Or maybe it's the thought that Mike Olt is beyond his vision issues, thus making his acquisition look like the biggest fleece job since the Dutch bought the island of Manhattan from Ol' Dirty Bastard's grandfather for $1,000 of beads and trinkets.

Whatever the reason, you can't help but root for these kids; not just because you have to if you're a Cubs fan, but because they embody the future we all embrace so tightly.  And what's more, they represent the ability for us to live in the now, an existential problem we overcome far too infrequently.

And that's why we're going to keep talking about the Cubs prospects.  But if you're sick and tired of hearing about them, take heart; they won't be prospects for much longer.  And when that comes to pass, everyone is going to be talking about the Cubs.

Follow me on Twitter: @DEvanAltman

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    You must have played for Coach Russo at Gordon Tech in the 80's. LOL

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