Many of you, maybe all of you, are wondering what exactly I'm asking here.
If you're behind the current Cubs rebuild but just frustrated with the inconsistent play on the field, my question doesn't really apply to you. I mean, I'm just as likely as the next guy to fire off a sarcastic tweet about the team or one of its under-performing players.
For instance, when someone asked a question about why none of the Cubs' awful players can get 4 hits like Gordon Beckham did, I responded that they stop playing intra-squad games after Spring Training. I may have also fired off something lamenting the non-trade of Nate Schierholtz as well.
When Nate's name surfaced in trade rumors late last season, I recall there being a fairly significant amount of rabble from the peanut gallery. People were wondering how the Cubs could possibly move the man who had been their best hitter, a player who could be a cornerstone for this young team. Of course, these were the same folks who complained that the Cubs were trading "all of their good players."
Never mind that those "good" players were either at the end of their contracts or had been signed with the explicit purpose of being flipped for prospects at the deadline, or both. Never mind that the current regime has long viewed two or three birds in the bush (leagues) as worth more than one in the hand.
It's entirely likely that I'm doing little more than addressing the lowest common denominator here, pandering to the vocal minority. But at this point, I'm really unsure of where the majority of Cubs fans fall on the subject of the rebuild and I'm beginning to fear that the "Now, Now, Now" group is larger than some believe.
And it's that group I wish to address with the question above, which I'll elaborate on a bit here: When it comes to your thoughts on the Cubs and the current direction of the team, would you rather be right or would you rather be happy?
I suppose both could happen in the end though; Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer could be gone at the end of the season, along with Ricky Renteria, Darwin Barney, Ryan Kalish, Nate Schierholtz, and any other player not named Antony Rizzo or Starlin Castro. Though, to be fair, most of you in this group were calling for Castro's immediate demotion/trade to make way for Javier Baez to start the season.
By the way, how's AAA treating Javy right now? You really think he'd fare better against major leaguers at this point?
Perhaps Tom Ricketts will release all the money Gordon Wittenmyer claims he's been stealing from you and hoarding in his vault up on the top of the hill like Scrooge McDuck. The Cubs can then spend away like the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Orange County, Southern California, America, who are seeing a a great return on the signings of CJ Wilson, Josh Hamilton, and Albert Pujols.
Perhaps you'd like to see your team act more like the LA Dodgers, Texas Rangers, or Toronto Blue Jays, none of whom currently sit higher than 3rd in their respective divisions. Of course, none of them are more than 2 games from 1st at press time, but I'm not going to let that get in the way of my little diatribical point.
The Cubs are a very bad baseball team; this is an incontrovertible fact. But I'm not really sure why anyone would have expected otherwise or why anyone would think that current performance dictates future results. However, expectations seem to have been different for all those who decry the Cubs' direction.
So I ask again: would you rather be happy or right? I get the feeling that the naysayers would prefer to be correct in their assumptions about "The Plan," that they're so dead-set in their criticism that to see team fail, thus proving them right, would bring more joy than to see this (admittedly painful) process work itself through.
Or, even worse, if Epstoyer's schemes pay off in a big way, there will be no joy for many of the residents of Mudville because the rabble-rabble crowd will simply say that it should have happened sooner.
Maybe I'm wrong and all the protesters will just lay down the picket signs and assimilate back into the rest of the crowd like so many 60's hippies into "normal" society. Or maybe they'll still keep a chip, albeit a much smaller one, on their respective shoulders, taking as comfort the fact that their righteous indignance spurred the team to action. For what it's worth, my money's on the latter.
A lot of this came out of someone saying on Twitter last night that they had heard from several Sox fans that they'd rather see the Cubs lose than the Sox win, which is just a sad indictment on those people's view of competition and what it means to be a fan.
This is a different set of circumstances, but I fear that it's not much different for those who hang on @GDubCub's every word, awaiting his next column with zealous anticipation. Say what you will about the crowd still drinking blue Kool-Aid, but I have to think it's going to work out better for them than the people moving to Gordotown and gulping down whatever noxious beverage he's been mixing up.
So at the risk of beating this dead horse a bit much, I'll ask again of those who think the Cubs are going about this the wrong way: would you rather be happy about the Cubs succeeding or happy about being right in your criticism of the team's current direction?
While I'm sure this comes off as a bit of a troll on a couple levels, that really is not my intent. Okay, well, maybe it's a little of my intent, but thank you for indulging me. But putting your bias aside, what will you do if the Cubs do indeed turn things around in, say, 2016?
Will you gladly line up for bleacher seats, elbowing fans out of your way for that prime front-row seat in left-center? Or will you maintain a sullen pessimism, like Randy Quaid in Major League II?
Or are you simply so confident in your belief that Tom Ricketts is a money-hungry miser who will never spend money that you feel the team will continue to sit in a quagmire of mediocrity until he is forced to either open the pocketbooks or sell the team to Mark Cuban or some such "good" owner?
Follow me on Twitter: @DEvanAltman
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