It is a word that has been thrown around here loosely ever since Theo Epstein arrived in town and armed Cubs bloggers and tweeters with new catchphrases to use. A word that is now used as an accusation of sorts, one with a negative connotation. A dirty word, if you will. It is often used to accuse someone of peddling a storyline that doesn’t exist, or to simply overplay the negative angle.
I just wish that was all the current Cubs story was. I wish this was only a bad narrative being created or embellished.
Unfortunately, the Cubs easily supply the bad storyline themselves these days. You think the media is just lining up to take their next rip job at this outfit? The Cubs serve it up on a silver platter most times.
After another long week off the field for the Chicago Cubs, the team President of Business Ops Crane Kenney initially made the mea culpa rounds on the media trail. Except, Kenney doesn't do the public groveling thing too long, or too well.
He made one last stop at WSCR 670 AM Saturday morning and dropped the mic on Bruce Levine. He defiantly announced that he had recently re-upped for a five year extension. Of course he did. Curious timing on Kenney's part for sure, yet not a shock for most that know this group.
Seriously, you couldn't make this shit up if you wanted to.
The best part: Kenney now has a deal that outlasts the Hardy Boys, and they learned about it from…wait for it… the media? Natch.
According to one source, Epstein’s baseball department learned of the contract extension from the media over the winter, offering another example of the disconnect between business and baseball that has grown with every delay to a business plan that hasn’t kept up with the baseball side the last two years.
Is that not fun bad?
The real maddening thing is when you try and convey that this front office would like to enhance their wonderful, wonderful idea of building a winner through a system that can provide “sustained success,” you get blow back that they didn’t exactly need the resources quite yet.
Some will ask you where the Cubs could have spent. Really? How about those numerous young IFAs or Anibal Sanchez? Many other teams missed out on those players, you say? You know what may have helped? Resources.
The Cubs front office has told you themselves that their plan simply can’t be carried out through player development alone. Jed Hoyer mentioned the other day he would like some veteran players, specifically mentioning a Scott Rolen type (pointing out what the Reds were able to do) to help insulate his touted prospects once they get to the majors. I think I have written that post and tweeted that very thought out to ad nauseam.
But wait, now even the players are pushing the negative "narrative?”
Anthony Rizzo is probably the face of this thing here, and he isn’t happy with this recent development.
“They told us, again, that we were going to get approved and it didn’t get approved,” Rizzo said Friday at Miller Park. “So I know a lot of guys are not happy about that. It’s kind of a shame, because we get excited about it.
“I’ve only been here a few years and guys before me have heard it before – changes were going to happen,” Rizzo said. “I don’t know what’s going on. Obviously, it’s not my job to do it. Obviously, we all want it. But when guys are promised that things are going to happen and they don’t happen, they’re not happy about it.
“Now it’s just kind of: ‘OK, when it gets done, it gets done.’ We’re not going to have our hopes up for anything.”
As Randall Delgado would say: They don’t did the rehab.
“It’s been about everything but baseball around here for a while,” another player told Gordon Wittenmyer.
Those quotes sound pretty real to me. Trust me, everyone wants to focus on a successful baseball product. All the media would like to cover other angles here. However, they can not simply choose to sell sunshine. They have a responsibility to cover what they hear and know.
Everyone would like to write positive stories when it comes to the Cubs. However, unless we just follow Kris Bryant around the clock like a reality show, the reality is this is what we are stuck with for now.
The Cubs used to be my escape. Now at times, I just need to escape them.
Please Cubs, help us change the narrative.
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