Thoughts from the Ass End of Night:
So I'm up early on a Sunday morning, as ordered by the powers that be at my place of occupation. The good news is that for once, there is nothing to fear, everything is going well. However, I'm up and must remain so in case the planned implementation goes awry, so I ain't in a real good mood. Even more so than usual.
I go to the Tribune Sports page to read about Jason Berken's miserable Cubs debut (shocker?) and the Braintrust's desire for Starlin Castro to go ahead and become Miguel Tejada instead of a "hit chaser" like Ryan Theriot (ok, I guess). Down there on the bottom right is the 'featured' entries for Chicago Now, so as is my habit I check down there to see if Goatriders is sitting loud and proud (I suppose if we wrote more often or more better) and instead, I find something that says "2012 Cubs, please go away".
It was written by a Mr. Tom Byelick, a father and salesman who figures this entitles him to regard himself as an amateur psychologist. I can't possibly imagine how in pete's name someone could jump to this conclusion about themselves.
Big deal. So there's at least two of us out there. Where we differ is in the fact that one of us is a real Cubs fan, and the other is just the typical bleacher bum wannabe who just wants to be entertained. And I learned something this morning.
I always thought the worst kind of "Cub fan" was the rose-colored shades wearing, blue kool-aid swilling lemming from Iowa or whereever who sits in the stands in the bottom of the ninth with the Cubs down nine runs and claps and chants "weeeee waaant a hit", thinking we still have a chance. You know, the kind who turns up every April first thinking "This IS The Year" year after year. Eternal, blind optimists. I've been fighting a mostly solo fight against these morons for over 10 years now out here, and just when I think this particular epidemic of stupidity has been contained to acceptable levels? Then I encounter folks like Tom, and something strange happens. Something strange, and exasperating.
I find myself missing the damn kool-aid swilling Pollyannas.
Tom has closed comments on his post, so if I wish to address his points, and I do, oh how I do, I must do it elsewhere. Like here. It appears that Tom is one of these guys who simply wishes to be entertained. He's probably one of those who couldn't understand why they had to trade away "our best players" like Dempster, Maholm, and Reed Johnson when we did. He probably wondered "who was gonna pitch" after the trades were made. It does not appear that the Cubs, like for many of us, is something actually encoded in his DNA, in his blood. Sure, he wants a World Series, like the rest of us, but not because his life would be incomplete without it.
No, he'd like it because it would be pretty neat to see one at Wrigley Field, in Chicago, it would be a good story, it would be entertaining. To him, apparently, the Cubs are simply programming on Channel 9, along with "Pretty Little Liars". He has no desire to deal with a rebuild. He sees nothing to be excited about, and apparently with Bears season starting, he's ready to switch the channel.
He's not really impressed with the team's efforts to market their prospects, charging $55 for a meet-and-greet lunch at the Wildfire. I am not going to elaborate about how much a Wildfire lunch costs without Chicago Cubs, or the charities it benefits. But I will express my displeasure about his opinion that the team shouldn't be trying to rebuild because it results in some temporarily bad baseball. Perhaps he was happy about the two three-and-out playoff appearences, the no-trade clauses and the self-satisfied malaise that resulted.
The 2010 team, a team I simply hated because of the miserable attitudes and the me-first approach to the game, was that better for you, Tom? Are you really so self-important and so uninvested to the cause that you cannot see the need to start from scratch and build for the long-term? Are you not entertained, Emperor Commodus? I suppose I can understand impatience, or even disgust and resignation if what you are seeing is really so awful that you cannot stand by and be supportive. Then, I suppose, if that is the case, can you make the case that you are a die-hard? Or is it really that easy for you to find something else to do? Bears season has arrived. This week they're gonna win the Super Bowl! This week Cutler threw four interceptions and the sky is falling! Have fun with that shitshow.
In his post, Tom lumped the Cubs in with Roger Freakin' Clemens as somebody or something that just needs to "go away". On one hand we have a fifty year old fame whore and PED freak who lacks the grace and decency to do what every other fifty year old ballplayer has done, in a crass attempt to circumvent the Hall of Fame voting rules. Tom is dead right, of course, in his insistence that Rocket Roger take his grungy beer can-o-syringes home. But to lump in the Cubs, who are doing all they can to finally shore up the foundation of the talent base of the franchise, with the swollen, sideshow fraud involved in a cynical ploy to outlast public opinion about steroids for Hall of Fame purposes? That's just shortsighted, and in my opinion, indicative of a fair-weather fan.
Tom, I invite you to reconsider. Right now, it's bad baseball. There's something pathetic about Dale Sveum's public push to avoid 100 losses. But understand in what is being called the "demolition year", this is the only motivational ploy he has left to play. Right now, I could care less how the long line of randoms are faring on the pitcher's mound. Consider this to be strictly an evaluation year. Look closely at how the guys who figure to be around in the future are doing. It really doesn't matter much if the team loses by five runs as long as Castro, Rizzo, and Jackson are having good at-bats. Watch if Castro is improving his decision making at shortstop. For pitchers, figure that Travis Wood, James Russell, and Jaye Chapman are the three guys on the staff right now with the best chance of contributing to Cubs 2015, which appears to be the earliest the Cubs can be counted on to compete for a pennant. I don't give a rat's ass if Justin Germano can't throw a strike. All these guys we've brought in this year are low-risk gambles. If one hits, bonus! Otherwise, next year they'll be managing a batting case-and-mini-golf complex.
It's too disheartening to root for this particular club to win. That's not why they are here, and why they were built. In a way, Theo built this team for the sole reason to provide Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo a team to play for. Nothing else. Look at it that way, and I think you'll come away happier. If you can't think that way, then you aren't a real Cub fan.