For the Cub fans this year, watching their heroes in action has become a kind of Chinese torture, akin to bamboo shoots in the nailbeds. Of course, Cub diehards are accustomed to the agony of defeat---10 on a scale of 10.. The last time they won a World Series wasn't Methuselah a teenager?
This year was supposed to be different. Rays of sunshine were expected to dissipate the dark clouds of doom. So far the clouds are winning.
If you listen to the snake oil salesman, the shaman who came from the east to exorcise the demons, a sea change is inevitable. The cavalry is on its way. In the meantime, the gang who can't shoot straight is holding down the fort. It's a massacre in slo-mo. The Cubs are reaping the whirlwind of their ineptitude and might lose a record number of games.
Suck it in, fans. And ye of little faith, just you wait and see. In the interim, we'll gussie up the park with a lot of window dressing. So keep those turnstiles moving. Victories are on the horizon.
Such is the shell game Theo Epstein seems to be orchestrating. The cliches fall trippingly off his tongue. Rebuilding the farm system. Getting stronger from within. A new culture. Change from the bottom up. A core of talent. Patience. Patience. Patience. 2014? 2015?
But, for the time being, hold your noses while the malodorous losses escalate.
Epstein may be the closest thing in the baseball to the Bain persona of Mitt Romney. His role is to turn the organization around. He's done it once. He'll do it again. But whatever happens , he'll walk away a far richer, richer man.
I hate to disillusion the believers. But blind faith in any self-anointed savior is hardly a recipe for success. The future should not be the enemy of the present. When a shoddy product is peddled with the promise of a better one tomorrow, you've already been had.
No one expected a World Series this year. But if you can't put a competitive team on the field, you're a mountebank, and what better time than now for that old reliable reality check?