Unbeknownst to me, it turns out that the Cubs have been playing baseball the entire time the Hawks were on their Championship run. Weird. I assumed everyone was just watching hockey. Admittedly, I have seen much of the Cubs during the past few weeks and have simply had very little positive to say, so I focused on the Hawks. Now that the Cup is where it belongs, and Bears training camp is still a ways away, we can all turn our attention back to baseball.
This has been a somewhat painful process for me, though I'm sure Sox fans understand my hesitation to trade Hawk hockey for baseball too. As a Cub fan, I searched my brain for any truly logical reasons to stay excited about what is sure to be a lengthy second two thirds of the season. It was hard, but I think I have five legitimate reasons to still watch Cub baseball.
Just because I am a Cub fan does not mean I inherently have to be stupid. After the Dodgers swept the Cubs in the playoffs to end the '08 season, I knew that we would be stuck with a roster that simply was going to get worse. Hence I am not surprised by the Cubs current 28-35 record (and loss #36 appears to be around the corner at the hands of the dreaded 32-33 Oakland A's). However, much like a deadly drug addict, I find myself unable to cut myself off and go cold turkey on Cub baseball. So- again, much like a hopeless user- I have found ways to rationalize it!
5- Tyler Colvin
Okay, fine. So he doesn't really play that much, no matter how many times Lou 'threatens' that he'll have to "find him some playing time," but when he does play, he shines as one of the few glimmers of hope currently playing on the roster. Hopefully his playing time will increase as the days roll along and Cub fans can have a rising star to watch evolve.
4- Ridiculous Lou-Related Occurrences
Whether its snapping back at deserved criticism, moving starters in or out of the pen, or saying one thing, not doing it, getting angry, and then doing the opposite thing and playing it off like that's how he planned it all along, Lou will always be an interesting character. Sure, he may have stopped caring early on in the season last year, and he admittedly has not had any answers (besides simply yelling back or asking "Well- ...heh- waddaya want me ta do?") for quite some time, at least you know after watching the game that his level of frustration with the team rivals your own. Somehow that is soothing to me.
Much like Colvin, Castro is a fantastic reason to be excited to watch bad Cub baseball. The good news here is that Castro actually plays as much as he should. This is a fun and exciting young talent that, by all appearances, is going to be allowed to develop at the big league level before the crowd's eyes. Prediction: the next time we really have a Cub team to be excited about, Castro and Colvin will be a big part of why, while names like Ramirez and Lee will be long gone. If we're lucky, some other names will disappear too... otherwise Castro and Colvin may be the only names we know now that will matter at that time.
This is still the only way that I see the 2010 season being a productive one for the Cubs. If the team is bad enough before the trading deadline, GM Jim Henry will simply have to do something. While no-trade clauses are rampant throughout the contracts of many of the players one may like to see moved (Lee, Ramirez, Zambrano, Soriano, etc), one would think some change is to be expected if the club stays clearly out of the race which, admit it to yourselves fellow die-hards!, as of now they certainly are. This may be considered pessimistic, but to me its simply the fastest route back to a contending Cub team.
And that's it. Other than that its either older guys over-performing (Marlon Byrd, Carlos Silva) or drastically under-performing (Ramirez, Lee etc.), and more of the same mediocre baseball that we all grew tired of last season. If they hit, they can't seem to pitch, and of course when they get good pitching performances, the bats go back into hibernation.
So, cling to these reasons and others that you may find (and be sure to share those with me-- I'm not sure how long these five can hold me over). Until something drastic happens or changes, enjoy being able to watch baseball whenever you can, and hell, you can always daydream about fall Hawk hockey as well.