Anarchists Brunch - The Never Ending Season

From the winter of 2002-2003, until about somewhere in 2010, feels like one constant baseball season to me. There wasn’t an offseason and a regular season, it was all just one continuous din of noise. That winter, when I was a senior in college (yep, that old) is when the Cubs hired Dusty Baker. Back then, we didn’t know he was a complete idiot and basically a health hazard to the Cubs’ young pitchers or that he would manage the big moments with either both hands around his own neck or with a blindfold on or both. All we knew is that the Cubs were serious about winning, had a team that looked like it could compete, and enough youth in the rotation at least that they might be able to do so for more than one year.

And it never stopped from there. As soon as one season ended began the furor over what the Cubs would do over the winter to be better the next season and then anticipation for spring training when those moves were made. The Cubs were seemingly never out of focus. They really only had one season completely out of it in that stretch, which was 2006, and that was followed by Dusty being whacked, the team put up for sale, the hiring of Lou, and the free agent binge to end all free agent binges. Our anticipation and angst never stopped. The World Series that went on without us was merely an obstacle until free agency and the winter meetings began. Something to be gotten out of the way.

And we’re there again.

While I certainly enjoyed Daniel Murphy turning back into Daniel Murphy last night, perhaps more than I should (and the shots of sad Mets fans must’ve added a year or two to my life), and I want to see the Mets lose and quickly, the quickly part isn’t so much as to wipe out their hope but more so we can get to whatever the Cubs are going to do this winter. I want to get to reading every day and thinking that anything on there could happen TODAY. While there is still much glow from this season and I’m still basking in it at times, I can already feel it fading and pivoting toward 2016. There will be moments and memories from 2015 that we’ll carry forever, but those that surround those are already slipping into the background as context as we anticipate what’s next.

The funny thing is I kind of dread some of what’s to come. There seems an awful lot of smoke about trading Jorge Soler, and I don’t want Soler to go. I know that all three of Soler, Castro, and Baez won’t return together. One of them is almost certainly going to be moved. I’ll hate it when they do but will understand, dependent on what’s coming back of course. But we want to see what it is, and in a hurry while our buzz is still fresh.

While the NBA has gotten credit for turning their offseason into just another part of their season, making themselves a year round story, and the NFL has been this for a while now with free agency and how big of a deal they make out of the draft (the only league where the draft doesn’t come right on the heels of the ending of their season or during it. Hmmm…), baseball’s offseason was a major part of the experience for fans for much longer. The term “Hot Stove League” has been around for decades. A lot of times, this part of the season was more fun than the actual summer. After all, you big trade or free agent signing can’t flop in December or January. There’s just the excitement and vision of what will come, which is obviously a MVP or Cy Young season, duh.

I know I missed this, though it can be tiring. The Cubs will now be a constant rhythm in our lives, never able to be put down even for a week. We will pivot from one season to the next instantly, even if the Cubs finally win one. Opening day won’t be so much a beginning as much as just the start of another phase, and so will the playoffs.

It’s the deep end now. Luckily, I think I remembered how to tread water.

-A word on the Mets fans last night. While they can be just as brash and obnoxious as their Yankee brethren, they also have one of the bigger persecution complexes around. So even when the Mets were leading last night, I never got the feeling that Mets fans were buying in. And when it all went pear-shaped, though they put on all the heartbroken expressions, there was almost a “knowing” quality to it. Like they expected this and were almost more comfortable this way.

This is what I want Cubs fans to move on from, and it felt like we were starting to this year. Let’s hope that continues.


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  • Well said Sam. Btw you do a great job with your A-brunch. I enjoyed along with a frittata and mimosas on a dreary rainy Sunday Funday in the ATL. Go Royals. I will be happy for Dale. And for hot stove to heat up. Onwards. Our best is yet to come.

  • Nice piece Sam, I know exactly what you mean. This is the time when you stop reading box scores and start reading about FA possibilities and trade rumors, and yeah it's been a while. The last few years have been spent grading minor league performances, watching prospects and gauging the timeline. Now that the future is now this feels different. We'll guess and watch and argue through the process until sometime in January when we countdown until that magical day when pitchers and catchers report. Then we start all over again. It's great to have this aspect of my baseball fandom back.

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    In reply to TC154:

    Hit all the right notes with that article..... Agreed that there was a smile on my face when Murphy made that critical error in the 8th.... Will feel bad for him though because it is now being compared to Buckner in '86. Like most, i have spent alot of time learning and watching the minor leagues over the last 4 or 5 yrs. It will be a pleasure to see the MLB team start making moves to continue to improve and compete in the NL central

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    I'm with you: I really don't want Soler traded. If they get a really, really good young pitcher they control for a few years, I could live with it. But man, I just hope Castro or Baez will be traded instead. The season does feel like it never ends, which is fun! Although, I suspect next regular season won't be as magical as 2015. Instead, success or failure will be judged on whether they win a World Series.

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    It seems like a game of musical chairs with the Cubs. One too many players that play the same position. I don't want Baez or Soler traded; Castro maybe but this team, with all the moving parts still won 97 games. Arrieta had a superior season and KB did very well, but no one else really had a breakout season. We can hope that the rookies
    will get better and with a better 3, 4, or 5 pitcher we can do the same thing again.

  • One could get the idea that the there is something already in the works with Soler, because of the Hayward/Gordon rumors as well. Neither is a centerfielder on regular basis and Jorge is our most valuable trade chip. It's similar to the Welington Castillo rumors last off season in that it's not the Cubs don't like him, but that one has to crack a few eggs to make an omelette thing. Plus we here those rumors from John, Ernst and the national media too. No one is anxious to see Soler go.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I still think that Baez is the most likely to be traded. He wasn't signed by this FO. There is a lot of value in the Soler contract- it's going to take a very good deal for them to move him

  • In reply to Cuyler:

    Maybe, but Baez, though not finished project, showed us a lot of what he is capable of doing, not even counting his power. Basically, everything but pitch and catch, at least that I know of. Actually, I was thinking that it would hard to know what his value is, but his floor is probably Jose Hernandez right now. Javy's ceiling is anybodys guess, but it's not going to be a bust.

  • Good stuff as usual Sam - and just remember,.... while Winter is the 'slow' part of the season for MLB - it's where all the chess-pieces get moved around, and where the big-picture strategies get put in place,....

    I would love to see all Soler, Castro, Baez, Bryant, Rizzo, Russell, Schwarber and Cogs moving around the defensive positions and getting a solid number of at bats,..... but eventually - some big-picture move will send one or more of these guys off as a trade piece,..... and as long as it helps out the long-term success,.... I'll still be in management's corner even IF they move one of my favorite pieces in order to make the team better in the long -term.

    March is - after all - only a few months away,.... :D

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    A post!

    I have to say, in recent years we have been spoiled by how much information and analysis we have received from the top blogs (the three I read most are this one, Bleacher Nation and Bleed Cubbie Blue).

    These three blogs are very different. This one is hands down the best for original material and analysis, both at the minor and major league levels. Bleacher Nation has the most posts, though many are just reporting what has already been reported elsewhere. Bleed Cubbie Blue has the most manpower, but in my opinion lost a lot of its identity when it became affiliated with SB Nation.

    All that said, it's a tad ironic that it seems all three blogs have lost a little steam in terms of content at the very time you would think they would be ramping up with the Cubs becoming relevant again.

    Or maybe it's just because the better the Cubs get, the more we as fans want and expect from the blogosphere. We want to read anything we can get our hands on.

    Obviously, the site managers have a right to have lives, but the content on the weekends especially seems really thin. Sadly, that's when I have the most time to read and comment.

    Has anybody else noticed a dropoff?

    Again, I'm grateful that these blogs exist. I spend more time reading them than the mainstream media. I just wish there was a bigger pool of money to hire writers to produce more content, especially on the weekends.

    I also realize it is a slow time of year. Looking forward to the Hot Stove!

  • In reply to VinceandLou:

    I wouldn't expect much content while the World Series is still going on. MLB intentionally curtails trading and other moves until the season is over, although this year that has been quite a few managerial moves already. Still, there simply isn't as much material to write about as there is during the season, when there's a MLB game and several MiLB games nearly every day, plus moves between levels, prospect reports and other items. This time of year, it's pretty much speculation.

  • In reply to VinceandLou:

    Thank you for the kind words. I think we all usually lose steam this time of year. It is a combo of a long season and needing a break as well as there isn't much Cubs related stuff going on during the World Series.

    It will ramp up once free agency starts, the winter meetings, the Rule 5, and prospect lists start emerging once we recharge and baseball opens up again for non Royals/Mets fans.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    imagine complaining about the level of content, on a free blog? I now remember why I gave mine up.

    What's more, I remember when all you needed for a decent Cubs blog was a) the ability to read and disseminate all the 'legitimate media' released, and b) your opinion, as long as it was kind of funny.

    Which is kind of how BCB still operates, which is why the smart people don't follow it anymore.

    BN posts most often and is the most business-related, and here is where the most thoughtful content comes from. I for one understand that your move to Mesa has allowed you to further embrace your Prospect Love, which up until this spring was pretty much the bulk of Cubs news.

    This has led to other avenues for you. I for one am very happy for you and understand if the frequency drops somewhat here in the Den. Smiley-face Emoji, as the kids say.

  • Great article Sam. I loved seeing the E-4 on Murphy but I;m wondering why Cespedes is not catching more flak. A couple of outfield adventures and a base running blunder sure hasn't helped the Mets cause.

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