Don't expect the letdown

The baseball offseason, much like the season itself, usually seems to evolve slowly and in stages. But unlike the season, which always feels like it is over and gone far too quickly, the offseason can be painfully slow. Much like a lot of you, I spend most of the winter wistfully staring off into the distance waiting for the first hints of spring. Sure, I am happy to watch the Bulls and my favorite college basketball team, and the NFL will do in a pinch. I even try each October and November to get into hockey, but it just doesn’t take hold. No other sport comes close to baseball. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to articulate just why I love it so much more than any other sport, but I have at least reached the point where I know that this is the case, and I’m good with it. So, I wait for the true arrival of spring, which is in February when pitchers and catchers report, as any real baseball fan understands. And like Jayson Stark said, something about seeing the calendar roll over into January makes the arrival of spring training and the baseball season suddenly feel so much closer.

As we wait, we have an offseason developing before us that is unlike most offseasons that we have experienced as Cubs fans. While we have held fast to the mantra of waiting for the next year and the new hope that it will bring, we have seen in the past that the letdown following a very successful season can often be very, very hard to bear. Just before Christmas, a certain Cubs writer for a certain major paper in Chicago wrote something kind of silly, comparing the 2016 Cubs to the Cubs of 1985 and 2004, particularly. You can read the whole thing here, but while some parts of the comparison hold true, the premise is kind of ridiculous.

Lesson 1 can focus on 1985, when the Cubs were among the preseason favorites after winning the NL East in ’84, making the postseason for the first time in 39 years before blowing the NL Championship Series to the Padres.

Like the 2016 Cubs, the ’85 edition returned most of the same position players and pitchers, including reigning MVP Ryne Sandberg and Cy Young Award” href=”http://www.chicagotribune.com/topic/sports/baseball/cy-young-award-EVSPR000088-topic.html”>Cy Young Award winner Rick Sutcliffe.

Really, other than the uniforms they wear and the stadium they play in, these two teams possess so little in common that it’s almost worthless to even draw this comparison. Heck, why not compare the 1876 team to those losers in 1877? Talk about a letdown. The article goes on to mention the 2004 team and the hype going into the 2008 season, but the point is clear. After such a distinctly successful 2015 season, it seems almost as if we have to brace ourselves for massive disappointment in 2016, right? No, not at all. To me, that notion doesn’t work simply because historical comparisons ultimately end up working like apples and oranges. They are really not the same, so no, the Cubs of 1985 and 2004 don’t have much, if anything to teach us.

A couple of weeks ago, Myles did an awesome job of dissecting the different types of expectations that Cubs fans tend to have, and along with that, I think we see a bit of trepidation rising among some parts of our fanbase. A wringing of hands, nervously expecting the collapse, or just foolishly assuming that simply because they’re the Cubs, it will never work, sort of like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football. Sure, we have seen them go wrong enough times that it either thickens our skin or forces us to give up on the idea of following this team altogether, but while historical precedent works in many types of situations, it’s not very reliable in this one.

The difference here is that, instead of continuing to try the same thing like Charlie Brown, the Cubs as an organization shifted in direction several years ago. Smarter minds than mine could (and have) better elaborate on the business mechanics of it all, but after Tom Ricketts bought the team 6 years ago this month, he made clear from the start that things were not going to proceed as usual. Remember those “Year One” billboards that popped up that spring? A lot of people scoffed then, but we are seeing the fruits of that work now. It took some patience and some sitting through really, really putrid teams in the last few years (faithfully following that whole 2012 season has to be worth a merit badge somewhere), we saw the first NLCS appearance in 12 years. True, it went poorly, to put it lightly, but I can’t remember a team that was as much fun to watch as this past one was. They had a magic that had always seemed to work in the reverse in previous years. Even as I sat far back in the seats down the right field line during game 4 of that NCLS, I still thought there was a chance. Heck, as they sort of rallied in the 9th inning, I still sat there thinking that maybe this was the start of something. Down 3 games to none, and after a brutal first inning in which Daniel Murphy was like Babe Ruth and Jason Hammel was like me trying to pitch out there, I still thought something could happen.

My mom, an avid Detroit Lions fan, has always watched them with the sort of resigned expectation that every game was just a matter of how they would find a way to blow it. “Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory,” is what she and other relatives of mine call it. She’s a faithful and patient fan, but I don’t think she has any hopes for a Super Bowl appearance, and she’s fine with it. I have just never been able to approach the Cubs that way. Even in the years when they were not very good, I held out the hope that they would find the spark and make that fateful run that would make history. It took a while into the 2004 and 2009 seasons before I admitted that this wasn’t the year. Coming off of the successes of the seasons preceding those years, I had high hopes.

I have high hopes now, too, but in a different way. Like a lot of you, I’ve seen the way this team has been built differently since the ownership change, and especially since Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer came on board in the fall of 2011. They have clear understanding and direct experience with what it takes to propel a team past a “curse,” and I firmly believe that they have assembled a team for 2016 that is rather well suited to make history.

So, when someone mentions 1908, 100 years, any past teams that have come up short, a goat, Bartman, a black cat, or whatever other ridiculous thing of that vein, thank them for making clear that they are to be ignored (thank you @ManuclearBomb)in any sort of baseball conversation (and for outing themselves as most likely a White Sox or Cardinals fan), and just smile. Our time is coming, and soon.

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  • Nicely done, Jared. Like many Cubs fans, I've been guilty of mistaking hype for hope in the past. This year, my "hope" is based on knowledge and confidence in Cubs leadership and ownership. For the first time in my lifetime, the people in charge, from the owners through the FO to team management and coaching, are aligned towards the same purpose: a World Series in Chicago. That changes everything.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Perfectly said, Cliff1969, my thought exactly. I'll add that it is pointless compairing one team to another. Ego's do exist. I think we would have repeated in 1877 had it not been for that cocky SOB Al Spalding. Sure, we stole him from Boston in the prime of his career for a $3500 contract, and he justified his $500 bonus by leading us the title in1876, but that wasn't good enough for old Al. After averaging a modest 553 IP and punching out 0.8/9 the previous four seasons, he got all strikeout-happy going into 1877, posting a ridiculous 1.6/9 K-rate for a whole 11 innings until his arm fell off, ruing our chance at a repeat. I trust Joe will keep the young bucks in check.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Perfectly said, Cliff1969. My thoughts exactly. I'll add it is pointless comparing one team to another. Egos come into play. I still think we could have repeated in 1877 had it not been for that cocky SOB Al Spalding. Sure, we stole him from Boston for $3500, and he justified his $500 signing bonus by pitching us to the title in 1876, but was that good enough for old Al? No!! After averaging a respectable 553 IP and 0.8 K/9 IP the previous four seasons, he had to get all stikeout happy starting off 1877, punching out batters at the ridiculous rate of 1.6/9 IP until his arm fell off, ending our dreams of a repeat. I have confidence Joe will keep the kids in check this year.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    my friend's step-aunt makes $70 an hour on the computer . She has been without a job for 5 months but last month her pay was $18819 just working on the computer for a few hours. look at here
    ➨➨➨➨➨➨➨➨➨➨➨ w­­w­­w­.b­u­z­z­n­e­w­s­9­9­.­c­o­­m

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    In reply to zirumiyem:

    Please pass on my congratulations. I think I speak for all of us when I say, "Your friend's...what was it, stepaunt?...worked her tail off and deserves everything she is getting from this new job," (go ahead and read anything into this you would like). I think we all admire her and pray to follow in her footsteps.

    That said, PLEASE stop posting this. It makes you sound needy and insecure.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    That

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    Anything short of a World Series appearance will be a letdown.

  • In reply to Ray:

    Take time to pay attention and enjoy the ride.

  • In reply to Ray:

    It would be disappointing, but a letdown? That would imply that players, coaches and FO staff didn't do their jobs and I see no way that's even a possibility.

    Like any good business Theo and company addressed their previous year's shortcomings an made a plan to improve. They identified four basic areas that needed improvement; MOR rotation help, pitching depth, contact hitting and defense. The first three were addressed aggressively and with a clear plan. The third proved a bit more elusive but in Zobrist they got less range at 2nd but more "boring" in terms of routine plays which Joe Maddon prefers. In Heyward they got improvement in CF but not as much as if he were in RF with another piece in CF. Circumstances, not effort prevented that as they were not giving away Jorge Soler. Still a 97 win team has improved in 3 of 4 areas and has at least made incremental improvement in the 4th.

    Joe Maddon and the coaching staff are stellar. No need for improvement there but you get the sense Maddon is always improving by learning. If there are to be failures it won't be through lack a of effort. The last half of 2015 was impressive in no small part due to his imaginative lineups. He's got new toys to okay with and grow with now.

    If there's one thing I can say about these players, particularly the 7(!) 26 years of age and younger, is test they're not letting up much less heading for a letdown. These are driven and determined young men to a fault. Like all of us they will fail at times and their reaction to that failing will make them better. I'm not worried about these guys.

    One thing about this team as a whole is that it was built for multiple tries at the playoffs which is the numbers game you need to play to win a WS. The playoffs are a crapshoot but you need to get there for a chance. I will believe til my dying day that the Cubs could have won the WS in 2015 had two game 5s in DS play gone the other way. If LA had beaten NY and Houston had beaten KC the matchup pendulum could have swung the Cubs way. It didn't and moves were made to compensate for matchup weaknesses. Still there are no guarantees but I feel good about the chances. The word "letdown" to me is an inference that the team will have "let us down" in no way do I think this team will do that. If they don't get to or win a WS I will be disappointed but almost certainly not feel let down.

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    In reply to Ray:

    I disagree. It is distinctly possible that another team will catch lightning in a bottle this year. It can always happen. The Cubs nearly did so in 2015 as a matter of fact. What the FO can do is put the team in the best position it can. There are still holes on the team, but they are far smaller than they were. We will need fewer things to "go right" for us this year. That is really all I can ask of the FO.

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    In reply to Ray:

    Consider: This Iowa grad enjoyed the ride of his Hawkeyes' football season. But watching the pants down ass spanking delivered by my backyard Stanford Cardinal was painful. A Cubs repeat, a great season and getting rolled by the Giants in the playoffs, would be a letdown. No question. World Series or bust. It's all about October for the next few years.

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    Thank you, been paying attention since '69.

  • In reply to Ray:

    Congratulations, lots of us have been paying attention for 30, 40, or 50+ years. If your idea of anything less than a World Series appearance is a letdown, then you have been let down many times. My point is that this is the most exciting time in my 35 years of Cubs worship, for all the reasons Jared laid out so well. Last year, to me, was not a letdown. I want to see a Championship as much as anyone, but I also realize it's a slim chance any given year, or as some call it, "baseball". I am hoping for the holy grail, but I just can't look back on successful seasons building toward that goal and call them letdowns.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I just made a lengthy post that the filter ate about this which I'm sure will pop upas the powers that be awake. In the meantime I'll just say this; a "letdown" infers the team "letting us down" and with this group of men making up the team and organization I see absolutely no way test happens. There are no guarantees and if they don't make the g dance I will be disappointed but let down? No way, not these folks.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Well said BarleyPop. I live in Eastern Ohio, 60 miles outside of Pittsburgh, and i've watched Pirate fans go from enjoying the magic, fun and thrill of meaningful, competitive playoff baseball to adopting a miserable mindset of shredding everyone, anyone and anything concerning Pirate baseball within 3 years. It's actually pretty fascinating watching a fan base that suffered thru 21 wretched seasons of really bad baseball suddenly transform into entitled, holier than thou pains in the asses.

  • In reply to spider lockhart:

    21 wretched seasons... must be brutal.

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    Well said, Barleypop.

    In fact, I have had several people come up to me this off-season and say, "Man, what happened to your Cubs?" and they seem surprised by the response I give: "Yea, WOW that was an incredible season! I can't believe we made it to the NLCS." Then, under my breath I remark, "It is only the beginning. These guys are going to get better before they get worse." And now we have a better roster with the off-season acquisitions.

    They expect that I will be downhearted, but we had one of the best teams in baseball. As fans that I think that is all we can really ask. Last year I scoffed at anyone thinking we could win more than 87-88 games. This year I truly expect we will win 90 games, maybe 95+. I have my doubts of a 100+ win season but I wouldn't be shocked.

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    In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Those people were trolling for a negative response and weren't really paying attention. Most realistic Cub fans should have been happy with 2015. No body expected the Cubs to do as well as they did. I hope for the best in 2016 but still with a realistic eye. Not comparing this team to any other Cub team but I've seen things happen in my 65 years that make me realize that anything can happen just as it did in 1985 when the entire starting staff wound up on the disabled list.

    I expect this team to be in the post season and when that happens anything is possible. My father turns 88 in May and I'd sure like to see the Cubs win for him. (and me too).

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    In reply to Theodore Anderson:

    No, actually they were my friends and relatives. These were personal conversations, not comments on a message board. They thought they were extending sympathy and were startled by my response.

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    I read the something on a St. Louis Cardinal blog today. Essentially, the team won 100 games, so the hated Cubs kick their butt in the playoffs. Mark is down as a successful season. Yeah.....right.

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    In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    I will stick my neck out and say that I would call ANY 100+ win season a successful season. I would call most 90+ win seasons successful.

    For what it is worth I would feel that a season was more successful with 99 wins and lose the WS than to win 85 games and run the table and win the whole thing. I truly don't think the WS always crowns the best team.

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    In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Fair enough. But I'm with Ray. Last season was special, but it is about winning a World Series now. And I bet if you asked Zobrist, Lester, Theo and the rest, they'd tell you the sme thing.

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    In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    They may very well say that it is about the WS. I pay more attention to the regular season. Personal preference.

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    In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Yep, that's what it comes down to in the end: personal preference. My preference/hope is that Maddon starts day one of Spring Training telling the troops they likely have the best team in the league, a target on their back, everyone will be gunning for them, and anything less than a World Series title will be a disappointment. Embrace it. Own it. But hey: any game the Cubs win makes me happy!

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    In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    I can easily imagine Maddon doing that. He said last ST that he expects to go to the play offs (I believe).

    I think he goes in and says, "Look boys, we have an even more talented team than last year. Just play like I know you can and we will win plenty of games. Remember, 'don't let the pressure exceed the pleasure.'"

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    Any time we piss off TBFIB is a success in my book. I think we may have a new meaning to the phrase "wait till next year"!

  • In reply to Ray:

    YES,,,,1958 here!!!

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    Born in '58, or indoctrinated into the Cubs then? I was born in '71, remember Cubs games on WGN while my mom changed my diaper, but didn't catch the full fever till '76 or '77.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Born '49, started following '58.....w-a-i--t--i-n-g

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    In reply to Hubbs16:

    Congrats! Go Cubs!

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    To me this seems the best combination of talent and manager and FO that I've seen since at least 1984 (I was born in 1950). We know that anything can happen, but with what we have now we don't need everyone to have career years--if everyone lives up to what they've done in the past we should have at least 90 wins, and I think that Joe is worth at least a few wins (maybe more last year) a season. I really don't think Arietta will have the same 2nd half as he did, actually no one in baseball history did, but Lester could have more support and Lackey should be better than Hammel and our 5th starter should have more wins than last year.

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    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I have been on record as downplaying the affect of a manager. Joe may be the exception. But he realizes, and has specifically pointed out, that managing is more than "x's and o's." He has said it is 70% about people. He knows how to get into people's heads and get the very best out of them.

  • Been "let down" since 1969. Collected every Topps Cubs player card since 1952. Finally I am able to enjoy the ride for the next few years.

    The team and front office is built for the long term. Since I have been on this earth, the Cubs have never had this type of commitment to winning baseball.

    To say that it will be a let down to not be in the World Series is very short sighted. The Braves of the 90's and SF Giants recently, and the Yankees of always is what we should be striving towards.

    Jared, for a future article, could John or someone else on the staff do a WAR comparison of rookies in the past that had outstanding first years and then see how they followed that up the following year? We all have such high expectations for 2016 that maybe we expect too much improvement from the younger players. Remember that Theo even said that improvement is not linear and maybe we should expect a small step back for a few of the guys?

    With the balance of veterans and raw talent on this team, I cannot see any way, short of numerous injuries, that we are not contending this year. It would be interesting to see what history has told us.

  • In reply to Peanuts:

    I love the idea of a WAR comparison of past rookies to these young players. That would be interesting.

    If John doesn't want to do that, I may see what I can do with something along those lines.

  • In reply to Peanuts:

    Not winning the World Series is not short sighted. That should be the goal and failing to win fans should be disappointed. You don't go through this massive rebuild to be competitive. It doesn't matter how the team was put together the goal is to win a World Series. A lot can happen during a year between injuries, players underperforming, performance in close games, managers in game decisions, etc. This team has a 2 year window to win and then they will most likely lose a number of key players like Arrieta, Lackey, Hammel, Montero and others like Lester and Zobrist getting further past their prime. Last year was a great opportunity lost with Arrieta having a historically great season. You only have a finite chances tobwin with this current group.

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    In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    You are correct in asserting that 2018 we will likely have a VERY different roster. But we have enough minor league depth to stay strong. We do lack TOR talent in our upper minor leagues. In fact, one could argue we lack TOR talent throughout the organization. But we might be able to swing a trade to acquire that last bit. What might be a blue-chip guy for another team might be closer to "surplus" for us.

    Every year the goal is to win the WS. That I agree with. But I think "WS or bust" mentality can be setting yourself up for a HUGE let down.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    I cannot disagree more strongly with this supposed two-year window. This organization does not live or die with Jake Arrieta. I'm hearing this everywhere, and I just...

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    In reply to Peanuts:

    If you have every Cubs player card since 1952 that is a pretty impressive collection.

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    In reply to Peanuts:

    Part of Theo's point of progress not being linear was illustrated in 2015. A linear progression would have been about 85 wins or so. It would have continued the trajectory. Non-linear progression can mean some players will take a step back. But it can also mean that suddenly Soler, Baez, Alcantara go from 0-1 WAR players to being 4-5 WAR players. It ca go both ways.

    As I said before, fewer things will have to "break the Cubs' way" this year than last year. We have taken some of the risk out of the equation.

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    Born in 53, been in Az since 85, wouldn't believe the difference I've seen in spring training since this regime took over. I have been following these young cubs these past 5 years, you could see the difference in talent starting to come thru the pipeline, it was different, I don't know if it was arrogance or what, these young players knew they were good and showed it..

  • I can sure identify with that first paragraph. I like the Bulls, Bears, and Illini, and like them to be successful, but have never been as invested. I've attempted to detach some years with the Cubs, to no avail. I agree Jared that the org from the owner down is different this time.

  • I'm also a Lions fan, but I've used lionsed as a verb for snatching defeat. Never felt that way about the Cubs.

  • I'm probably splitting hairs, but it seems like there is a difference between being disappointed and feeling let down. I think disappointed means that YOU had higher hopes whereas feeling let down means the TEAM failed you by not doing its job. Every fan should be disappointed with a loss or elimination, but no fan should feel let down unless the team puts up an extremely poor effort/embarrassing moral or criminal act/pouty diva attitude.

  • I enjoy the competition and the inside game and the flow of a season. A World Series would be great. No team or fan base is entitled to one. Your team needs talent, fortitude and fortune. Cubs fans' weariness of being losers and desperation attending places a palpable burden on the players and makes it harder for them to win.

  • In reply to wastrel:

    Only if the team doesn't live by Joe's axiom "Never let the pressure exceed the pleasure." It's all a matter of focus. If you're focused on winning and having fun being in a (high pressure) situation that you've worked hard to get into and prepare yourself for, then the game is exactly the same be it for a championship or last place. It's still 90 feet to every base.

  • Been a Cubs fan since '63. A lot of mismanagement witnessed over the years created a flinty attitude, so I was initially nonplussed when the team was sold to the Ricketts family. The Epstein hiring was encouraging, even though it was hinted the fans were going to need to develop additional fortitude while enduring some beat down seasons.

    Most of us lacked the perspective necessary to understand how bad was the Cubs organization-a decades long fiasco. Tom Ricketts correctly surmised the situation called for something beyond a normal rebuild. Thankfully he tapped the right expert in Theo.

    This is rarefied air - a much different feeling than '69, '84, '89, and '03. The difference is measured in depth. Theo promised a sustainable model built to compete for championships annually. We're seeing it rolled out in a manner which suggests the Cubs can kill their opponents in a variety of ways, and by any means necessary. Compare this to the Cubs team which seemed lost the day Mark Prior grabbed his right shoulder after colliding with Marcus Giles on the basepath between first and second. The truth is today's organization is light years ahead of '04.

    2016 is going to be fun to watch.

  • I compare this team to the 1975-76 Indiana Hoosier's BB team. They almost got there in '73 when they lost to UCLA in the Final Four, then lost again as an undefeated team in 75. There was no let down after '75, merely a more focused effort.

    This team in all likelihood and odds might come up short winning it all in '16, but I expect them to be in the WS. I expect them to place a couple of WS trophies in the case before 2020 however.

  • In reply to rnemanich:

    I hope we saw the '84 Bears last year.

    They were a young, up and coming team that got their butts kicked 23-0 in the NFC Championship.

    We know what happened the next year.
    IMO, the Cubs are gonna be something if they don't get derailed by injury.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    Agreed. The '84 Bears, '89-'90 Bulls, and 2008-2009 Blackhawks are much better comparisons for a lot of reasons. Not the least of which is that they were all very young, talented, professional teams who got their butts kicked in the conference finals, made key additions in the following offseason (except for the Bulls), and then won it all next year. Obviously it remains to be seen if the Cubs will win it all, but they certainly should come back stronger as all of those other teams did.

    Plus they were all well coached teams and those coaches were relatively new to their organizations, with their new philosophies just taking hold. It was Ditka's fourth year, and Phil Jackson's and Coach Q's second years entering their championship season. Just like Maddon who of course enters his second season with the Cubs.

    2016 should be a lot of fun.

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    I've been reading all the comments and realize that I see nothing wrong with wanting a WS win this year. I remember Gary Fencik saying that when Ditka came in he said he wanted to win the SB and that he was the first coach to say that--before it was let's get in the playoffs or reach .500 but he wanted nothing less than a SB win.
    So why not state that as a goal and be disappointed with nothing less.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    The players and the team should have that goal, no question about that. As fans though I think we need to see the larger picture. That said I think disappointed is different thing from being let down from a fan's perspective. I will definitely be disappointed if they don't get to the WS.

  • This team should be viewed as an expansion franchise. Nothing is the same from the moment the Rickets took over.

    It's so funny to see friends who have been staunch anti-Cubs fans suddenly giving respect, and saying "this isn't the same team"

    I love when people make those past year statements. I know at that point, that I'll gamble with them on anything, because they have no concept of how to think.

  • In reply to udbrky:

    Love the expansion analogy. So true in so many ways, starting with competent and driven ownership.

  • In reply to udbrky:

    I wish the Bears were an expansion franchise...

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    People seem to forget that Ricketts had a shaky start too. They didn't just take over and make everything OK. Off the top of my head... their retention of Hendry and Trib bean counter Kenney who was still allowed to have his fingers in the baseball pie and the awkward, at best, attempt from the staunchly anti-tax Ricketts family to renovate Wrigley Field with public money had me thinking, "Here we go again."

    But I will give Tom and sibs credit for seeing that the ship was taking on water fast, to ask around baseball and find out who the best man for the Cubs presidency was and then, with some wonderful luck, having the opportunity to go get him.

  • In reply to Harry Towns:

    I don't think it was all that shaky. The Ricketts family knew nothing about running a baseball team. To come in and start launching everybody would have been foolish.
    Hendry had been with the Cubs 16 yrs. I don't think there was ever any doubt that Tom was going to make a change when he felt comfortable doing so and had learned all he could from him.
    As far as Kenney, I think we all would have liked to see him leave with Hendry because as a financial guy he seemed to be way to involved with the baseball side. However Tom has an MBA from U of C so I assume he knows a good businessman more than I.

    The fact that Crane has faded into the woodwork and is mostly a forgotten man is good enough for me.

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    In reply to NoDoubtAboutIt:

    A degree from an elite university is a crap shoot on whether the person is all that smart or not. If my dad had founded Ameritrade, a lot of people would think I'm a good businessman as well.

  • Ricketts didn't have a shaky start. That train was loaded and had left the station when he hopped on.

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