There are dozens…no, probably hundreds of people who take the time to write, at least occasionally, online about the Chicago Cubs. Â Some of them are entertaining, some aren’t, some are pretty good and some are terrible. Â But for some reason, one stands above us all when it comes to spewing opinionated nonsense about our favorite baseball team. Â It’s not just opinionated. Â Hell, anybody worth reading has an opinion, it’s especially sanctimonious opinionated nonsense in this case.
Over the years, I have taken the time to take this person to task when he’s been especially daft. Â If I did it every time he wrote something dumb, it would be my full-time job. Â Nowadays when he’s really asking for it, people on Twitter send up the Al signal, and I feel compelled to drop what I’m doing and respond.
Today, several of you sent up the Al signal.
So, let’s see what he’s up to now.
The State Of Being A Cubs Fan, April 2014Â Edition
Ooh, maybe these are going to be monthly! Â Maybe he’ll start posting what hat he’s wearing when writing each of them and we can start a chart!
Now, let me tell you what this essay isÂ notÂ going to be.
Ooh, ooh! Â I know, I know!
- well reasoned
It’s not going to be a plea that the Cubs should have spilled out nine-figure contracts to free agents the last couple of offseasons, because, well, first, they don’t appear to have that kind of money, and second, the results of such contracts have been pretty mixed.
The Cubs are cheap! Â Cheap! They don’t want to win. Â But even if they weren’t, that doesn’t work. Â So…there doesn’t appear to be an actual point here. Â Gotta give him credit, he’s on top of his game early on in this one.
(I’m looking at you,Â Angels)
Just make sure you do it from the court-ordered 500 feet, buddy.
It’s also not going to be a plea to lower ticket prices.
I wish you would. Â A man with your kind of clout? Â Hell, if you stated your air-tight case, I’ll bet the Cubs would drop bleacher tickets back to $6 just like they were back when you first started fart staining that plank of wood in the left field corner.
Been there, done that, you know how I feel about it, no need to rehash that territory.
Wait, you’re not going to rehash? Â Are you feeling OK? Â Is your lupus acting up again? Â Let me get you a ginger ale.
What I do want to say is that I’m tired of seeing the Cubs punt season after season after season.
Well, you gave them 12 games. Â I don’t see how they could ask for more than that. Â Todd, give this man his money back and a few of those hot dogs you hid in the garbage can.
And regardless of the fact that just 12 games have been played this season, it’s only April 14, there’s lots of time remaining — it’s eminently clear to me that Theo & Co. intended from the get-go to punt this one, too. Their only two significant-dollar signings –Â Jason HammelÂ andÂ Jose VerasÂ — were obviously done for no other reason than to attempt to get some value out of them and flip them at the trading deadline. From the early returns, Hammel looks like he might provide said value; Veras, not so much.
Damnit, Theo! Â Why are you signing free agents to cheap, short-term deals and then trying to trade them for players with long-term value? Â Are you mad? Â And stop punting! Â Brad Maynard’s not walking through that door Theo! Â Neither is Bob Parsons!
I like that Al has declared the Hammel signing a success after 13 innings, but Veras is a complete bust after three. Â Relievers never struggle in short stretches, and starters always maintain hot starts for the duration.
The Cubs play in a tough division, so it was going to be difficult to attempt to compete no matter what management did.
Hey Theo, no matter what you did, it wasn’t going to work this year, but allow me to complain about what you did and shit my pants with panic after you played nine games against 2013 playoff teams (six of them on the road) and had the misfortune of facing the Phillies during the one two week stretch since 2009 that Chase Utley wasn’t in a body cast.
But each and every year, I see Andrew Friedman of the RaysÂ and Billy Beane of the AthleticsÂ put contending teams on the field on budgets far lower than the Cubs (yes, I’m aware that Friedman has a better farm system that’s helped him in this regard).
Ignore the fact that Friedman has been in the Rays front office since 2004 helping build the team into what they are now, and that in the first four years he was there (including two as general manager) they lost 91, 95, 101, and 96 games. Â That’s kind of how they built that farm system. Â As for Beane, his teams didn’t have a stretch recently where they lost 86 or more games four times in five years. Â Oh, wait, they did. Â From 2007-2011.
(See gang, Al is not real good with numbers, or facts, or reason.)
At least put a team on the field that makes it look like you’re trying to win;Â here’s a quote from Theo Epstein the day he was hired in 2011:
Just make it look like you areÂ tryingÂ to win. Â You know, like Hendry did most years. Â Everybody loved that. Â Whatever you do, do not try to stockpile young players and make it look like you aren’tÂ tryingÂ to win. Â It’s like the great song says,
Let’s root, root root for the home team, if they look like they’re trying it’s no shame.
As for the quote Al pulled from Theo, it’s another case of him not understanding…anything.
“Every opportunity to win is sacred,” Epstein said. “It’s sacred to us inside the organization and it should be sacred to the fans as well. They deserve our best efforts to do what we can to improve the club, and put the club in position to succeed in any given season.”
How many times do people have to explain to Al that what the Cubs are doing is trying to win? Â They’re trying to develop players at the big league level (Rizzo, Castro, Olt, Lake, Castillo, etc.) and showcase a few (hopefully) valuable vets (Schierholtz, Bonifacio, Barney, Samardzija, Hammel, etc.) Â with the overall goal of having more talent on the roster at the end of the season than the beginning.
I put it to you that this has not occurred over the last three seasons. This management team is asking us to bide our time while they build that great minor-league system. That’s fine,Â but that’s not what they said they were going to doÂ when they came on board.
It is EXACTLY what they said when they came on board. Â They have been nothing but honest about what they are doing. Â At no point have they pretended to not be doing the very thing they are doing. Â Just how vapid do you have to be to not understand that?
I acknowledge that circumstances have changed since 2011 and it might be that the resources Theo thought he was going to have when he was hired simply aren’t there.
It’s good of you to stoop to acknowledge a fact. Â But regardless, this is the same process Theo promised when he got the job. Â This is year three. Â Three! Â Even you can count that high.
The answer has been, apparently, to simply punt seasons instead of using whatever resources you can to at least try to win.
There’s no fucking apparently about it.
Perhaps Theo thinks Chicago is just like Boston, where there was also a long World Series-winning drought. It’s not.
No shit it’s not. Â Boston had good players. Â Theo had to add to it. Â Here he’s had to find pretty much all of them.
A bit of history is called for here.
Interestingly, the Red SoxÂ and Cubs both came out of two-decade slumbers in the same year — 1967.
There is nothing interesting about it. Â There’s also no relevance.
You know, I think if the Cubs had been in three World Series in my lifetime, even all losses as Boston’s were, I wouldn’t feel the sense of urgency I feel now.
Is it fecal urgency? Â Because I’m not sure a baseball team’s lack of success brings it on. Â But at least the Goose has some assistance for you.
As I’ve noted before, the current drought for the Cubs ofÂ not even getting to the World SeriesÂ is now eight years longer than the World Series drought was in 1969
That’s fascinating. Â Please, go on.
the year this 12-year-old kid (and so many other Cubs fans) thought the team would break all the droughts and win it all.
Oh, that’s it. Â Silly me, I thought you actually had a point. Â I should get this room checked for a carbon monoxide leak.
I hope all the prospects mentioned above turn intoÂ All-Stars
Al didn’t mention them, he quoted from a Nick Friedell article. Â Because when you need hard-hitting baseball analysis, you go to this guy:
I hope Theo’s plan works. Really, I do.
You hope it works. Â You just don’t want to actually take the time to let him implement it.
But all those young players aren’t going to be inserted into the Cubs lineup and suddenly lead the team to the Promised Land.
I’m sure that’s the plan. Â Draft. Â Sign. Â Wait. Â Insert. Â Championship. Â Repeat.
I can’t think of a single example of a team that’s done that.
Examples of teams who have assembled good players and played them:
EVERY GOOD TEAM…EVER.
Sure, it’s nice to see Anthony RizzoÂ and Starlin CastroÂ off to good starts; they’re also part of that core and will need to step their games up to the next level.
BREAKING NEWS: Cubs best two players (whom franchise has invested in for several years each) expected to be part of team when it’s good.
But more likely than some magical contending team in 2015, I think we’re looking at 2018 before all the young players jell together,
Hey gang, gather around and let’s all look at this number Al just pulled out of his ass!
and as Friedell wrote
Oh, who gives a shit?
In the meantime, I’d like to at least see an effort to win.
HEAR THAT, THEO? Â AL WANTS TO SEE AN EFFORT! Â Tell those lazy bastards you have on your team now to get to efforting! Â Al NEEDS some wins, and your effortless halfwits are making him sad.
I don’t see that now.
Maybe if you sat a little farther from home plate. Â Oh, wait, that’s right. Â You can’t.
I see a team with some bright spots, but also with some players we’re going to say goodbve to in July, and that’s by design.
You know this team I think stinks and is full of bad players? Â It kills me to say good bye to them every July. Â Just kills me. Â They’re like that bag of puppies I drowned. Â But EVERY July!
I’ll repeat Theo’s 2011 quote here, with emphasis added:
Nobody can Ctrl-B like our boy, Al.
“They deserve our best efforts to do what we can to improve the club, and put the club in position to succeed in any given season.”
In typical Al fashion, he bolded THE ENTIRE QUOTE. Â You know when you bought those used textbooks in college because they were already highlighted, but then you found out the psycho who had it before you highlighted everything, thereby effectively highlighting nothing? Â It was Al. Â Well, as long as you were taking a gender confusion class from the Learning Annex in the mid ’80s.
I haven’t seen that, not in 2014, not since he’s been in charge.
HE JUST WANTS TO WIN, THEO! Â WHY DO YOU HATE HIM SO? Â WHY DO YOU TAKE SUCH PLEASURE IN PERSONALLY DISAPPOINTING AL? Â HE’S THE PATRON SAINT OF IDIOTS. Â HE DESERVES BETTER.
It’s time to start, Theo.
Holy shit. Â Put that on a t-shirt. Â Print them up and become a billionaire.
Give it that “best effort,” not just in creating a great minor-league system, but a winning big-league team.
It’s theÂ same fucking thing, you halfwit! Â Emphasis added.