What the Cubs Need

Hope is a bastard of an emotion.

Sure, it helps people survive life-threatening situations or gives them the will to live/fight against impossible odds and somehow come out on top. Hope lifts you up when all seems lost.

But it’s also the reason it hurts so bad to be a Cubs fan.

It’d be one thing if the Cubbies just came out every year without having made any off-season moves, or traded away all of our good
players, (a la the Pirates), or decided to stop playing people to artificially drop our gargantuan payroll, or just generally showed signs of officially throwing in the towel.

But the Cubs don’t DO that. They (against all odds) inspire hope that next year NEXT YEAR will be The Year.

Hiring Theo Epstein is a perfect freaking example of this.

Here’s the story: I pretty much gave up on the cubs this season in April. Maybe May. MAYBE. Here I am, mad at the team because of an atrocious season, ready to swear them off for the entire next season and save myself some mental and emotional anguish, and, as per usual, they do something in the off-season (when the playoffs start) that Inspires Hope. This year they go get the GM that brought the Red Sox their first world series in a good long while. They got a world series-less streak killer of a GM!

But I tell you what: I’m skeptical.

Yup, skeptical right in the face of Hope. Sure Theo did a wonderful job with the Red Sox and got them a ring (and he might just be the messiah if he does it for the Cubbies, too), but the Sox have a bigger payroll than the Cubs and completely imploded at the end of this season. The Cubs’ m.o. for years has been to pick up a big-name player and pay him more money than he deserves (I’m talking to you, Soriano). We (as fans and as a team) don’t need more of that.

What we need is to build on the (few) positives from this season. Darwin Barney is excellent. Starlan Castro is one of the brightest
young stars in the game. We FINALLY fired our god-awful, terrible, jackass of a GM. It looks like we won’t have Zombrano next year to “guarantee” a world series victory only to follow up his words with temper tantrums and mediocre pitching. This LeHair kid shows promise. Marlon Byrd can see just fine and looks to be the leader this team has been missing since we stupidly got rid of de Rosa.

What we need is our GM to be focused on getting talented YOUNG players on the team. We need to build up our farm system and promote from within rather than trying to bring in some star player (Albert Pujols or Prince Assface) to save the day. We need to re-establish the culture of winning that we had in the early 2000s when we were the perennial favorites to win the Central every year (read: invest in/ develop excellent starting pitching). We need to cultivate a closer from our own staff (We have three viable candidates in Wood, Marshall, and Marmol – they just need some help. We need our new GM to bring in a manager dedicated to his team, to developing young players, and one that doesn’t tolerate mediocrity or childish outbursts, but rewards balls-to-the-wall effort.

The Cubbies have the talent to be a decent team. What they need is the leadership to take them to the next level. Here’s hoping Theo can bring some magic back to the Cubs. Lord knows we can’t get any worse.

Go Cubbies!


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21 Comments on “What the Cubs Need”

  1. Jan Says:

    absolutely right, Paul. And being a true Cubs fan-ever the optimist for next season-I have faith that our new GM will do just what you have said. He will cultivate our farm team-that is what Tom Ricketts has repeatedly said he wants to do for the future of the Cubs. So, he’s hired a GM who reportedly will do that. Could next year finally be here?????

  2. meg Says:

    This right here: “Lord knows we can’t get any worse” <– That is like being in a horror movie and running up the stairs. You just made it worse 🙂

  3. there’s just so much going against the cubs.

    good thing it’s football season… go bears!

  4. better than being a pats fan. at least the bears don’t rely solely on the good looks of the quarterback.

    good thing, too, because if that were the case, they wouldn’t do so well…

  5. meg Says:

    Yea, you’re right. 3-3 is WAY better than 5-1. Man, being a Pats fan just BLOWS. NOT.

    Tom Brady subscribes to the Bruce Campbell theory of leadership- “If Chins Could Kill.” And in Brady’s case, they can.

    • 3-3 with a dopey looking qb, no decent receivers, and a sieve of an offensive line. AND we don’t have the luxurybof the Tom Brady rule, so when someone hits cutler, there isn’t an automatic flag.

      I’d like to see the pats deal with that…

      • meg Says:

        The Pats don’t have to deal with that. Cuz they’re more TALENTED than the Bears. An AMAZING QB, and a solid supporting line up.

        You know, whenever I see the “Waaanhh! Tom Brady gets a flag everytime he gets hit!” argument, what I read instead is “I’m not as pretty as Tom Brady and that makes me Saaaaad Panda!”

        Hmmm…I feel like there is a real chance that NOW your mom is gonna yell at me, and now I may deserve it.

  6. Jan Says:

    I never yell, just state the facts. It’s so easy to be a Pats fan. Same old same old year after year. The Bears provide a great excitement and entertainment value every week. Will They run the ball? Will they pass? Will our QB not wear the helmet perched on top of his head like an ill-fitting, bad hat? Will Coach Lovie change his expression-EVER?????
    What do Pats fans have compared to that? Which dopey looking cut off sweat shirt will the coach wear this week????

  7. meg Says:

    And maybe someday he’ll come play for the Bears.

    I promise, in my real life I can spell. For some reason, the Very Important Things blog weakens my attention to the small but still very important things, like hitting all of the keys on the key board.

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