To Futility and Beyond

The only thing Cub fans could really do this season is analyze the future of this organization.  If you took time to give any attention to actual Cubs baseball this season then I would be surprised if you haven’t already proclaimed that you’re done with the Cubs forever.  I have been a Cubs fan my whole life and I have denounced myself as a Cubs fan more times than I count.  Being that I am now 26, I would just assume that I’m in the progression that I would just call the “life of a Cub’s fan”.

Life of a Cub’s Fan Timeline: * = My Current Stage

  • Infant – Dressed by your parents in a cute Cub’s outfit.  Still no idea of how bad things really are.
  • Toddler – You are still wearing your Cub’s gear and by this time you may have even been to Wrigley Field.  Life as a Cub’s fan is still just a mere demonstration by your parents that they intend for you to be a Cub’s fan.  Some people might consider this as child abuse or just torture.
  • Young Teen – By this point you have chosen to stick with the Cub’s for better or worse without really having any clue of what that means.  You love your Cubs but your knowledge of the game and the history of the Cubs is still limited but growing.
  • Young Adult – Your childhood optimism is fading and after watching years of questionable baseball fundamentals and intriguing front office moves, you begin to feel the effects of what being a die-hard Cubs fan truly stands for.
  • Adult * – Still no World Series but there were at least a few seasons along the way where you thought there was a chance.  Unfortunately the team you cheer for is still the Chicago Cubs and playing (good) baseball in October is just too hard for your team to manage.  By now you have threatened to never watch another game more times than Brett Favre had comebacks.  The one thing you can rest your hat on is knowing how amazing a World Series victory would feel.  This of course comes with the assumption that the Law of Averages will hold true.
  • Middle Age – You still watch the Cubs when you can but life is always in motion and being depressed isn’t exactly the first thing on your list.  Optimism at this point is simply a joke and if you hear “wait til next year” one more time then you might just blow up Wrigley Field.
  • Twilight Years – After countless ups and downs throughout your life you don’t really put too much stock into anything anymore.  You spend your summer days watching the Cubs without feeling too invested but still feel good about cheering for something.  Nothing fazes you anymore when it comes to the Cubs, but you can rest well every night knowing that the lovable losers never bring you grief but if they win the World Series…..   Well then you’ll have the sensation of relief like never before.

The futility of this organization is astounding.  When I try to look ahead I can’t help but feel helpless.  Where do the Cubs even go from here?  Do we continue making poor decisions on free agent players, coaches, and front office people?

We will have to wait and see what our next general manager has to offer.  Without a GM it is hard to predict the direction this team will take this off-season.  Right now the Cubs have needs in most areas.  The Cubs are clearly set at 2nd, shortstop, and 3rd (depending on what happens with Aramis).  Ramirez says he wants to stay a Cub so let’s just hope he wants to stay a Cub while making less money.

We are also set at catcher but Geo seems to be declining quickly and may be on the verge of not being productive enough to continue being a starter for this team.  Other than those few players and a few guys in the bullpen, this team is up a creek without a paddle.

This team spent many drafts on right-handed pitching in hopes of building a strong rotation.  Everything started off great with Prior, Wood, and Zambrano.  Since then the yield from the farm system has only been bullpen quality arms.  A championship caliber team is built from the rotation up.  This year the Cubs have had one the worst starting rotations in all of baseball.  Currently the Cubs have a team ERA of 4.56 which is worthy of second worst in the NL and third worst in all of MLB.  Plus, the Cubs are last in the NL in quality starts.  Considering the Houston Astros are 42-85, I would say the Cubs rotation has been beyond terrible this year.

With all of these holes in the roster it is hard to imagine the Cubs being contenders in 2012.  The good news is our slate is just now getting to the part where the Cubs can wipe it clean.  The Cubs knew they had to start over in 2009, but bad contracts, the sale of the team, and a clueless GM kept the team from doing all the cleansing they needed.  Piece by piece this team will need to rebuild and we have just now started to reach the point where that is even possible.  The Cubs have been over 100 million in salary for several years now.  For years Cub fans complained that the organization never spent money.  During the 2000’s the Cubs have spent and wasted a lot of money.  Let’s just hope that in a time of economic instability the Cubs can learn how to spend their money more effectively.

The whole process can’t really start until we hire a new GM.  On ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, Tom Ricketts claimed that they didn’t have a list of names to replace Jim Hendry as Cubs GM.  I think we all know that they certainly have a list and that Brian Cashman and Pat Gillick are 2 names that are definitely on that list.  All we can hope for is that the Cubs don’t hire another GM that thinks Mike Quade would make a great manager.

By Craig Kibler – Guest Bloggers from Sportstraveler.net

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