Only two months into the season and the Chicago Cubs are playing for nothing. They’ve lost eight straight games and are currently in the dregs of the National League with no hope in sight.
I predicted the Cubs to lose 100 games before the season started and they’re making me look real good at the moment. In late April, I wrote an article that analyzed the Cubs’ first month of the season. At the end of the article, I wrote that we should have a pretty good idea on what the identity of this ball club is by the end of May. It’s pretty clear now, here in early June, what that identity is: putrid and unwatchable.
So who is to blame for this?
We have to start right at the top with Cubs’ owner Tom Ricketts. Ricketts made a costly mistake when he took over the Cubs and that mistake was that he didn’t hire a “baseball guy” to be the president of the team. Why not hire someone with years of baseball knowledge and experience to run the show? This president could hire a new general manager and work with the general manager to hire a team manager. Instead of doing this, Ricketts elected himself to run the day-to-day operations of the team and made the decision to retain current general manager Jim Hendry. Hendry was allowed to hire his THIRD manager for the Cubs. When do you ever see a general manager be allowed to hire a third manager? In normal cases, the general manager is fired if the second manager fails.
Early consensus indicates that we have another Michael McCaskey at the helm of a professional sports team in Chicago. A man who has no clue about the game of baseball (football in McCaskey’s case) but thinks he can effectively operate a baseball franchise. What’s so hard about exclusively being the team’s CEO and letting qualified people run the daily baseball operations?
There should also be some concern on Ricketts’ vision of the Cubs’ franchise. In a recent interview with Ed Sherman from ChicagoBusiness.com, Ricketts said:
“I can’t stand it when I hear someone say they can’t afford to go to a game. It might be hard to get tickets for a Yankees or Sox game, but there’s no reason why they can’t afford to go to another game…”
Very interesting comment by Ricketts. It kind of makes people wonder whether or not he’s committed to winning or just solely devoted to the almighty dollar. Newsflash Tommy, not everyone is a billionaire like you and many people truly cannot afford to go to numerous baseball games. Especially in an economy that, over the last few years, has been about as terrible as the Cubs’ current win/loss record. Not to mention, the price of gasoline in the Chicagoland area has been well over $4.00 a gallon for quite awhile now.
This team is in shambles and needs to be fixed as soon as possible if Ricketts wants to see the fans come back to Wrigley Field. If you aren’t aware, the attendance numbers at Wrigley have been at their lowest point for the first time in years. The fans are making their voices heard…and heard loudly.
Nobody wants to see a Triple-A team (thanks Carlos Zambrano) at the major league level. Nobody wants to see their favorite team’s manager make a ridiculously stupid decision to not intentionally walk Albert Pujols in an extra innings game not only once, but TWICE in a matter of 24 hours.
This team has been plagued by injuries but that’s no excuse for the kind of baseball that this team has been playing. The team isn’t getting what they need out of veteran guys like Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza, Aramis Ramirez and Geovany Soto….and that’s putting it lightly.
Speaking of Pujols, anyone thinking that the Cubs are going to sign him next winter better not get their hopes up because the Cubs are one of nine teams that are in violation of Major League Baseball debt rules. According to the Los Angeles Times, “the violations in question concern debt-service rules intended to limit a club’s debt to 10 times its annual revenue”.
MLB commissioner Bud Selig doesn’t seem to think this is an issue for the Cubs but don’t be surprised if the Cubs have another quiet winter in 2011 during free agency. This means, there’s a really good chance that the Cubs will have another miserable season next year in 2012 if they don’t get better production from the players they have internally.
It’s difficult to see them making any huge roster additions if they’re financially strapped and if that’s going to be the case, you can forget about this team being fixed quickly.
Thank goodness football is right around the corner to rescue us from this nightmare………………oh wait, son of a [expletive]!