Friday, April 1, 2011

Chicago Cubs: Opening Day Thoughts

I thought I would share some thoughts about the Chicago Cubs, being that it is their home opener today.

Well, what CAN you say about the Cubs?  I suppose you can't say much about them if you don't include their historic run of being one the most losingest sports franchise in American history.  I know, I know, what about their back to back World Championships in 1907 and 1908??  Yes, that is impressive.  Not many teams can say they have won back to back World Series'.  Hell, a lot of franchises would be happy with just back to back playoff appearances.  Of course, back in those days, there were no playoffs, and the Cubs only had to best 7 other N.L. teams to make it to the World Series.  To put things into perspective, the world of 1908 was closer in years to the end of the American Civil War, then today's world is to World War II, or even the Kennedy assassination!  103 years is a long time, no matter how you look it. That's not to say they didn't have their chances.  Let's take a closer look.

Since their World Series victory in 1908, the Cubs have had plenty of opportunities to bring back the Championship to Chicago.  From 1910 until 1945 the Cubs made it back to the World Series 7 times.  Not too shabby, about 20% of the time.  Of course, there were STILL only 7 other teams to beat to get there.  Still, they never could get a win in any of those.  Only making it to a 7th game one time, in 1945, falling to Detroit at Wrigley Field.  That would be the last time the fall classic would be seen at Clark and Addison.

The Cubs wouldn't sniff the post-season again for some time. Of course, we all know what happened in 1969, with the "Miracle" Mets meteoric rise to the top and/or the Cubs choking away the NL East.  But in 1984, they finally made it back to the playoffs.  Now, MLB had adopted a "Championship Series" format by then, meaning the Cubs had to face off vs. the  NL West winner in the NLCS, to determine who would represent the NL in the World Series.  Everyone thought fate was on their side, but Steve Garvey and Leon Durham had other plans in mind.

1989, 1998, 2003, 2007, and 2008.  Ultimately, all the same results.  Failure.  In fact, since their 1908 Championship, the Cubs are a dismal 18-50 in post season games, and were victorious in only ONE post-season series, while dropping 13.  It's sad really, when you stop and think about it.  I think the Cubs have more statues and dedications to their dead announcers then they do World Series trophies??

Why?  Why so bad?  Why so long?  Why the Cubs?  Well, it's obviously been pondered over by many a baseball expert over the years.  Billy Goat curses, errors, Bartman, etc.  Personally, I don't have the time or the energy to expend on figuring it out.  I believe the bottom line is simple.  When you have mediocre ownership and management,  you end up with a mediocre product.  That philosophy is certainly not unique to just baseball.  But let's face it, the Cubs are mediocre, from top to bottom.  Now, there are a lot of franchises that are just as mediocre, and a lot that are worse!  What separates the Cubs from those teams, is that they have been mediocre for a loooooooooong, looooooooooong, time.

But, now they have new ownership!!  Will that change things?  Is next year, finally here?  I guess only time will tell.  Personally I think they still have a lot of work to do to compete with baseball elites franchises.  And let's face it, they are a business.  The driving factor behind a successful business is making money.  And the Cubs DO make money.  Perhaps the new owners will find ulterior motives and make the Cubs just as successful ON the field, as they have been off.

So, enjoy the game on this opening day!! Whether it's watching at home, getting updates at work, or freezing your butt off sitting in your overpaid seats, and leaving in the 6th inning to go stand in line to get into a trendy bar!!!  At least baseball is back, right?  Just be sure to have your car-window-W-flags ready to display in case they do win!!


Disclaimer:  I am short the Cubs today vs. Pittsburgh! (wink wink)

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