Nobody said this was going to be easy, but after just 16 games and a 4-12 record, Chicago Cubs fans seem to be abandoning the obvious and looking for immediate gratification. Theo Epstein was brought here to perform miracles, but despite a local newspaper putting him on the cover walking on water, it's going to take some time.
Everyone has heard the saying "Rome wasn't built in a day," and a successful organization is not built in one offseason.
Just as in building a skyscraper, you have to dig deep and build a foundation to support the structure you are attempting to create. The Cubs are starting with a barren landscape. There were very few usable parts left over from the previous regime by former GM Jim Hendry.
On paper, the Cubs had a good draft last year, but the crop of players they selected are at least three to four years away from helping the parent club. That's assuming they pan out. In baseball, unlike football and basketball, there are no sure things.
You provide structure and guidance and implement a plan, and Epstein has done that. Unlike the Cubs under previous regimes with the possible exception of Dallas Green, there is a master plan in place, and it will take some time to execute it.
I know Cubs fans don't like to hear that, and I can't say that I blame them after 103 years, but at least for once there is hope for the future.
That's not much, especially when you look at the current club, which is an eyesore if there ever was one, but that's all you've got. Most of the players you're watching today will not be here when this team actually can compete to win a World Series.
There aren't even many watching, despite the attendance figures you see in the paper everyday. Those numbers are on tickets sold, not fannies in the seats. Who can blame them for not showing up?
It was an unseasonably warm March, but April and baseball season in Chicago is back to the usual frigid temperatures expected this time of year.
It's hard to build a team to win at Wrigley. In fact, it's never been done. The two World Series the Cubs hold title to were both won before they stepped foot on the hallowed ground.
The wind blows different ways during Spring in Chicago. There is no blueprint how to put together a team that can conquer what many people call a curse. In a sense it is — it's a curse of bad ownership and management for so many years, along with a park that might be the hardest in baseball to figure out.
There are days you can hit a ball that would be long gone on Waveland Avenue in the summer months, but is an easy out now.
Building a team of softball players is not going to get the job done. They've been there and done that. In fact, that's about all they have done throughout the years.
Whenever the Cubs have a player with speed, they don't know what to do with him, so let me give them a hint: Put him in the lineup. Make that a part of your team.
I'm not talking about Tony Campana, but I am talking about someone who can do what he does when he gets on base. When the wind provides an invisible shield keeping anything from leaving the playing field, you need guys who can hit the ball in the gaps. It's called gap power.
That hasn't been a staple of the team over the years.
They're starting to teach the fundamentals like base running, and that's something the organization has to embrace and look for when they try to field a team in the future. You have to find ways to score runs before the wind starts to blow out more often on warm summer days.
You also have to find players who understand how important rest is when you play as many day games as the Cubs do. The nightlife in Chicago is enticing. It's difficult to judge if the young players who will be populating Wrigley Field in the future will succumb to that temptation.
That's why just looking at stats and stats alone is not enough. You have to look inside the player and see what he's all about. Is baseball the most important thing in is life, or is he just looking to score?
It's a big job, and Theo might have broken the curse of the Bambino, but he walked into a lot better situation in Boston than he has here. He has a far more difficult task ahead of him in Chicago.
He's going to make mistakes and learn as he goes. It's not going to happen overnight.
Fans are already booing. The smart ones understand that it takes time, but those others are the ones who could cause a panic and change the strategy being put in place.
I don't think that will happen, but if the Cubs are still not competing in a couple of years, and season ticket sales are no longer sustaining the team, who knows what they're going to do?
I know it's hard to watch now, and with some of the highest-priced tickets in baseball, it's not worth your hard-earned money.
That's the now. The future is never promised, but it looks like prospects are brighter than they have been in a long time.
So, sit back and relax and trust these guys will figure it out. Eventually.
What other choice do you have?
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