While it tends to be quite difficult to root against the long shot, the underdog and the Cinderella story, sometimes the plug gets pulled on the dream and there's nothing left to be said.
Twenty-nine-year-old rookie Bryan LaHair's tale did not end like he had planned, but it follows the tale of virtually all players in his position. Cubs fans know this version of it all too well, having already played through non-factors like Micah Hoffpauir, Jake Fox and a host of other heavy-hitting corner infielders who just can't make it when the at-bats pile up.
These other guys along with LaHair have the burden of a very late start on a Major League career. Some may try to pinpoint the late career start on being "blocked" at the higher levels by better talent, but LaHair never really had that concern.
While no one will doubt Bryan LaHair's ability to absolutely annihilate AAA-pitching, his longevity as an everyday player seems to have run its course. An absolutely stellar month literally earned him a spot on the All-Star team. While no one can ever take that away from him, the job at first base and in the outfield has been slipped right from underneath him.
Truth be told, he was never going to be an everyday player to begin with, as the Cubs never let him get starts against lefties.
While his sum total numbers do not look dreadful, they stay near-acceptably afloat due to an unbelievably unsustainable first month.
Every month except April has been problematic for him at best, and downright frightening at his worst. Three straight months of decline across the board. This did not coincide with the loss of his starting gig at first base due to the promotion of Rizzo, and anyone telling you that is blowing smoke, and a lot of it.
LaHair's looked like his insurmountable offensive problems that plagued him his entire career had stuck (He's never seen a curveball he didn't like, and whiff at). The most telling of all of these stats would be his .138 batting average with men in scoring position, paired with his modest 31 RBI on the entire year.
Theo Epstein came out during this past offseason on WGN Radio (h/t David Kaplan) and claimed that he "didn't believe in 4A players." Many took the statement less word-for-word of his feelings and more in the regard of him defending any and all players in the Cubs' minor league system. Because if challenged on the claim, not many players fit that label more than Bryan LaHair.
If someone is wondering why the Cubs have the worst offense in the entire game, look no further than their No. 4 or No. 5 hitter right here, who failed to do what his job entails.
Maybe LaHair can turn into a valuable bench bat, or maybe he worms his way back into a corner outfield role if and when DeJesus and Soriano get shipped out of town. LaHair is back to hearing a lot of these "maybes," just like he did as he rotted away in the minors until age 30.
While Cubs fans were all wishing LaHair was more than the pretender many thought him to be, reality has set in. Midnight has struck on this Cinderella tale, and no amount of magic seems to be coming to turn it around.
It's a tough break for a nice story, but there's a reason ones like this appear so good they can't be true.
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