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Meet the New Cubs, Same As the Old Cubs

An open letter to the Chicago Cubs, from an angry fan, speaking on behalf of all angry fans, to be posted in the Away locker room at Dodger Stadium for Game Three:

I awoke from the nightmare of Wednesday night, only to find I was still dreaming...only to find it was ALL real. The 2008 Chicago Cubs, you have managed to render a five-game series meaningless after being outscored 17 to four in a two-game homestand. How utterly pathetic.

My mind is filled with it. How can this be happening? How can this be happening to the Cubs?! And then I realized, once it went way out of hand and turned Bad News Bears...How couldn't this happen? We're the Cubs.

The Dodgers have done their fans proud, dominating in every way. It's nice to see a team that doesn't let up, that played hard to the end of the season, and found enough strength to play hard right through October. A team with a mission. Good for them.

You well-rested Cubs look sluggish, confused, unsure of your positions, and unsure of your contributions, and that's because the end of the year was a mishmash of experimental lineups and pitching rotations.

There has been a sudden and total disregard for team chemistry, and it shows. The Cubs of midsummer knew where they belonged, and the team effort was there. Why does Fukudome get the at-bat with men on first and third and two out in the seventh? Hasn't anyone been paying attention to Fukudome's tremendous slide downward? This is no time to hope he snaps out of it.

Sweet lord on a popsicle stick, where's Reed Johnson? Where's Mike Fontenot? Wake up! Where's the courage? The swagger? How many unanswerable questions can you put in the mind of the agonized fan?

Quick fellas! Grow some mustaches! Shave your heads! Put your socks on inside out when you go into battle Saturday. Do something, because it's going to take serious baseball mojo to get it together now. I can throw together a team on the fly for Saturday that will play with more heart than you did last night.  

We haven't even given the Dodgers a fight yet, and they seem more than willing to fight. And so did the 10th man of the Chicago Cubs early in the night. The fans came out of the gate eager to lose voices, to walk into work tomorrow bearing that badge of honor, the hoarse whisper of the super-fan who helped keep that dream alive.

But it wasn't to be. There was absolutely nothing worth cheering for. What our team contributed to the postseason is the most errors committed in an NLDS game and four unearned runs to back up a valiant effort from Carlos Zambrano. It was the errors that took the fans out, leaving them mystified. Speechless. I'll admit it doesn't take much for Cubs fans to be taken out of the game...They know a collapse when they see one. 

A side note to Lou Piniella: Joe Torre knew to keep attacking, that five runs wouldn't be enough, and they might not have been enough if the bullpen wasn't so atrocious. The only thing less clutch than our bullpen was our hitting, where generating a run seems like something we've never done. Totally undependable. You said, in the postgame, "It wasn't fun to watch." And all I have to say is, "Stop watching. Do something."

It's still unclear why Angel Guzman was sent packing. His stuff looked electric in two innings of work on Sunday. Then there's Micah Hoffpauir, a AAA day player, whose batting average at this level is an astonishing .342 with 72 at-bats. He also had a 5-for-5 game against the Brewers, one of the last two of the season.

So let's get Daryle Ward in there, right Lou? Ward is batting .216 with 102 at-bats on the season. You want matchups, lefty vs. righty, righty vs. lefty? How about a clutch hitter vs. any pitcher on the planet?

We've been completely outclassed at this point, and that's because our scrappers are either on the bench or not on the roster, and our team is speckled with doubt, something new for our players but understandable for the fans. We're the Cubs.

And here's what you have forgotten, 2008 Cubs. You have forgotten the past. You have decided to ignore what the fans saw coming a mile away, and here we are, eight straight playoff losses later, and you're still talking how you're not like those other Cubs, the Cubs who have blown it in the past...

What was witnessed in Game Two was an uncanny display of destiny achieved, either way. Because now here's what has to happen...We win three straight or choke. We've won three in a row before. We've even won three in a row against the Dodgers this season.

But everyone knows we've choked before, too. Except you, who refused to compare yourself to the Cubs of old. So now's your chance to prove you're not the same...That you're different Cubs.

I'll be at the game Saturday, where it won't be over until it's over. I'll be the guy in the left-center field bleachers, a $125 ticket...The guy with the Cubs hat on, with a sign that says—Thanks for Nothing.

Just kidding.  

But I will be there, cringing every second. The humiliation of supporting the biggest choke team in the history of organized sport is too much to bear alone. So I'll bear it with you, the guys who've played horrible when you had to play well, and all the other Cubs fans with the guts to show their face in the climax of this slaughter.

I'll take the jabs from all the rowdy, excited, L.A. fans, god bless them, just like I did for the Marlin fans, and Arizona fans, and just like every other Cubs fan has had to do because you're our team. And you're STILL our team, you big lumpy choking lug, and we love you.

But sometimes you eat at us like rust along the edges of a kick ass cherry '65 Mustang's wheel wells. As you make your final stand, remember this—As long as you know you're in a fight, you can fight your way out.

But never forget you're the Cubs, and your fight will be the hardest every time.

Love, Your Angry Fans

P.S. - Hope to see you at Wrigley on Tuesday.

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