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The Chicago Cubs Pep Talk

Ray TannockSenior Analyst IJuly 13, 2009

CHICAGO - JULY 06:  Cubs fans leave Wrigley Filed, after the Chicago Cubs defeated the Atlanta Braves 4-2, July 6, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. The Tribune Company, which owns the Cubs and the ballpark, has reached a deal, reported to be worth around $900 million, to sell both to the Ricketts family which built its fortune through TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. The Tribune Company, which is operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy, will need court approval as well as approval from Major League Baseball for the sale to go through.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The All-Star break is before us, which means the first half of the season has come to a close, and while most will sit back and analyze their team’s progress—or lack thereof—I can’t help but wonder what that will get me aside from headaches and the occasional fit more true to a diabetic or schizophrenic.

No offense to either, but you get the point.

I have read a myriad of articles that ranged from fans showering their teams with accolades of a fine performance so far, and I've also read an equal amount of articles from fans throwing cabbage and disdain to performances well beneath their team’s potential—both of which are equally fitting.

After all, that’s what a being a fan is all about, isn’t it?

Some seasons are a walk around the maypole, while other seasons are a trip down the river Stix, and it is that ebb and flow that either drives us to euphoria, or plunges us into the depths of madness.

I have decided to take a similar approach. But rather follow suit, I decided to take another avenue.

One that is fleeting and more idealistic.

I thought it would be fun to take the mentality of the proverbial “halftime” talk we know so well in football and apply it to baseball.

Taboo, I know.

But I HOPE that somewhere, somehow, just maybe, an ACTUAL Chicago Cubs player or other member of the team will read this and say:

“Hey, HEY YEAH, he’s right, that’s what we needed to hear!”

So here you are, Chicago.

So here we are boys; the midway point. Better than half the season is over and we are hovering at .500. Why? Well I’ll tell yeah why, because we’re playing like a .500 team and no better. Our RBIs are down, the HRs are bottom dwelling and our overall team average suggests the fences we’ve been swinging for are no more than a 100 feet away.

Seriously, what the heck is going on out there huh? And let’s not focus on injuries. The kids on the bench made this team for a reason and that is too fill in when they are called upon, and do as much as possible not the bare minimum.

This year, I have had to swallow all sorts of discrepancies and underachieving straight across the board!

Lee, April was a complete mess and ya cleaned it up a bit out there, but the lack of consistency is hurting more than Sosa’s feelings did when we got rid of him for YOU.

Theriot, what happened to being the only guy hitting above .300? That’s really what we count on you for when it comes to offense. Now we’re lucky to get a string of multiple games out of you.

Soto, you had to see this coming. No excuses period. You have less than 15 days to figure things out and get your mojo back END OF STORY!

Soriano, you literally fell off the boat and are now wading around wondering what happened but guess what? So are we. You’re leadoff for a simple reason, and you’re dropping the ball, sometimes literally.

Stop trying to change your batting stance, it worked fine all last year and worked fine in the beginning of this year—if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. We should also talk about that little half-hop you have going on there with fly balls. This isn’t Dancing with the Stars this is baseball, so knock it off and play to your ability.

Bradley, I am gonna sum this up as cleanly as possible, and if you have some tears to shed afterward you know where the bathroom is: The umps aren’t out to get you, not having “friends” in the dugout is NO EXCUSE for your poor play, Gatorade coolers don’t fight back, and for the love of god a professional player should ALWAYS, ALWAYS know how many outs there are in a game.

I don’t wanna hear about your recent success, you do your best work in July historically; let’s add a couple of more months to that; August and September sound good.

Lou, let’s keep the talk about pot to a minimum okay buddy.

Bench guys, I said it before I’ll say it again: Your job should be playing a cut above the rest, not mediocre and sufficient.

As a team guys, you have too many loose bolts and not enough wrenches to go around.

You guys are way too good for this hands down. YOU ARE the best team in the division, not Milwaukee and not St. Louis. They have been slipping as of late, and if it weren’t for that, we would probably not even be in the race right now.

Is that how you want to remain competitive, through other team’s slipping performances and hiccups?

The Cubs that I know play with heart and grit. They play for nine straight innings. They support each other. They back each other up and give each other a pat on the rear when things are going bad.

They are, always, the best team on the field. They are the team that no one wants to face.

But you know what? It’s over okay? What is behind us should stay there like a road in the rear-view mirror. I want what has happened thus far to be as far back in the recesses of your minds as it can go.

I don’t want to hear guys saying things like: We have to figure out what went wrong and work through it.

I don’t want to see you fellas hanging your heads three feet in the sand. And I sure as heck don’t wanna see any moping around.

I wanna see guys talking about when they can get back out there and kick some butt. I wanna see guys working out their own problems with the guy NEXT to you.

Rose pedals and popcorn gentleman not dead ivy and curses.

I’m not just blowing steam through your pipehole guys I mean it; you are the best damn team out there and you ALL need to start playing like it NOW. There is no eventually.

Fellas I can sit here all day and talk about what the greats would’ve done in this position, but it’s not about them it’s about you. It’s YOUR time. They already found their way through the forest and now it’s your turn.

Forget about the Cardinals, and the Brewers. Hell for that matter forget about the whole damn conference, the miscues, the poor play, the damn goat, that stupid cat, and that bonehead in right field who we won’t mention—NONE of that matters.

The ONLY thing, the only thing that matters is what you do from this day forward. Become what EACH and EVERY one of you is capable of: The next great Cubbie.

Become the World Series team that I KNOW you already are. You guys are the best damn bunch of kids I have had the pleasure of watching. Now it’s your turn to get out there after this break and prove it!

Not to the league or the naysayers and not even to the fans—god bless every single one of them—but to YOURSELVES!

You have the talent.

You have the pieces.

Deep down inside every one of you guys lies that little fire waiting for a spark.

It may be corny to say, but it’s time to light this candle and take control of what belongs to us—the 2009 season.

Awaken the champion inside fellas, cause each one of you were a champion before this season ever got underway and as far as I’m concerned that hasn’t changed a bit!

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