The 2007 Ex-Cub Factor

Hi, everyone. What's new? With the Cubs back in the playoffs for the first time in four years I thought it was a good time to dip my toe back in the Cub Reporter writing pool again. Truth be told with the group of guys writing here now, I've been content to sit back and relax, and just read and enjoy. But since it's playoff time, I thought it was time to dust off the old Ex-Cub Factor and see whose quest for the Commissioner's Trophy is, ultimately, doomed. For those who are unfamiliar with the Ex-Cub Factor, I wish I could point you to the pages and pages of stuff I've written about in the past, but all my All-Baseball archives are in limbo at the moment. I was able to find a couple of pages that show what the Factor has looked like back to 1980 (as well as showing my propensity for starting a big project and then not following through, but that's another story). So what is the Ex-Cub Factor? As I wrote long, long ago:
The Ex-Cub Factor was originally coined by writer and Cub fan Ron Berler, who wrote an article in 1981 stating that since the Yankees of that season had five ex-Cubs on their roster, they were doomed to lose the World Series if they got there. Chicago newspaper legend Mike Royko picked up on the factor early on, and was a tireless champion of it, especially after Berler's 1981 prediction turned out to be right, as the Yanks lost to the Dodgers in six games.
The ECF is very simple: if you have three or more ex-Cubs on your playoff roster, you cannot win the World Series. Only twice since 1945 has the factor not held, 1960 and 2001. Interestingly in both of those cases, the ex-Cub-laden team won the Series by beating the New York Yankees in the bottom of the 9th inning of Game Seven of the Series. As Mel Allen said, "how about that?" On to this year's rosters (a caveat -- playoff rosters don't need to be set until tomorrow morning so it's possible that some of these guys will be left off the rosters once they're finalized. Of course, that only matters for one team, as you will see). Here are the ex-Cubs currently lurking on the rosters of the eight playoff teams: PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (3): Antonio Alfonseca, Tom Gordon, Jamie Moyer LOS ANGELES ANGELS (2): Gary Matthews, Chris Justin Speier ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS (2): Juan Cruz, Augie Ojeda CLEVELAND INDIANS (2): Joe Borowski, Kenny Lofton CHICAGO CUBS (1): Steve Trachsel BOSTON RED SOX (1): Julian Tavarez COLORADO ROCKIES (1): Latroy Hawkins NEW YORK YANKEES (1): Kyle Farnsworth So as you can see, the Phillies are phucked this year, since all three of those guys are locks to make the roster. All they can hope for, I guess, is to match up against the Yankees and hope that the Game Seven Corrollary continues to hold true. One thing I think is interesting (though unrelated to the Factor itself) is that every single other team in the playoffs this year has at least one ex-Cub reliever. The Cubs have scattered their late-inning pitchers around baseball like a Johnny Appleseed of million dollar arms and ten cent heads, and many of them are pitching for a ring this year. Odd. Oh, and to answer two questions that come up every so often: * The Cubs can be affected by the Ex-Cub Factor. This came up in '98 when the Cubs had three ex-Cubs and I got a ruling from Ron Berler himself. * Players who only played in the Cubs' minor league system do not count. For this year that means the Red Sox don't need to worry about Eric Hinske.


Welcome back!

I think the Phils are phucked no matter what because you have to win that game 7 in the bottom of the 9th against the yankees... at home.

FYI, here's the archived version of the old page:
ex-cub factor

Overdetermined for Phils. They have Alf, who alone would doom the best team in the world, regardless of the number of fellow ex-Cubs on their team.

Chris Speier was a 1986! Julio Franco isn't so interesting anymore. Does having a father who also played for the Cubs increase the ECF at all?

Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana residents can win NLDS tickets for Game 3.

Oh sure, now he comes back....

Just kidding, Ruz. Welcome back!

> Chris Speier was a Cub….in 1986!

D'oh! I meant Justin, of course...I'll fix that.

Colorado also has Dan Serafini

Interesting Stats I heard on the score today.....

Arizona is the only team to ever have 90 wins when they gave up more runs than they actually scored.

The Cubs gave up 40 somethin less runs, and scored 40 somethin more runs than the D-backs.

Liking our chances!

I hope Serafini gets to pitch

His ERA is 54.00. I doubt he made the playoff roster.

All this optimism is making me nervous. Stop it!

It really doesn't matter who the Cubs play, what their record is, what weird statistics come into play. The bottom line is if the Cubs lose, it most likely will be the Cubs losing the series more than the other team winning.

In years that Cubs have made the playoffs, hurricane activity in the Atlantic has been unusually low. This is because the low pressure systems that typically create the conditions for a hurricane have moved from the West Coast of Africa to just west of Lake Michigan around Addison and Clark streets. This unique atmospheric anomaly has the effect of lowering the ground temperature at Wrigley Field. So instead of the field feeling like 110 degrees with the humidity index, it only feels like 80 degrees or so. Thus, the incredible disadvantage of playing all of those day games in the Friendly Confines is neutralized. So pitchers can pitch in comfort, balls get caught and the atmosphere is less dense, meaning Cubs sluggers can pop them out with ease.

According to my climatologist friend I.M Storm, the tropical depression also brings the soothing breezes off of Lake Michigan in August and September, bringing the additional benefit of natural air conditioning. When I asked him if Global Warming would benefit the Cubs, play, his response was "of course it will." No longer will the Cubs have to battle snowflakes in April or frosty nights in September. "They will have much warmer weather at both ends of the season."

You might have also heard that legendary Chicago folk singer Steve Goodman (the author of the song "Go, Cubs, Go") had his ashes spread in the outfield. So I consulted my friend Vig R. Ro, the famous horticulturist, what this would mean for the ivy and grass conditions. "As you know, human ash contains generous amounts of phosphorous and potassium, which is generally good for the grass and even better for the ivy." In layman's terms, that means balls hit out of the infield will roll slower and are more likely to get caught in the ivy. That will enable Alfonzo Soriano to get perhaps a second more to get to the ball and employ that cannon of an arm.

*golf clap*

[...] The 2007 edition of the Ex-Cubs Factor. (Cub Reporter) [...]

The Yankee's Jose Molina is also an ex-Cub.

Recent comments

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  • I support this. Hendricks has not only looked better lately but seems to start struggling after a few innings which is better than the 1st in the playoffs.

  • Just tweeted via Jesse Rogers: Hendricks starting Game 2. Wow. Just wow.

  • That was good!

  • Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.

  • My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
    1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.

  • Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.

  • Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.

    How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?

    Call me lost.

  • Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.

  • Unbeleivable Dodgers:
    I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
    Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:

    Some "Highlights"
    Carl Crawford $20MM
    Brandon McCarthy $17MM
    Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
    Darwin B $2.2MM
    Dan Haren $10MM
    Matt Kemp $18MM
    Brian Wilson $10MM
    Ryan Webb $2.2MM
    Dee Gordon $2.5MM

  • So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.


    And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):

  • i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.

    there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.

  • I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.

  • O & B: I like the one-game Wild Card heart attack game, but I'd actually like to see a best two-out-of-three LDS played in the home parks of the two division winners with the best records, and then the LCS as a best two-out-of-three in the home park of the division winner left standing with the best record, and then let's get to the World Series already. 

  • I...don't know. If chanting would help the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the next series or ultimately the World Series I think I'd be ok with it lol. I'm not supportive of saying insulting things to opposing fans or throwing things but loud noise and chanting seems appropriate to me.

    I also grew up in France though and that kind of thing is par for the course at soccer and rugby matches and I love it. I find crowds too passive here.

  • Er, they won the first one. My bad. Carry on.