2008 Ex-Cub Factor Update

Here is this year's Ex-Cub Factor update:

 

Philadelphia Phillies: 3 -- Scott Eyre, Jamie Moyer, Matt Stairs

Milwaukee Brewers: 1 -- Jason Kendall

Chicago Cubs: None

Los Angeles Dodgers: 3 -- Nomar Garciaparra, Greg Maddux, Juan Pierre

Chicago White Sox: None

Tampa Bay Rays: 1 -- Cliff Floyd

Boston Red Sox: None

Los Angeles Angels Etc.: 2 -- Gary Matthews Jr., Justin Speier

A quick reminder: the Ex-Cub Factor, as coined by Ron Berler, popularized by Mike Royko, and brought to the Web by yours truly, says that no team with three or more ex-Cubs can win the World Series. Based on the numbers, then, only the Phillies and Dodgers are out of luck this year.

But I've been thinking abut the Factor recently and I wonder if it is as strong (and unfailing) as it used to be. The factor was originally born out of the idea that there is an ineffable "Cubness" (these days some might call it "Cubbery"), a stink of loserdom that works its way into the psyche of any player who toils on the North Side. Even after they leave the Friendly Confines, the theory goes, those players carry this Cubbie essence with them, and if you get a critical mass of ex-Cubs on one team, their combined futility is enough to deny their team the ultimate prize.

The Factor has been pretty strong; only twice (in 1960 and 2001) has it been defeated, and in each case it took walk-off hits in the bottom of the 9th of the 7th game (both times against the Yankees, no less) to overcome it.

The thing is, though, that I wonder if what it means to be a Cub hasn't changed over the last few years. After decades of management that ranged from boneheaded to non-existent, the team's corporate overlords seemed to wake up and realize they owned a baseball team in a major media market. They started increasing payroll to attract free agent talent; they hired some smart people to work on drafting and in the minor leagues; and they started bringing in proven talent at manager: first Dusty (a disaster, but still) and now Uncle Lou.

The net result has been three playoff appearances in the last six years. A casual fan might not think that's a big deal, but any Cub fan knows that's equal to the number of playoffs appearances the team had made in the previous 57 years.

It's more than just the playoff appearances, though. There has been a change in the feeling that surrounds the team. It's not like we're all suddenly, automatically, expecting the Cubs to be winners; it's hard to shake a hundred years of futility. But I think most Cub fans feel differently about the team's general prospects now than they did even a decade ago -- while we still acknowledge the problems of the past, and worry about them out of proportion with reality, we (or at least I) no longer default to the worst possible outcome when I start thinking about what's ahead.

As far as I know, Ron Berler never talked about what it would take to end the reign of the Ex-Cub Factor. I think a World Championship this year would probably do it; a pennant might be even be enough. But even if neither of those things happen, I feel like the Factor is on its way out. Being traded to the Cubs no longer means years of toiling for a second-division team, playing meaningless games in the best park in baseball and hoping for a ticket out of purgatory; I don't think it's a stretch to think that players can leave the employ of the Chicago National League Base Ball Club and no longer be branded losers from there on out.

Maybe the factor will come into play this year (although I hope it doesn't, because that would mean the Cubs aren't in the Series). If it does, it's possible that the Dodgers or Phillies will lose the Series, and the Factor will be said to have claimed another victim. But whether or not that happens, I have a feeling that, as time goes by, we'll hear less and less about the Lovable Losers and the effect playing for them has on the rest of players' careers.

Go Cubs!

Comments

I have to say that I am not sure that I buy the ex-Cub factor at all. There is only one World Series champion every year, each with a 25-man roster. A lot of the players on the roster are probably not ex-anyteam, but home grown. This would particularly be the case in the pre-Free Agency era. And as players started switching teams more we also had more teams.

So I wonder how many teams that won the World Series had 3 or more ex-players of any team? Probably not that many. Also, have their been cases of World Series Champions with 3 or more ex-players from all other 29 teams? If that is the case and it has never happened for ex-Cubs I might buy it. But I am guessing this ex-factor holds true for almost all of the 30 MLB teams.

Players changed teams just as often in the pre-free agency period as they have since free agency, btw.

It might be that the same thing holds true for other teams. I invite you to do the research. I and many others have done the research for the Cubs, and the facts are unavoidable. Whether or not you buy it, it exists...

Do you have proof that players switched teams just as often pre-free agency as after? I'd like to see it, because that seems counter intuitive to me.

Also, "it" is what is in dispute I think. I think "it" is a meaningless correlation that likely exists for many other teams and thus actually predicts nor means anything. So I don't buy that "it" is something causal or meaningful. A quirky correlation sure, I'll give you that. Anything more, I'm not buying it.

Am I the only person (other than my wife) who thinks Frank Calliendo is the worst impressionist in the history of 'comedy'? This dude is terrible. It takes have of the joke for me to even realize who he's impersonating. Stop putting this fucker in commercials!

Also, I use more hyperbole than anyone in the world.

I agree. He is an idiot. I mute the commercials just because of him.

He made a career because of his great Madden impersonations. They rest are garbage.

Yeah, it wasn't bad. I'll take Will Sasso's Kenny Rogers any day, though. Why is Kenny a drunken moron? I don't know, and I don't care.

Actually, Aries Spears is a fantastic impressionist. He might not be white enough for the public, though. http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1723774

Oh yeah, baseball. Phillies look really good. Brewers look beatable, but I hate them. Tough to know what to root for...other than a long series.

I actually think some of his impressions are quite good. For my money, his George W Bush is the best I've heard.

My problem with him is that he is not the slightest bit funny. More to the point, his writers aren't the slightest bit funny.

It's a problem with every mimic I can think of, from Rich Little to that asshole on SNL who does Trump and McCain, etc. There's a sense of, "This guy can do the voices, so there's no need to come up with any decent material." The voices are the reason people pay attention, so no one bothers going further than that.

In conclusion, go Cubs.

I think the only ones with talent...his Bush is terrible in my personal opinion...is his wardrobe dept. That's the only way I know for sure who he's doing. Oh, that's Trump's hair, so he's (probably) doing Trump.

But you're right, the jokes are really really bad. I could probably ignore the bad impersonations if it's funny. Bush not being able to come up with the word "Apple Pie" = non-comedic gold.

1 Alfonso Soriano LF
2 Kosuke Fukudome RF
3 Derrek Lee 1B
4 Aramis Ramirez 3B
5 Geovany Soto C
6 Jim Edmonds CF
7 Mark DeRosa 2B
8 Ryan Theriot SS
9 Ryan Dempster RHP

http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=2...

Fukudome second? Interesting... but I kinda' like it.

Bring it on, Dodgers! I am so pissed I am going to miss this game! I will be in a computer class... I'll have Gameday on in the background...

You can watch it on P2P, like me. You do have to download small-sized software though.

Joe - Please elaborate... Call me a dummy, but I have no idea what you're talking about, and it sure sounds intriguing....

Oh sure. Sorry. Go here:
http://www.myp2p.eu/competition.php?competitionid=...

I think you need to sign up...like in a forum...but I'm not sure.

Click on sports then baseball, or whatever. There'll be a list of games. Select the little TV on the right. It'll take you to a page where there's a list of different places which are broadcasting this game.

In my experience, the ones that are labeled "My P2P" are the actual US broadcasts. The ones that say ESPN China, etc. are actual broadcasts there. So today, I started watching the game which actually had chinese announcers...

Ok, choose which one you want to watch. I use Brewcrew ball for mlb. Good bitrate and rating. Under it you'll see 'software'. For brewcrew it says "TV Ants". This is the videoplayer that you'll need to watch it. At the very top of the screen are tabs...click on 'software' and find 'tvants'. Download and install. Then come back to this page and click play under the game. You're good to go. It's like mlb.tv except without the blackouts/money.

Wow. Thanks! I'm a little afraid that if I have this up on the screen, I may be prone to random outbursts... I'll have to be careful...

No problem. I just wish I'd known about it before wasting money on constantly blacked out mlb.tv.

Yeah, you'll have to be careful. It's really nice because the player is just slightly bigger then the screen and is fully resizeable. As small or large as you like. Easy to hide. You'll probably want to go to options and uncheck "always on top of other windows" for quick hiding.

Phillies seem to be coasting in this one... Hamels pitches 8 good ones, 101 pitches... 3-0 lead... Time for Lidge!
Gallardo just looked rusty...

Ok, one more commercial complaint:
Bank of America
Keifer Sutherland: "This is America, passion was invented here."
Really? Seriously? Does this count as pandering?

FUCK U SORIANO FUCK U PINELLA FOR LEAVING DEMPSTEr IN YESTERDAY im sick of lee the biggest unluitch chockin cpatain of a team ever im sick of getting suckered in again and believing ina bunch of losers who willnever win in my lifetime my dad dides waiting my grandfather died waiting and i say fuck u cubs u have np guts a good palyer improves in tough situations u guys fold PUSSYIES i hate u

Recent comments

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  • Trouble Boys, the Replacements bio, is a great option. I'm sure Chad loved it.

    Tito 24 min 42 sec ago view
  • Amen Brick. What's the point of following early-season games if you can't over-react to them? What, we should be reading books now?

    billybucks 31 min 18 sec ago view
  • "Weren't the National considered a near lock last year?"

    No, I think you're thinking of Radiohead, The 1975, or Bowie's last album.

    Although The National's Greatful Dead tribute is pretty cool.

    The E-Man 41 min 11 sec ago view
  • I don't think they're any kind of lock, though I do expect they'll make the playoffs.

    It's not like I'm glad they've gone 4-8. I just don't think it's time to be all that worried -- just like I didn't think they were going to keep playing .730 ball.

    Tito 55 min 22 sec ago view
  • vegas isn't a fan of the game because of how erratic and unpredictable it is.

    SF has recently won 3 world series many thought they weren't supposed to win...BOS won a world series recently that they weren't even supposed to be in the playoffs for...favored teams with huge wins have seen 1st round exists...fun times.

    crunch 1 hour 3 min ago view
  • I think they'll be ok too. But having watched this team since the mid-60s, I never think it's time to conclude, well, thank god the drought is over. I've seen/heard way too many people who follow the Cubs say glad we're finally going to win the Series this year. Please. Weren't the National considered a near lock last year?

    BobbyD 1 hour 15 min ago view
  • Best record in baseball and largest division lead.

    I'm jumping right now!

    Tito 1 hour 31 min ago view
  • Can we please stop pointing out how ridiculous it is to panic and start panicking in earnest?

    Brick 2 hours 55 min ago view
  • ,571 winning percentage in May.

    I think they're gonna be OK.

    Tito 4 hours 17 min ago view
  • RAISIN: All I know is that Oscar de la Cruz is still shut down, and I don't know what his prognosis is, or what the plan is going forward.   

    Arizona Phil 6 hours 36 min ago view
  • Remember just two weeks ago, when "all" they had to do was play .500 ball the rest of the season and coast into the playoffs?

    BobbyD 6 hours 39 min ago view
  • Well I guess if pitchers can keep working the edges of the plate to perfection it will be a long season. But that doesn't seem likely. Rizzo finally, fully, snapping out of it would help.

    Old and Blue 8 hours 44 min ago view
  • If I didn't believe in coincidences (or science), I would apologize to Gordon Downie--one of my favorites. Sad news about a great talent.

    CTSteve 8 hours 52 min ago view
  • Hi Arizona Phil,

    Has there been any news on Oscar de la Cruz' health?

    Raisin101 15 hours 23 min ago view
  • bruh...

    crunch 16 hours 37 min ago view
  • O&B: Cease was apparently working on his off-speed pitches in his first & thrd innings, because in his second inning of work he just blew the D'backs away with high-velocity gas (that's when he hit 99-100 and struck out the side). 

    Arizona Phil 16 hours 56 min ago view