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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  • I thought the same. It'd be great luck to face these non-contenders after the trade deadline.

    Charlie 53 min 54 sec ago view
  • ...why isn't j.lucroy playing for TEX yet?

    :(

    2r HR on a 12-pitch AB.

    crunch 1 hour 27 min ago view
  • nathan to join the cubs tomorrow.

    crunch 2 hours 2 min ago view
  • Wow in deed.

    Rob Richardson 2 hours 6 min ago view
  • FOX Sports @MLBONFOX
    Chris Sale was scratched from tonight's scheduled start due to a clubhouse incident before the game

    ...wow

    he was sent home by the team, too. the wsox released a press statement and everything. they stated it was non-physical in nature.

    crunch 2 hours 11 min ago view
  • He was scratched from his start today. No reason given.

    Rob Richardson 2 hours 16 min ago view
  • At the start of the season the book was that he was trying to pitch to more contact so he could stay in the game longer and it seems to be working so far. Contact against is 77.5% this year and it was 70.2% the year before. He averaged 6.7 IP/game last year and so far it's 7 IP/game. His actual pitches per game are only down to 106.1/game from 107.2/game last year but if he's able to go a bit farther into games without throwing more pitches and without giving up more runs that is a good thing.

    johann 3 hours 19 min ago view
  • sale's skills and insane value makes it almost too hard to have a market for the guy...he's got 3/38m owed to him over 3 seasons (2 team options). he could easily pull in 30m/yr if he was on the market as a FA.

    he's throwing a bit differently this season, especially with more sliders and less changeups like earlier in his career, but all his stuff still looks great even if the HRs are a little elevated and the Ks are down.

    crunch 5 hours 14 min ago view
  • Torres, Happ, McKinney, Jimenez, and Candelario for Sale. Deal or no deal?

    "The White Sox are reportedly asking for “five top prospects” for Chris Sale, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports."

    John Beasley 5 hours 28 min ago view
  • Unless he develops 30+ HR power and keeps his walk rate close to his K rate at the MLB level, he's not going to turn into Prince Fielder. And even if he does turn into Prince Fielder, he's gonna have a short prime. His very limited athleticism is likely to also detract some value from his ability to reach base--I don't buy making an out as being preferable to base clogging, but you'd certainly prefer just about any base runner other than Vogelbach, David Ortiz, etc.

    Charlie 5 hours 58 min ago view
  • seeing as arod has played a total of 27.1 innings of D at 1st/3rd and somehow managed a -0.5 dWAR with his 1 error at 1st and an overall positive total zone rating...he might end up even more in the shitter via the characteristics/flaws/whatever of how some sites determine various WAR values. dWAR doesn't directly lead to a WAR value, but the 2 main entities pushing the most popular variations of WAR sometimes lead to some interesting discrepancies in value.

    crunch 6 hours 14 min ago view
  • I have a lot of faith in Baez that he's going to turn into a more consistent, solid player. It looks like it took him about a half season or so of futility at the plate to figure out he was not talented enough to get away with the crazy approach he had. I think his running game will eventually have a more measured aggression.

    Charlie 10 hours 8 min ago view
  • I hope the D and bullpen show up. Cubs haven't had much luck against Davies, and he's been going well lately. A little uncomfortable with the Cards only 6.5 back--feels like they're right on our tails compared to the 11 game lead I've grown accustomed to.

    Charlie 10 hours 12 min ago view
  • Cardinals, stop that. Right now.

    billybucks 11 hours 6 min ago view
  • In a year or two, a lot of fans are going to point at trading him as a mistake. He'll probably be slashing something like 280/400/480 for Seattle at the time. Of course, by WAR, he'll still be worth less than 3, since we're talking zero defensive value.

    John Beasley 12 hours 9 min ago view
  • vogelbomb debut for tacoma (AAA SEA)... 3-3, 1bb, 1 HR, 1 double...DH'd.

    while he mostly played 1st considerably more than DH for AAA CHC, DJ Peterson is probably going to see most of the time at 1st for AAA SEA.

    crunch 20 hours 35 min ago view