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

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  • If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.

    billybucks 6 hours 9 min ago view
  • Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."

    billybucks 6 hours 51 min ago view
  • This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.

    Charlie 7 hours 2 min ago view
  • I expect they will go 5-9 games above .500 the rest of the year. 96-98 wins will win the Division.

    They should have one more 2-3 week hot streak in them.

    However, several players are just "average" for the last month: Zobrist, Ross, Russell, Ceasar. Montero is terrible, plus he cannot throw anyone out. -WAR. Heyward is abysmal at the plate, but a plus in the OF. Still with RISP he has been terrible. KB has not been driving in runs as of late. But Apparently the team is still above average with RISP according to S Sahadev.

    The E-Man 7 hours 9 min ago view
  • I came to that realization tonight. I kept expecting them to play better, but now I realize they aren't going to. They are a .500 team now.
    - They have one reliable starting pitcher. Jake's magic is gone, and it doesn't look like it's coming back. Lester has been lousy recently. Lackey's ERA goes up every time he pitches.
    - Heyward has been dead weight all year. I can't remember a single series where he was a significant offensive contributor. Not one. Great defense, but but if he were hitting .270 with 10 HR and played average defense, the Cubs would be better off.

    billybucks 7 hours 12 min ago view
  • new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup

    crunch 7 hours 24 min ago view
  • Team is .500 since early May and is playing like a .500 team. Lack of offense seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the pitchers...and they aren't handling it terribly well.

    .500 the rest of the way still may win the division though.

    blockhead25 7 hours 29 min ago view
  • ...i hate espn.

    nothing like settling into a cubs game to get a few minutes cutaway for an ortiz AB in the 6th inning of the det/bos game.

    oh, at least they're doing split screen now...i guess.

    crunch 7 hours 45 min ago view
  • I'm liking this rookie Nathan.

    CTSteve 7 hours 46 min ago view
  • Richard DFA'd. Meh...

    The E-Man 10 hours 37 min ago view
  • Throwbacks with fashionable cutouts would be a nice touch.

    Charlie 13 hours 9 min ago view
  • The next 2 games are nationally televised. I think we dominate tonight, hitting 3 HRs off Shields. Great night for KB to end HR drought facing HR prone pitcher in one of the most hitter friendly parks in the league.

    chitownmvp01 13 hours 42 min ago view
  • If the ball didn't deflect off the pitcher's mound, the game wouldn't have ended. Montgomery did miss his location though, but if that same contact was made and went in any of direction, good chance of ground out if it doesn't get through.

    If it was 1 night later, Chapman would be out there and we probably would be going to extras.

    Also, If KB wasn't robbed of a HR, perhaps we would have won. We will never know. Nice play by Melky though.

    chitownmvp01 13 hours 44 min ago view
  • The comparison isn't Chapman replacing Rondon. It's Chapman replacing Richard (hopefully) in the pen. Chapman's better.

    billybucks 15 hours 41 min ago view
  • I'm with you, Rob. You pretty much summed up how I feel about it.

    JoePepitone 18 hours 50 sec ago view
  • Been quite the roller-coaster the past two days -- both games, plus the Chapman kerfuffel. How about a couple of nice, comfortable wins before facing Sale? Cubs should definitely wear throwbacks for that game.

    billybucks 18 hours 56 min ago view