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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  • Going from a first place team to a third place team is a painful process.

  • Cards already whining

    Cardinals look a little road-weary on getaway day http://espn.go.com/blog/st-louis-cardinals//post/_...
     -via ESPN http://es.pn/app

  • dee gordon (MIA) suspended 80 days for PEDs. wow.

    "excessive testosterone and Clostebol"

    hell of a late-night news flash.

  • [Terrified emoji]

  • Seems like a bizarre pick -- they moved up 2 spots to pick up a guy who was not dominant in college. According to the talking heads, supposedly a great athlete (but an unpolished football player). So was Alonzo Spellman. And the guy who could jump out of a pool. Bears have missed the playoffs 5 straight years and 8 of the last 9. And they made Marc Trestman an NFL head coach. Maybe they can hire Theo in his free time. Sheesh.

  • And then the Bears pick an undersized linebacker with very few sacks in his college career and very little ability to shed blocks and the draft becomes less of a joy.

  • Watching the NFL Draft on ESPN with the mute on is one of the greatest joys in my small life. Being able to not hear Roger Goodell, Chris Berman, Jon Gruden, and Mel Kiper in quick order is just somehow immensely satisfying. I hope by the time the Bears pick they have Steven AAAAAAAAAAAAA Smith and Skip Bayless on so I can not hear them too.

  • even if the cubs lose feder, he's easily replaceable with a cash/low-end-ptbnl trade...plus, taylor davis is wasting time down in AA and he could pop up to AAA to back up w.conteras.

  • Tim Federowicz is out of minor league options, so Outright Assignment Waivers would be needed before he can be sent back to Iowa. He also has the right to elect free-agency if outrighted, but he probably wouldn't elect to be a FA if outrighted unless the Cubs shit on him somehow while he's up with the big club (not likely). 

    But it is possible that another MLB club could claim Federowicz if the Cubs place him on waivers, which would leave Willson Contreras as pretty much the only other option if a catcher goes on the DL again later in the season. 

  • CRAIG: D. J. Wilson is hitting 083/115/167 in six Cactus League EXST games (26 PA), but his K-rate is only 11.5% and he has somehow managed to drive-in five runs along the way (he's tied for second on the team in RBI), so it's not like he's swinging & missing a lot. He does seem to be feeling for the ball a bit, however, which has resulted in too much weak contact and not enough line drives.  

  • Bryant sprained ankle MRI tomorrow

  • Cubs did a lot of that today: 2-for-17 with RISP.

    Man, what an ugly baseball game - Cubs receive 11 walks and Bryant reached twice by HBP, the Brewers pitchers threw almost 200 pitches (199 pitches...in 8 innings!), they even walked Baez (first one of the year), Cubs scored twice when Brewers botched routine DP balls, Cahill walks three guys with a 6-run lead, forcing Maddon to waste Strop, the weather sucked again, etc. Happy with the win, but that was really tough to watch.

  • "Some of the most racist things I've ever heard have come out of people that are on the air at ESPN," Schilling said Wednesday on "Breitbart News Patriot Forum." He was fired by ESPN last week.

    “In the end for me it felt like that rule applied to me and me alone because I was conservative … Bigots are calling me a bigot. A bigot is someone who refuses to accept a different opinion. I will accept anyone’s opinion.”

    ---

  • Rolled scoring on Rizzo double

  • Re ZOBRIST -

    Today's game is what I was referring to re Zobrist and RISP struggles. He did come through with his patented single to drive in a run - but also left the bases loaded, and two men on, no outs (called 3rd).

    So, I hope he can pick that part of his game up when they start playing the better teams...

  • Don't see anything on the replay showing where he rolled it and he played for 2 more innings after so at first glance it so doesn't seem major. Very cold today so any discomfort is probably amplified.