God, this team sucks. I was talking with The Lovely Wife about it last night and I realized that, right now, I just plain don't like this team. I'm trying to figure out what it means to be a Cub fan when the team is like this -- I don't get any enjoyment from following them, and if that's the case why do I bother? I want the manager, the general manager, and the pitching coach gone, but also realize that unless Andy McPhail is removed from the chain of command, it won't matter who the coaching staff is. When I look at the players on the field, I feel like several of them are actively hurting the team. On top of that, I flat-out don't like
some of the players on the team, and two of the players I really like are injured (Prior) or continually getting jerked around by management (Walker).
Offensively, this team is offensive. ESPN.com
lists 11 team offense categories, and the Cubs are last, or second-to-last, in nearly all of them. Not last or second-to-last in the NL; last or second-to-last in the majors
. The bottom three in just about every category is occupied by the Devil Rays, the Royals, and the Cubs. That is beyond sad.
In other cities, when your team sucks like this, you look to the youngsters and into the minors for hope. There are a few bright spots among the youngsters on the team (Zambrano, Murton) and in the minors (Pie, Patterson) but because of management's track record, I don't get a sense, like fans of some teams, that the kids will get a chance to play. Thanks to the big Jacque Jones contract and the presence of guys like Neifi Perez, Juan Pierre, and Tony Womack (he's not here yet, I know, but he will be), I feel like we're going to be stuck with a particular type of team for the forseeable future, a type of team that doesn't play the sort of baseball I enjoy. Not only that, but because of the way the team is built, there's no "quick fix." There's no "if they could just trade for that guy, they'd be back in the playoff hunt." I think the team is broken (though some may disagree), and it's broken in too many ways for a Band-Aid to do any good.
So the team isn't contending, it isn't one player away from contending, it isn't rebuilding. I don't know where it is in the success cycle, and I don't think *it* knows where it is. As a fan, that's a really frustrating place for your team to be.
The Lovely Wife suggested that how you feel about your team is similar to how you feel about your family. You might not always like your family, but you always love them. When someone in your family is off doing something stupid, or dangerous, or self-destructive, it makes you sad, and mad; you do what you can to help them, but if, at a certain point, the behavior continues, you eventually have to detach for a while and hope they can figure things out for themselves. All the while, you pray they can get their act together, and you're there to help when they ask for it, and there to give encouragement when they make tentative steps in the right direction. But sometimes it becomes too painful to watch every day, and you have to disengage. I think that's where I am with this team.
It doesn't mean I'll stop paying attention, and it doesn't mean I'll stop posting. But it does mean I'll being doing less of both of those things, and trying my best to care a little bit less about what's happening between the lines. I don't know how long it will last, but at least for the near future I have to unplug a little bit.