Loveable Losers, not so loveable in 2011?

The Chicago Cubs. The Loveable Losers. But are they truly loveable losers in 2011? As a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan I have been trying to work out in my mind what has caused this quintessential pre-allstar break collapse.

As a Cubs fan we have not seen many of these this spring and summer:

We have been seeing more flags like this (heartbreaking really):

Right now they are 35-53. I mean WHAT THE???  The SECOND to the LAST WORST Record in all of Major League Baseball. ONLY the Houston Astros are worse than my beloved Cubbies. 

I mean we are the “Loveable Losers” but really all this LOSING is killing me. Some days I can not even bring myself to look at the score or to hear that there was yet another LOSS.  

Where do you start pointing the fingers? The Front Office? The Manager? The Players? The Front Office for hiring Quade as the full-time manager instead of exploring other options such as Ryne Sandberg? The Front Office for not spending more money on acquiring players? The Front Office for holding onto such large contract players like Soriano?  Where does the blame fall??   

I think the blame is far-reaching.

However, I do not place as much of blame on the way the Cubs are actually playing at the plate and in the field. Don’t get me wrong – blame still does fall heavily on the players because it’s about getting that Win. You can never factor that out.  

If you take a look at the Cubs batting averages you will see that the Chicago Cubs are batting just as WELL if not better than the Philadelphia Phillies (who currently are the BEST team in MLB). 
CHICAGO CUBS BATTING (YTD)         v.             PHILLIES BATTING (YTD)

However, comparing the ERA’s of the starting pitchers for the two teams does make you take a step back and say “OUCH. I mean OUCH.” Virtually NONE of the Cubs starters are under .200 or under .300 for that matter. Whereas, most of the Phillies starts are under .300. Big difference…

CHICAGO CUBS ERA (YTD)         v.             PHILLIES ERA (YTD)
 

I know our pitching staff has been wrecked with injuries this year, but that kind of excuse can only carry so far. Right now, we currently have 3 members of our starting rotation on the DL, which has been par for the course this year.  But when Marmol loses a game with a wild pitch walk off, you just shake you head in complete utter frustration. You know in your heart this is the way the pitching will go all season for the Cubs.

You also can’t have guys like Starlin Castro (who is the only Cubbie to play in the All-Star game this year as a reserve) making 16 fielding errors!! 

CHICAGO CUBS FIELDING (YTD)         v.      PHILLIES FIELDING (YTD)

Whereas, the Phillies’ player with the most fielding errors has just 6.  No comparison, an All-star game Shortstop should not have 16 errors at all-star break.

We have some outstanding players on our roster AND those guys – Ramirez, Soto, Castro, Soriano (to name a few) – are pulling their weight (for the most part) BUT we just can’t seem to keep a lead or grab wins. Our team has been torn apart with injuries. It just seems that the Loveable Losers can not get a break in any manner.

Therefore, I feel the Cubs Front Office has made some fatal moves over the past year or so.  Trading guys like Lee, Theriot, and Fontenot and not getting much in return. Yes, the Derrek Lee trade freed up some money to allow us to pick up guys like Garza and Pena.  You will have those who argue that Lee is getting too old and we needed to get rid of him. Uh- huh sure… I don’t buy it… his stats don’t show some huge depressing decline:

YEAR

TEAM

G

AB

HR

RBI

AVG

2010

CHC

109

418

16

56

.251

2010

ATL

39

129

3

24

.287

2011

BAL

66

262

7

24

.233

CAREER

 

1895

6789

319

1043

.280

D. Lee was a leader and almost the Gorilla Glue of the Cubs team. There are no natural leaders on the team currently – no one like D. Lee that is (or even Theriot).

 I also believe that the Front Office has been a little too stingy with their pocketbook. What is the point of having a Front Office with $$$$$ when they won’t spend any money to get players?  I know you will say “Well I bet they will plop down a ton of money to get Pujols!!” And I am sure they will and I won’t hate having Pujols. But ONE Man – Pujols – is not the answer to the Cubbie woes.

We also have players in Huge Contracts, like Zambrano and Soriano, that are not living up to the money they make. Now, I believe they are some of the better players on the team, but the amount of money tied up in their contracts definitely holds the Cubs back from pursuing some desirable players.

There is also the decision made by Hendry and the Ricketts to name Quade as the manager at the end of the 2010 Season. I will give Quade this much – he did step in with Lou’s early departure last season and did an outstanding job. He actually had a winning record. In my mind he is still the “acting” manager not the “real” manager and How do you not place a lot of the “losing” blame on his shoulders???  I do. I point my finger directly at him (and right through him to the Front Office for hiring him as the manager).

I just keep wondering.. what would these dark dark days be like if only they had named (the first love of my life) as manager – good ole Ryno Sandberg…. (instead we have lost him forever to the Phillies organization).  He is coaching the Phillies AAA team with a record of 50-36 (.581).  You tell me that’s like comparing apples to guava? All I see is a winning record and a man who I know would have been VERY capable of leading the Cubs this year.

Of course, I do not have all the answers. If I did, I would probably be working for the Cubs. Something has got to change though and I believe it starts from the top down. The Ricketts buying the Cubs was supposed to be a good thing and, in my mind, its been nothing but a downward spiral.

Come on… We KNOW I am not looking for a World Series Ring or even an appearance in the World Series… I am just looking for a Winning Season and for the Ricketts and Hendry to say “We are sorry Cubs fans. We will spend some money and bring you outstanding players. Not only Pujols but some great pitching and a few other fielders. We will make it up to you in 2012. We promise.”

I do still LOVE my loveable losers – even if they are not sooo loveable at the moment.

I just hope there is not an NFL lockout this year and my Bears are there to pick  me up and save me from the Cubbie 2011 fires of hell….

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About Karin "CoCo"

i am just a midwestern girl living in the big city where i belong, happy and... View all posts by Karin "CoCo"

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