Blog Entry

NLCS is here, Cubs aren't

Posted on: October 7, 2008 6:59 pm

PHILADELPHIA -- Game 5 of the National League Division Series between the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers would have been Tuesday night.

Instead, broken-hearted fans are leaving flowers at a makeshift shrine at Wrigley Field, which has gone dark until next spring.

The NL Championship Series begins here Thursday evening, and while the Dodgers flew east, the Chicago Cubs, despite an NL-high 97 wins, have gone home for the winter.

And their outraged fans are still sputtering.

"I will never set foot in that ballpark again," wrote Brian P. Patke in a letter to the editor published in Tuesday's Chicago Tribune. "I have boxed up everything 'Cubs' that I own and will properly dispose of it in a Dumpster. To pass this collection of misery down to my kids would only be committing the same brutal punishment my father passed down to me.

"I don't believe in jinxes, hexes or curses, but I believe in wasteful spending of money (Alfonso Soriano), God-awful choke jobs and the lack of self-confidence that comes with the fear of losing."

This autumn's three-game sweep wasn't just your normal Cubs-variety flop.

No, this was a devastating defeat that will hang like a cement anchor on this franchise throughout the winter. General manager Jim Hendry must re-evaluate things from top to bottom, even after constructing a team that won more games than any Cubs club in 63 years:

-- Alfonso Soriano's inept performance during his two postseasons with the Cubs (3-for-28, eight strikeouts, no extra-base hits) at the very least suggests the Cubs need to find another leadoff hitter (resurrect those trade talks for Baltimore's Brian Roberts again this winter?) and slide Soriano down in the order. At worst, it may signal that the eight-year, $136 million deal -- Soriano just completed his second year -- was a mistake. In 44 lifetime postseason games dating back to his rookie year with the Yankees, Soriano is hitting .213 (37-for-174). October, which brings with it the game's best pitchers, is not a friendly time for undisciplined, free swingers. See Guerrero, Vladimir, over in the American League. Soriano's contract makes him virtually untradeable. At this point, the Cubs at least should investigate the possibilities.

-- Third baseman Aramis Ramirez is 2-for-23 with no RBIs during the past two Cubs offseasons. He looks as lost as Soriano.

-- Kosuke Fukudome, at three-years, $38 million, right now appears to have been a colossal mistake. The Cubs are going to have to look hard at him in spring training and early in the year and, maybe, swallow hard and eat the contract (or, at the very least, ship him to Triple-A Iowa and see if he can be salvaged).

-- The Cubs' culture must be changed. Manager Lou Piniella and the players deflected questions surrounding the curse and the 100-year drought since the club's last World Series title (1908) all season. Then club CEO Crane Kenney hauled out a priest to sprinkle holy water on the Cubs' dugout before Game 1 against the Dodgers. It was uncalled for, demeaning to those in uniform and an open invitation to further ridicule.

-- After the Cubs lost Game 1 to the Dodgers, second baseman Mark DeRosa called Game 2 a "do-or-die" game. Though manager Lou Piniella publicly disavowed that, privately, according to sources, he asked front office officials whether the roster could be changed (it can't, except in the case of injury, once a playoff series begins). Signs of panic were evident just one game into the postseason.

When normally placid first baseman Derrek Lee slammed his helmet to the ground in the fifth inning of Saturday's Game 3 loss, it seemed the universal signal of utter frustration and inability to do anything about it.

It's not unusual for players to become upset and slam helmets around.

It is unusual for it to happen in the fifth inning. Normally, that kind of behavior is reserved for the eighth or ninth inning.

Probably, it was an accumulation of frustration. Over the past two postseasons -- two three-game sweeps by Arizona and Los Angeles -- the Cubs have combined for a grand total of 12 runs.

"You have to score runs," Piniella said. "We had opportunities and you have to take advantage of them. This is six games I've managed now in the postseason (with the Cubs) and we have scored just 12 runs. That doesn't get it done. If you want to win a World Series or go deep into the postseason, you have to score runs."

Among other egregious transgressions, the wild-swinging Soriano not only swung at the first pitch of the game, he also swung at the first pitch after Dodgers manager Joe Torre summoned reliever Cory Wade with two Cubs aboard, one out and Chicago trailing 3-0 in the seventh inning of Game 3. That he didn't make the new pitcher at least throw a couple of pitches and make sure he had command of the strike zone was inexcusable.

The honeymoon long since had ended for Fukudome. At O'Hare airport on Friday morning following the Cubs' Game 2 loss, those in the United Airlines terminal heard an announcement come over the public address system: "Attention Kosuke Fukudome. Attention Kosuke Fukudome. Please report to the Cincinnati Reds. You've been traded for a player to be named later."

The honeymoon for everyone else pretty much had ended before the final pitch of Game 3 had even been thrown.

"So Long" read Sunday's headline in the Chicago Sun-Times.

"Wait 'till ... whatever" sighed the headline in the suburban Daily Herald.

Patke, the letter-writer Tuesday in the Tribune, was only getting warmed up.

"This type of misery deserves no more company of mine," he wrote. "With more than three million bozos showing up annually for the circus, I know I won't be missed one bit, but the feeling is truly mutual.

"Good riddance, Cubs. I wish I could say it's been fun, but that would be like saying multiple minor heart attacks are no big deal. Eventually you have to change your habits and evil ways to avoid a predictable and most certain premature death."





Since: Oct 13, 2008
Posted on: October 16, 2008 1:32 am

NLCS is here, Cubs aren't

You can't be a CUBS fan and not understand what it is to be a CUBS fan.  TO be a CUBS fan is to suffer.  A a CUBS fan we unconditionally love the CUBS like we are married.  It's maddening, It's frustrating and it's heartbreaking but, what are we going to do like the brewers or Cardinals - yeah right.   The CUBS are Harry Carey and Ron Santo, Bartmen and the Black Cat.  They Are the Billy Goat, Ryne Sand Berg and Andre Dawson.  They are Ernie Banks and Jody Davis.  We love them all because they are CUBS and At the Same time we go into a 3 month hiberntion every year starting in October.

Since: Feb 3, 2008
Posted on: October 9, 2008 11:04 am

NLCS is here, Cubs aren't

Not all Cubs fans are like this, and I wrote a few days ago about how I hope they stay away this time. Please don't jump back on the bandwagon the next time we're close to the playoffs, Brian and company, like you do have every other time in the last decade. We don't want you.

Since: Oct 9, 2008
Posted on: October 9, 2008 10:02 am

NLCS is here, Cubs aren't

As a Dodger fan, I spent five years living in the Chicago area, and enjoyed going to games at Wrigley Field. 

I was saddened by attitude of the Cubs fan in this article.  With so many players from so many teams watching the series on TV from thier living rooms, it seems that some fans don't appreciate the fact that the Cubs made it to play in October.  To say that in order for me to stay a Cubs fan, they have to win the world series -- is incredulous to say the least.  The fun of being a fan, is following a team through the entire 162 game schedule and hope they can make it to that elusive World Series -- that only 2 of 28 teams participate in. 

It seems that we are now living in a culture where being a fan is meaningless unless you provide me with a championship ring.  Gone are the days of this writer's father, where honor, respect, and the joy of baseball played a role.  It's now "I will only be satisfied with being a winner." 

It does not matter how long it takes to win a championship, it all about how you play the game.  I feel sad for parents who teach their children that winning is the only thing important in life.

Rehovot Softball League

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: October 9, 2008 8:35 am

NLCS is here, Cubs aren't

are you kidding me?  You are going to tear down a 97 win team because of its struggles in 3 games?  lets see how long Hendry lasts if he does that and they don't make the playoffs.  The cubs have certainly had losing streaks of 3 or more games during the season, this was just bad timing.

Since: Mar 4, 2007
Posted on: October 9, 2008 7:01 am

NLCS is here, Cubs aren't

Uh - you are a douche.

The media plays up the Cub's futility, not the Cubs fans.

Maybe you're just a troll. Either way - it's pretty dark where you reside.

Since: Aug 25, 2006
Posted on: October 8, 2008 8:11 pm

Cubs fan

Guarantee once the Cubs are hinting at winning the division again next season, and having a good record towards the end of the year, Pratke will be having his Cubs jersey and his hat on acting like he never said those words, just like the usual Cubs fan, they'd hop on the bandwagon as soon as there's a hint that it might be rolling. It makes me feel good that they got swept, just seeing all the Cubs fan disown there team, only to turn on their word and think "This is the year" halfway through the season, once they see they are playing well (in the garbage National League)

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: October 8, 2008 5:25 pm

NLCS is here, Cubs aren't White Sox

I'm glad I'm a White Sox fan, I really am.  I've been one all my life it really paid off in 2005.   It was amazing, a great experience and loads of fun.   The White Sox had a great season this year too, they overachieved.   Everyone had them picked for 3rd and they won the AL Central. They actually showed up to games in the playoffs also and managed to win game three.  It was fun

I feel sorry for my Cubs fans friends, that's rough.

White Sox in 2009!

Since: Oct 4, 2006
Posted on: October 8, 2008 1:54 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Oct 4, 2006
Posted on: October 8, 2008 1:47 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Aug 5, 2007
Posted on: October 8, 2008 1:44 pm

Whine, Whine, Whine, Whine, Whine

Damn it I am SO sick and tired of listening to Cubs fans whine like they are somehow owed a series title and act like a three-year old who lost his candy every time the Cubs lose - which is, every time.

How many teams haven't won a world series in a generation or more? Off the top of my head I can name Baltimore, Tampa Bay, Cleveland, Texas, Seattle, Washington/Montreal, Milwaukee, Houston, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Colorado, San Francisco, and San Diego - and a number of those franchises have NEVER won a world series. And we don't hear their fans in hysterics whining like the world has done them wrong.

Grow up Cubs fans!

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