Everyone was waiting for the Chicago Cubs to put it together. A defending division champion with a payroll of $140 million should certainly contend, right? But the Cubs limped to the All-Star Break with an astonishingly mediocre 43-43 record. Sure slugging third baseman Aramis Ramirez had been out two months, but seriously Sweet Lou, a .500 record?
Lou isn’t entirely at fault. The team’s GM Jim Henrdy, long thought of as a smart baseball and business man, flopped this offseason. He let lifelong Cub and decent closer Kerry Wood walk. He then traded clubhouse leader and team glue man Mark DeRosa to Cleveland for nothing.
He replaced Wood with Kevin Gregg. And replaced DeRosa with Aaron Miles, giving the former Cardinals utility man $5 million over two years.
After performing steadily for most of the season, Gregg has crashed. He has six blown saves on the season, including three of his last five efforts. Pinella has since replaced him as the 9th-inning man.
Miles is batting .177 after getting beat out by Mike Fontenot for the starting second baseman’s job in Spring Training. Fontenot is batting .226 by the way.
Hendry then gave habitual malcontent Milton Bradley a three-year, $30 million deal. All he’s done is call the Wrigley fans racist, get suspended for bumping an ump, told to go home by Lou mid-game and tossed a ball to those supposed racist fans after securing the second out of an inning – not the third.
Despite all the missteps and bumps along the road, Cubs fans still maintained optimism. Chicago won 12 of 15 after the All-Star Break.
Don’t get too excited. They then went ahead and lost eight of nine from Aug. 5-Aug. 13. They just lost two of three to San Diego, three of four to Los Angeles and two of three to the lowly Nationals.
After all that great work right after the Break, the Cubs are just about back to square one: 63-62. One game over. Nine games back in the NL Central.
Now we get word that the team put Rich Harden and Aaron Heilman on waivers. Teams about to make the playoff run don’t just throw guys on waivers as ways to better themselves for the stretch.
Cubs management is saying, “Alright, we just finished up this whole sale thing. Let’s not waste anymore money this year. Let’s just go ahead and try to get through this year, hope the weather stays nice so people come out to drink and we keep fleecing them on $8 beer.”
Seriously Cubs fans, myself included, you have to know the Cubs aren’t about winning. When have they been about winning? When has the Cubs winning really mattered to whether or not you remain a fan?
They Cubs are about Wrigley Field. And Wrigley Field is about history and drinking. But mostly drinking.
So earlier this year and last year it was “happy-time drinking.” Now, it’s “grumpy-pouting drinking” soon followed by “acceptance drinking.”
It shouldn’t be a problem. Cubs fans are used to it.