At 49-45, the Chicago Cubs are reminding me of a simpler time in my life. A time in which mediocre Cubs baseball reigned supreme and while there was help to be had in the open market, it never came to Chicago.
It is apparent to me that the Cubs have returned to their roots as a small market team.
That was a hard sentence to write, especially after the spending sprees that landed Alfonso Soriano, Ted Lilly and Kosuke Fukudome. Chicago has followed an offseason that featured overpaying for Ryan Dempster and Milton Bradley, and totally missing the boat on Bobby Abreu, Adam Dunn and Raul Ibanez by watching the two teams they're battling for NL Central supremacy make moves that help their respective teams.
Felipe Lopez to the Brewers and Mark DeRosa to the Cardinals are good moves because their addition allows their manager to utilize their versatility. But the Matt Holliday deal is the one that sparks the fire. Yes, he replaces the power productivity the Redbirds expected out of third baseman Troy Glaus, but his acquisition gives the Cardinals a boost that hasn't been around since Mark McGwire left town.
Except this time, that boost is legal.
It's hard for me to believe that the Cubs are crying poor. Every member of management has said that payroll won't hold the Cubs back from contending. Forever, Cubs fans were told the Cubs were run seperately from the Tribune Co. that owned them.
The Cubs rank in the top five in TV revenue, merchandising revenue, advertising revenue and sell out every frickin' ball game. So, how come there isn't money in the bank to bring on something more than a John Baker onto this squad?
Simply put, the Cubs' free-wheeling ways was just a mirage. It sold tickets. It won games. It made headlines. It made money. It didn't matter that the Cubs were finally relevant again ... and not because of a one-man show or an all-time great announcer. Cubs fans were finally rewarded for 20+ years of Tribune Co. futility with a good product on the field.
So, right now, I'll ask the Cubs to make a decision. You can either act like one of the big boys, or you can take your money, pocket it and leave me and Cubdom alone.
There is no reason for the team in the third largest market to be acting like a second-rate city like Milwaukee or St. Louis. Sorry, that doesn't cut it with me. Nor should it fly with my fellow Cubs fans.
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