By virtue of the Colorado Rockies' come-from-behind walk-off win against the Milwaukee Brewers, the Chicago Cubs' title-less drought has been officially extended to 101 years.
Ding-dong the Cubs are
So, how did Chicago's North Side Baseball Organization get here?
NO ORGANIZATIONAL PRESENCE
The Cubs' failure extends far beyond the 25 players on the field. It's an organizational mess. As legend (a.k.a. old people I talk to) has it, the team was among the last teams to implement a minor league farm system, citing cost concerns. Then there was the concept of the College of Coaches, which was more like a collage of crap, and would be a punchline that epitomized the Cubs' ineptitude for years.
As for the minor league system, saving a few bucks back in the day set the Cubs back enough to this date, the team currently staffs the second fewest full-time front office members. The Red Sox own the most -- and we see what they've done with a deep minor league system.
And at what point does that not become an excuse anymore? The team with the fewest staffers is the Florida Marlins, who on a yearly basis bring up young, cheap and talented players to replace the young, talented (and soon to be well-paid) players they sell off to big market teams to hedge their costs.
If the Cubs don't need more scouts out there, they definitely need better ones.
For a team that might as well be bringing in cash by the boatloads, the Cubs organization has absolutely failed when it comes to being good businessmen. The Cubs turn a blind-eye to the typical buy-low, sell-high theory by living in bizarro world.
Mel Rojas immediately comes to mind as the Cubs signed him in 1997 by doubling his 1996 salary making him a $4.58 million dollar bust. Rojas came from the
But it doesn't stop with worthless, overpaid relievers, but it would be ruled as cruel and unusual punishment to list every one of the Cubs' high-paid, over-the-hill mistakes. Most of them can be found here.
When the Cubs haven't paid for quality talent, they have paid for not getting rid of said talent at a good time. ALl that has led to is the Cubs not getting proper value for their players. It rangers from wide-eyed rookies to wily veterans. The Cubs' poor salesmanship is shown here too.
The Cubs should have gotten a lot more than Mike Fontenot out of the Sammy Sosa deal to Baltimore. The Cubs absolutely assassinated his character in the offseason, beginning shortly after he took a sick day on the last day of the 2004 season before trying to sell him on the open market. Does that sound familiar to anyone?
No wonder all they got was a middle infielder who gets commonly confused for a junior high student.
The same can be said for Cubs prospects. Corey Patterson was a can't-miss, untouchable center fielder in the minors. He came to the majors and couldn't hit, but still teams came calling. Wash, rinse, repeat with Felix Pie
NOT BUYING AT ALL
When the Cubs weren't paying big money for little talents or selling low on prospective talents, they were busy stashing their money
They low-balled Greg Maddux before watching him post a good chunk of his Hall of Fame career in Atlanta. When the Cubs needed a catcher, they refused to even think about talking to guys like Mike Piazza and Ivan Rodriguez as they lived-up to their frugal ways by having scrubs like Scott Servais and Paul Bako behind the dish instead. Carlos Beltran was a real option for the 2005 Cubs after absolutely destroying the 2004 team in just one-half season and a small sample size at Wrigley Field. The free agent they signed instead was Jeromy Burnitz despite seeing $25.5 million worth of outfielders come off the books in 2004.
Since coming to the National League, Randy Johnson has made a career of bending the Cubs over and making them squeal. That could have been avoided had the team considered teaming Johnson, who went 10-1 with a 1.28 ERA in 11 starts with the Astros, with Kerry Wood after his 1998 Rookie of the Year campaign. Johnson would go on to team with Curt Schilling in Arizona -- and eventually win a World Series.
IT'S THE DAY GAMES, STUPID
There is an argument to be made about there being too many day games at Wrigley Field. The problem is that most people take the wrong angle. In fact, this argument isn't even about adding night games. It's about positioning the night games in the right places.
The summer heat in Chicago can be unbearable, and when you have to actually do something in said summer heat, it can be taxing. Older fans will think I'm full of bologna (or baloney, whichever you prefer) ... but I say bite me. You get a Social Security check. I won't. That will certainly act as enough of a reparation for the days you walked to school up-hill both ways in the snow during a July heat storm.
A simple suggestion. Play more day games in April, May and September -- when the days are shorter and cooler. Play more night games in June, July and August, where the nights will be cooler. A simple flip-flop could preserve some of the stamina a team would need for a full 162-game schedule.
Can we be a real Major League team with Friday and Saturday night games during the summer?
SO YOU'RE SAYING THAT TRADING MARK DEROSA WAS NOT THE BIGGEST MISTAKE THE CUBS HAVE EVER MADE...
In the end, you cannot blame a black cat, a billy goat or some doofus with headphones. While each of those has its own place in Cubs lore, the team's ineptitude comes down the factors mentioned above.
Or as my dad says, "The Cubs don't win because they don't score more than the other team does."
Ahh, if it was only that simple.