So the Chicago Cubs fired their manager Dusty Baker and have hired Lou Pinella. It’s hard to judge exactly how this city is responding to this. What’s interesting to me is that even Cubs fans seems to be arching their eyebrows, furrowing their brows and voicing a collective “hmmmmm.’
There were a lot of folks who wanted this guy named Girardi who was let go by the Florida Marlins. The interesting thing was that Girardi is young and had managed to do a lot with a team full of very young players while in Florida. Essentially he was fired because he didn’t get along with management. This is a sentiment I could certainly understand and agree with. The benefit of Girardi was that he knew how to deal with young players, which the Cubs are loaded with, and he is a former Cub.
What hasn’t changed is any of the players and the fact that the team is still owned by a large soulless company called the Tribune Corporation. There’s a problem with large soulless corporations. They believe in things that have nothing to do with fans or managers or sports. They believe in things that have no feelings. They believe in numbers.
It’s a funny thing about Cubs fans. They love their team. They love their team so much that no matter how bad they are they still sell out nearly every home game throughout the season. Sure, they boo and they throw things at them from the bleachers, but, in the end, they pay their money and they buy their concessions and they pay for parking and nothing changes. So, they can boo and throw all they want and the people who sit up in their tower counting their soulless numbers don’t care and they don’t make any changes. They don’t make any changes because the people keep shoveling money at them to root a team that never does anything to bring any joy.
What the soulless company has a talent for is promoting the faulty product they put out on the field. They sell the idea that the Wrigley Disaster is some kind of huge open-air bar. They sell the neighborhood. They sell the ivy. They sell the stadium for nostalgic purposes.
The fact is that the soulless company doesn’t really give a damn about any of that. If they read their numbers and felt that moving the team to Oklahoma City would provide them a greater profit you had better believe they would. If they felt putting a dome on the stadium would pad their bottom line you had better believe they would. If they felt it would be economically beneficial for them to actually lift and move Wrigley Field to the moon they would. I am willing to bet they would put condominiums in the outfield if it would fatten their wallets even more than they already are.
The Tribune Company has been having financial troubles almost everywhere else these days. People don’t buy as many newspapers as they used to. Other areas in their empire have also been faulty. The one place where the Tribune Company can point to their soulless numbers on a soulless chart and show an upward swing is when it comes to the Chicago Cubs.
Not long ago it was discovered that a ticket broker just down the street from Wrigley Field was actually owned by the Tribune Company. If you don’t know what a ticket broker is then you should probably be aware of what a ticket scalper is. A ticket broker is a ticket scalper who has managed to get the right business licenses or something. The buy huge blocks of tickets and they sell them to people who really want them and charge a ridiculous mark-up. So, this means that the Tribune Company was, essentially, scalping its own fans.
You begin to see why I say they are soulless. You begin to understand when I mention that all they care about is numbers. You might begin to see my point when I say they would transport the team to another planet if they felt it would benefit the company. Company’s do that. When you put enough people together and ask them to run something they all collectively lose their souls and all they see are numbers on pages.
So, now they have brought in a manager who is probably destined for the hall of fame. I am certain they think this is a big deal and will probably do something to pad their bottom line. Lou has already shown up and made a lot of speeches about how he will be turning the team around and making it a winner immediately, thank you very much. He’s not the first to promise that, merely the latest.
I am betting the Tribune Company is loving the fact that their team is managing to push the Chicago Bears off of the front page of the sports section around here. They are probably excited at the idea of Lou running out to kick dirt on an umpire. Sure, they will have to say they frown on such behavior but they will love the coverage and they will love the fact that the fans will continue to shell out whatever price they want to put on those tickets just to see the “Lou Show.”
The Cubs have had fiery managers before. They have had laid-back managers. When Dusty Baker came to town they practically threw a parade for him and elected him mayor. That first year he almost took them to the World Series. Dusty Baker could do no wrong. Now, just a few years later, the fans couldn’t wait to get rid of them and they are warming up for the “Lou Show.”
It seems unlikely that the team will turn around. A manager, no matter how fiery or how much dirt he kicks on an umpire, can only do so much with a faulty product. The captain of the Titanic was a very able and capable captain by all accounts. Nothing he could do, however, would stop that boat from sinking into the North Atlantic that night. He could have kicked all the dirt he wanted on that iceberg and it still would have torn the hell out of the bottom of that boat.
So, who knows what will happen with the arrival of Lou Pinella. I have no idea if it will translate into winning. It would be nice for a lot of people if it did. I just think old Lou has no idea what he’s in for.
Besides, I’m a Sox fan.