The Chicago Cubs have suddenly shown that they may have an actual desire to hold onto the World Series Trophy like the team on the South Side of the city with the signing of Alfonso Soriano. Normally it seems like the Cubs are content with putting, at best, a mediocre team on the field mostly because the legions of blinded Cubs fans still sell out every home game no matter how far in the basement the team is. When you can put a bunch of trained weasels on the field doing back-flips and sell out ever ticket why on earth would you want to spend the money to get some decent players?
A few things seem to have converged to push the Cubs into this decision. The Tribune Company, which owns the team, has been having a lot of financial trouble as of late. They have been selling things off left and right. Many people have been guessing that the Cubs would be on the auction block. This may not be a bad thing. Getting the team out of the hands of a soulless corporation that just looks at numbers in maybe into one or two or a group of people who are actual baseball fans could make the team much better.
Getting a high-powered and big-name player like Soriano probably greatly increases the asking-price for a Chicago Cubs baseball team. If you were a company looking to make an even bigger score by selling off your hottest property why not get at least one really big name on the list, right? One thing’s for sure, only the Cubs could do anything that would knock the Chicago Bears off of the front-page of the local Chicago newspapers.
There are legions of Cubs fans here. I don’t think it’s something anyone else in any other city can really understand. Sure, Boston Red Sox fans like to think they had a hard time with a team that couldn’t win a World Series. The thing about the Cub is that they haven’t even BEEN to a World Series since 1945. At least the Red Sox got the invitation and got into the dance a few times.
The problem now is whether or not Soriano can avoid the curse of the talented player that seems to befall every single good player that ends up in a Chicago Cubs uniform. We have a knack in this neck of the woods of bringing hugely talented players to the sports teams and then sitting there in slack-jawed amazement as they completely suck and can’t do a damn thing correctly. Remember Nomar Garciaparra? He was doing great things in Boston when he came to the Cubs. Before long he was on the bench with a leg injury and there was talk that his entire career might be over. Then he ends up on the West Coast and has a great year.
Chicago is a sports city where that kind of thing happens a lot. It used to happen on the other side of town as well. Of course, the White Sox have this tendency to get the baseball players already in the decline of their career. This is the team that got Bo Jackson after he had hip-replacement surgery, remember.
Of course, Soriano isn’t exactly a young hot prospect just out of the minors. He’s 31 years old, according to information supplied by him. Given that he is from the South American baseball leagues where people often lie about their age to get big baseball contracts at young ages he may be closer to forty years old. He had a great year with the Washington Nationals last year despite the team not being very good. To me that means the Cubs should be pretty familiar to him once he gets here.
The Cubs got rid of their manager Dusty Baker not long ago. Then they got Lou Pinella to step into his shoes. As a sign that maybe things might actually be changing over there they then signed Soriano to one of the richest deals in baseball. In fact it is the package for Soriano is the fifth-largest in baseball history. Not bad for a team that not long ago just seemed resigned to being a loser.
The problem with the Cubs is that they are a team with a general feeling of being losers. They have been losing for so many years there seems to be an aura of being a loser hanging over everything including that cramped, crumbling relic known as Wrigley Field. Exactly what can shake that kind of malaise? It’s hard to say but a manager change and signing a big name has to help. Now maybe if they can change the owners maybe things will finally fall into place.
I am a White Sox fan. There is a certain easing of everything that goes with winning a World Series. Yes, they may have stumbled and fallen horribly during this last season but they still won the entire thing in 2005. No matter how many people try to tell me it doesn’t count because the ratings were low or how easy they somehow had it during the playoffs and series the fact remains they still won the whole thing in 2005 and nothing can change that.
I have to say there is a part of me that feels it would be nice for Cubs fans to feel that as well. Of course, the best script that could have been written would be for the Cubs to have won this year. That way it would have been the Red Sox ending their curse and then the White Sox ending their losing streak. The trifecta there would have been for the Cubs to make it and then win. Sadly, they never really had a chance.
Most of my family is Cubs fans. They are all decent, hard-working people. I find them to be truly misguided when it comes to their choice in baseball teams, but this doesn’t mean I love them any less. As such, it would be very nice for them to experience the unbridled excitement and joy I have been surfing on since the end of 2005.
Now, they still need to work on the fact that their two star starting pitchers are walking disasters and barely able to walk let alone pitch. They also need to put a team on the field who can field the ball and make plays. They need to fill the rest of the line-up with people who can hit and make plays. One guy isn’t likely to turn an entire team around in the game of baseball. Still, Pinella and Soriano are a very good start.
I don’t believe in curses. I didn’t with the White Sox and I really don’t think that’s the problem with the Cubs. They just need to change their attitude. I can’t say this is the solution but it does seem to be a step in the right direction.