MB, you ignorant slut.
As someone who has been around the Cubs blogosphere for as long as you have, you should know damn well that Phil Rogers is never right about anything. I’m fairly certain he needs a couple of tries to get his own name right in the byline.
It was disturbing to realize that I was coming down on the same side of things as Steve Rosenbloom when talking about the Cubs’ ownership and administration, but it is wholly unsettling to realize we may also be looking at information before us and coming to the same conclusions as Phil Rogers. That can’t possibly be good for our credibility as the most unrediscredited Cubs blog in existence.
So, given that we know Phil Rogers is always wrong, we have to look and determine how that could be so. Because, as anyone who has ever Wikipedia’d Sherlock Holmes knows, “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
We’ve been awfully upset lately about the Ricketts’ apparent disconnection from the issues at hand with the team. We’ve been jumping up and down on him pretty hard for seemingly ignoring the calamity that is unfolding as the season progresses (hence the new banner) and foolishly clinging to the idea that the Cubs, once healthy, are a force to be reckoned with.
We wonder how it could be so. We wonder how any rational human being with two operational brain cells to scrape together could possibly look at this team and this season and possibly be surprised at how it’s going.
Maybe they’re not surprised. Maybe they knew damn well this disaster was a possibility.
We all saw the projections before the season. As much as Jim Hendry scoffs at advanced metrics, he had to be aware of them. Surely someone somewhere in the Cubs office realized this was a 77 win team if things went our way, and would surely be a trainwreck if they went typically Cub-style as the season wore on. We talk about how stupid they are, but they seem to at least be literate people who presumably don’t need to be reminded to inhale and exhale. (Maybe not so much Todd, but he may be the exception that proves the rule.)
So maybe this was semi-expected. Maybe the reason we haven’t gotten votes of confidence on Quade and Hendry is because ownership isn’t panicking over something they foresaw as long ago as we did. Maybe Hendry is being allowed to go on his merry way in the rebuild because they knew all along this was going to be a potential shit storm and it couldn’t be helped.
I’ve talked before about the attendance floor and the buffer zone the waitlist provides allowing the Cubs to do some things that aren’t popular. I’ve always put it in a context of raising ticket prices and basically screwing over the fans in the pursuit of cash, but it works just as well for doing things on the baseball side that are unpopular amongst the common fan. Think about it, Rogers thinks that the Cubs HAVE TO do something soon to offer up a sacrifice to the masses.
Something has to give, and probably soon, even if the calls for an organizational clean sweep have yet to penetrate the clubhouse doors.
Where have we heard that before? Now suddenly we find ourselves on the same side of the argument as Rosenbloom, Rogers, AND Yellon? Holy shit! What bizarro universe is this?
We have to ask ourselves, if the Cubs do not fire anyone and allow the season to go on the way it has, will Al Yellon quit being a season ticket holder? I’d be shocked if he did. And I’d be shocked if most of the thousands of season ticket holders that have stuck with this team through the 80′s and 90′s would jump ship at this point. There will be turnover. There is no getting around it. the attrition might even be higher than the Cubs expected in their worst nightmares, but they do not act like a team that is concerned.
They say they aren’t concerned and none of their actions indicate they are concerned. Even Hendry always seems pretty calm for someone who is supposedly one more lost series away from the unemployment lne:
“People don’t believe me, but I don’t worry about that,” he said when asked if he’s concerned about losing his job. “I’ll leave that up to what (Chairman) Tom Ricketts thinks is best for the club.”
So we are left with two possible conclusions. 1) The Rickettseses don’t give a shit or 2) They saw this coming and are working through their playbook to some endgame that involves the team getting better through Jim Hendry and Crane Kenney.
I am going to throw out the idea that they don’t care. They may not be the kind of Cubs fans that we want them to be, but they do care. You don’t sink $850 million into something during the worst economy since the Great Depression if you don’t care about it. They might not have understood what they were taking on and may have underestimated just HOW bad it was going to get as they ran their playbook, but they have a plan.
I believe that plan involves Jim Hendry and Crane Kenney, and if it involves those two, then it also involves Mike Quade at least through the season. The Cubs don’t HAVE TO do anything drastic to assure that 26,000 seats are sold for every game next year. On the flipside, I also don’t think any additional seats will be sold this year or next year based on who manages this team or who the general manager is. Anyone who abandoned the Cubs over Hendry still having a job isn’t going to come back the minute Hendry is gone. They will wait to see how the next guy does, so there is no short term gain to be had by cleaning house. This leads me to suspect that no meaningless change for change’s sake is imminent.
We can argue about whether the plan the Rickettseses have is any good or if they are actually on the right track, but what I don’t think is likely is a scrapping of that plan when they have no real reason to do so and it hasn’t been allowed to play out as they drew it up. They say their goal is to continue to build up the farm system and spend money more smarter (or something). Well, as MB pointed out, the just concluded draft showed a change from recent Cubs drafting history and if they do manage to sign some of the guys who fell because of perceived signability issues, they might have done a nice job re-stocking the system.
Also, if the Cubs suck this year (and we had every reason to think that was just as possible as contending), they’ll get a nice draft position to further the stockpiling of prospects. The trade for Garza makes less sense if we choose to completely believe their words about building the farm, but it seems far more likely a deviation than one that involves Phil Rogers being right about something.
So I’m going to say that the Cubs stick with the status quo if for no other reason than to not be in agreement with Phil Rogers. He wants the Cubs to go after Ned Coletti, for crying out loud. When looking at the Dodgers and seeing Kim Ng and Ned Coletti side by side, Rogers wants Ned. This is not someone I ever want to agree with on something as basic as pizza toppings.