I try to stay away from Cubs-oriented mailbags or “ask the expert” features because they often are littered with questions from people who should probably thank God every night that breathing is an automatic response, since if it wasn’t they would probably have a hell of a time learning how to do it. I’m talking about people who make Todd Ricketts seem like an intellectual.
I’m talking about people you can keep occupied for hours by sticking them in a round room and telling them there’s a $10 bleacher ticket in the corner.
I’m talking about people who aren’t allowed to take coffee breaks because it takes too long to re-train them.
I’m talking about Nathan H. from Omaha, Nebraska. Our friend, Mish, happened to point out a wonderful example of what I’m talking about from Mr. H. Nathan recently took crayon in hand and scrawled out a letter to Paul Sullivan that wonders why people are always so gosh-darned down on a team that last won a World Series before the Titanic was built:
I am sick and tired of Cubs fans and Chicago people always being negative about the Cubs.
We’re positive about them when they are good. 2007 and 2008 were pretty positive years, Nathan. You know why we aren’t positive more often? They aren’t good very often.
When will Cubs fans learn that all the negativity contributes to the Cubs not winning? It has to affect players to always hear that they have no chance, doesn’t it?
Hey Nathan, can you think of a recent former Cub that has blossomed when getting away from the negativity of the Cubs? For all the angst about Mark DeRosa being traded away, he spent his best years under the negative umbrella of Cubdom. Ted Lilly seems to be regressing out in L.A. Ryan Theriot is still running himself into outs and making poor defensive plays down in St. Louis.
And while I hate Cubs fans booing the players for every perceived wrong they observe on the field, it isn’t the reason they mess stuff up. Things go poorly on the field because the team isn’t very good. Marlon Byrd isn’t first-pitch swinging after a four-pitch walk to the previous batter because of fans’ negativity. Jeff Samardzija doesn’t need a GPS device to find the strikezone because fans don’t like his guaranteed contract. John Grabow and Koyie Hill would suck even if fans carried them onto the field while tossing rose petals in their paths.
Also, if you are a true Cubs fan you would not jump off the bandwagon after one week of the season just because it was not perfect!!
You can tell Nathan feels strongly about this because he is now using the double exclamation point!! Nathan, I don’t know how old you are, but unless you are about 107 years old, you don’t remember the last time the Cubs justified the love, loyalty, and money that Cubs fans fork over to the Cubs on an annual basis. We aren’t jumping off any bandwagon after a week of anything. We are pissed off that the Ricketts have thrown together a team that is less stable than a house of cards and gone about charging us for it like it is an actual World Series contender. That means they are either liars or stupid and neither option makes me all that confident of the future.
We should have won the series against the Pirates if Marmol doesn’t blow the save!! This team has the talent, they just need to perform to their abilities and we will be all right!
Oh we would have won against the juggernaut Pirates? That is your criteria of judging a good baseball team? The ability to beat the Pirates? Holy underwear, Batman. You have set the bar so low and the team still messed it up and you still think the team “has the talent?” I want some of whatever it is that Nathan is inhaling in Omaha.
What makes me really pissed is that Nathan isn’t alone. Unfortunately, the Ricketts used-car salesman tactics are working. They have successfully sold Nathan and many others like him that being a Cubs fan involves sticking with the team through its hard times, because golly-gee-willickers, they sure are trying and we just need a few breaks to go our way.
The team doesn’t have the talent, Nathan. It doesn’t. That is a fact. Every projection system in existence says this team will struggle to finish at .500. Sure, whatever it is that Quade did in the last month and half of 2010 could miraculously carry over and the Cubs could out-play their projections, but old players don’t do that very often and the Cubs are old. So when we are “critical” of the team we love, the reason we get so angry about it is because we care and don’t want them to continue to be profitable through failure anymore.
What’s your take on what I have brought up, Paul? Nathan H., Omaha,Neb.
Surely, Paul will let Nathan know that what the fans think has little, if any, bearing on what transpires on the baseball field. Maybe he’ll even do it a little more gently than I just did.
Paul’s complete unedited, unabbreviated response: