Monday, October 02, 2006

Speaking of horrors...

I attended the final Cubs game of the season yesterday. (Admittedly, had I known my car was going to crap out this morning, I might have spent a bit less in the process. Oh, well.) That was one of several games in September, and on October 1st, I had bought tickets to back in February. I was harboring, you see, the delusion that the mighty Cubs might play better this year than they had in 2005.

In fact, they played worse, helped mightily by an injured Derek Lee, one of several hobbled key players. In the end, our major 'triumph' was to barely avoid losing a mind-boggling 100 games. Instead—whew—we only lost 96, in one of the most pathetically weak divisions I’ve ever seen.

Despite all the tickets for the year being sold over the first weekend they were available, each September game at Wrigley saw thousands of empty seats, a fact I can attest to first hand. Each empty seat told of a fan who didn't want to bother seeing this team play, but couldn't find anyone to buy, or even take for free, the tickets they had in hand. I was in that boat myself, several times.

Hopefully this sounded a warning bell. The Tribune company already had the money for these unused tickets, but concession sales must have taken a huge beating from the absent fans. Meanwhile, perhaps someone figured out that an irate fan base, agitated further by last year's World Series victory by the hated White Sox, might actually decide not to procure as many tickets next year. There are also theories floating around that the Tribune Company intends to sell the team. If so, they will want a very good year to help pump up the price.

Although the sheer stupidity of such an act seemed to defy all concepts of logic—no, wait, that’s exactly why I thought it was a slam dunk for this exact team—I remained convinced that Dusty Baker, an excuse-making, race-baiting, overpriced buffoon, would be rehired for another term after his contract expired yesterday. I never really changed my mind until, amazingly, Baker’s boss’ boss, Andy MacPhail, announced his (forced) resignation right after yesterday’s game.

MacPhail has overseen the franchise for a dozen years, and mostly rotten years at that. His loss of job is richly deserved. In any case, Baker too is hitting the road, no doubt to be quickly hired by another team and thus able to avoid eating too much into that sixteen million bucks he bilked us out of over the last four years.

However, another author of our woes, General Manager Jim Hendry, remains in place. We can only hope that he realizes that his ass is on the line (and possibly, just maybe, he wanted to pursue bigger players over the last several years, but was blocked by MacPhail), and that he spends whatever funds the Tribune allots wisely and well. Here's one hint for Jimbo, though: If you decide to take a flier on constantly injured players yet again, make sure this time that you actually get backup players for when they inevitably go down.

In any case, major changes have occurred within about 18 hours of the final game ending, and we’ve many months to sit back and see what else occurs. However, for my own part, this year has finally given me a hard, cynical shell, and it's going to be difficult for the Cubs to win my favors again, unless major changes continue to occur.

Now, if you’ll excuse, Lucy is holding out that football, and I’m pretty sure I’m really going to get to kick it this time…


At 5:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well at least da Bears are kicking butt.

At 6:21 PM, Blogger Ken Begg said...

True dat. That Seahawk game was amazing.


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