Theology: Are You Patient With It?
When Theo Epstein was hired to run the Chicago Cubs there was excitement amongst most fans. Harry Caray is probably still the most heralded member of the Cubs family never to wear a uniform, but the hype surrounding Theo’s impending hiring dominated the news for weeks. He was brought here not just to win divisions, but to get the Cubs to a place most of us have only dreamed of, The World Series.
Immediately after his hire he made it clear that he was going to rebuild the Cubs with a heavy emphasis on stocking the farm system. The rebuilding theme has also been delivered by General Manager Jed Hoyer and Field Manager Dale Sveum. Cub fans have heard the term used repeatedly over the years but I am pretty certain they do not embrace it.
Neither loyal fans nor so called baseball “experts” were predicting any type of success for the 2012 Cubs. As we enter June with a record of 18-32 that has indeed been the case. A three-game winning streak to end May has put a little “makeup” on that record but optimism is not running up and down Clark Street.
Was Theo expecting it to be this bad? Does he think the fans will be patient? A twelve-game losing streak tying the third longest in team history had the team double digits out of first place by June 1st. Empty bleacher seats on the Friday of the Crosstown Classic could not have been in the plan, but Kerry Wood’s retirement announcement kept that from getting more talk & media coverage. Look now. The White Sox are making headlines residing in 1st place in the midst of an 8-game winning streak. The Starbucks patrons in the Wrigley neighborhood are clamoring for Theo’s next coffee order more than Cub fans are looking for tickets.
I realize Theo is sorting through what was in place when he got here. Marlon Byrd was traded and Kerry Wood retired. There are more moves coming before season’s end. The Cubs have had a large number of injuries thus far. The time on the disabled list served by Dempster, Wood, Marmol, and Soto (among others) has given younger players and backups more opportunities on the field for Theo and his staff to evaluate. This evaluation process will continue all season long, and the phrase ‘you need a scorecard to know the players’ hasn’t been truer here in a long time.
As we enter the month of June I will continue to casually watch on TV. My pace of attending one game per series will continue. The fact that the Blackhawks and Bulls have been eliminated from championship play has increased my Cub attention span slightly.
I have no road trips planned and no one home game is circled as a must see or attend for me. My fear is that the headlines regarding the team will be about Wrigley Field renovations, block parties on the Wrigley grounds for key series, and who will get moved at the trade deadline. The play on the field may seldom be headline news. Unfortunately, the victories may be seldom too. Am, I being patient? Yes. I remain loyal, maybe to a fault. I still envision attending a Cubs World Series game at Wrigley Field. No World Series this year but we’re guaranteed at least one winner will take the field in September: Bruce Springsteen plays at Wrigley September 7th & 8th. Until then, Cub fans, be patient.
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