Since the Tom Ricketts and the Chicago Cubs hired Theo Epstein as the new President of Baseball Operations and Jed Hoyer as the new General Manager, fans have had sky high expectations about the future of their team. While there are many fans who understand what exactly the new management team are trying to accomplish, there are still many fans who I do not think quite get the plan. They want to see instant results and see a contending team immediately put on the field for the 2012 season.
This faction of Cub fans are the ones who are showing signs of frustration towards Epstein and Hoyer for a number of moves they have made so far. They do not like that the Cubs basically took themselves out of the running to sign slugging free agent first baseman Prince Fielder by not bending over a barrel to give him a contract that would compare quite nicely to the one Albert Pujols received. They are not happy that they have traded away Sean Marshall, who has become one of the better relief pitchers in baseball, for a young and unproven starting pitcher, and now they are not overly thrilled with the idea that they may allow Kerry Wood to once again leave the Cubs organization by not meeting his contract demands which may or may not be unreasonable. However, signs this afternoon point to his return on a one year deal with an option for 2013. I suspect a deal will be announced at the Cubs Convention.
As I stated yesterday, I do not think that they really care what fans want when trying to put a team on the field, nor should they. They can not allow a fan’s emotion to sway their baseball decisions because that is a sure fire way to get yourself backed into a corner with a team which, while being well loved by the fans, may not be able to be in contention.
The only piece of advice that I can give to Cub fans, and fans of any other baseball or sports team, is to just sit back and enjoy the ride. If you allow yourself to get upset over moves that the front office makes, or does not make, you will not be able to enjoy the season to the fullest extent. You will constantly be waiting for the other shoe to drop. For instance, if the Cubs and Wood are unable to come to terms on an agreement, fans will be waiting for which ever pitcher replaces him to fail just so they can say “I told you they should have kept Wood around”. You would think that they were waiting with anticipation for something to go wrong just so they can be proven right. How is that going to help anyone to enjoy a baseball season?
Everyone knows that the greatest season a fan can have, is a season in which their team is able to capture the championship! However, in my opinion, while a winning team is always fun to watch, the greatest time to be a fan of a team is when they are starting to get good. While watching a team win a championship is a feeling that can not be matched, watching a team grow in front of your eyes might be the greatest way to enjoy the sensation of being a fan of that team.
Look at what has happened with the Chicago Blackhawks and Chicago Bulls. While going through a drought that left them without a championship for nearly 50 years, the Blackhawks went through their own rebuilding phase. They drafted great young players, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, added fans were able to watch them grow into a championship contender every year for the past few years which included a Stanley Cup Championship in 2010. Watching them win the cup was unbelievable, and knowing that you were their from the beginning as they grew made things all that much better.
With the Bulls have a great collection of young talent, like Derrick Rose, and fans have been able to watch him grow before their very eyes becoming the Most Valuable Player in the NBA last year. Watching this team rebuild for what seems like the 20th time since they last won the championship has been amazing. They have been knocking of the door for a few years now and will eventually kick the damn thing down and hold that trophy high as champions.
The Cubs are at the beginning of the building stage. Things may very well start off slow and there will surely be some rocky roads ahead for the next year or two, but watching the team grow right before your eyes and watching them grow into a contender will be very exciting. Almost like watching your kid swing a bat for the very first time, watching him learn to play the game of baseball. While these next few years are likely going to be a struggle to get through, the ride that turns this ball club back into a yearly contender could very well be a fun one.
So stop complaining about what the Cubs have done or have not done. Your complaints will not change anything the front office decides to do or not do. So just sit back and enjoy the ride!