The Chicago Cubs are on a tear, and it’s been fun to watch even as they’ve barely made up ground on the other two really good teams in the division/league/majors. That’s the way the cookie crumbles sometimes, so we’ll just have to be happy that as of now, the Cubs have a chance. And if recent memory is any indication, it’s a really really good chance.
Onward for some thinks…
On the Cubs’ chances at the October:
This thread is ridiculous:
How much of a sad person do you have to be to always dwell on the worst-case scenario? I mean, sure, there are no guarantees in baseball, but right now the Cubs are GOOD. They are #wearegood good. They can justify it with their play and their record. Why can’t you be happy? Who shot your dog?
— FanGraphs Baseball (@fangraphs) August 16, 2015
See? That’s good! But no, let’s nay say…
This fuckin' guy… pic.twitter.com/SZbP77VPUL
— Rice Cube (@CubicSnarkonia) August 16, 2015
Insanity. I mean, sure, he could turn out to be right, but that’s kind of like hoping for something really bad to happen so that you CAN be right. Who does that?
On inclusion, tolerance and acceptance:
Once upon many a time, we’ve blogged about the fact that MLB now has an Ambassador of Inclusion and the overwhelming majority of ball players not named Torii Hunter are generally accepting and understanding of potentially gay teammates. It helps that our team, the Chicago Cubs, are very accepting, especially with one of their owners being a lesbian even though her brothers are weird conservatives.
Saturday, we were treated to a really nice article from Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. It details the path of Brewers prospect David Denson, who had to struggle with his sexuality in the context of his professional baseball career as well as in his personal life. The story itself has a happy ending as Denson was accepted by his teammates, the Brewers organization, his family and MLB. I’d suggest you read it. There will come a day when stories like these are background noise, but despite what transpired this summer with respect to the Supreme Court and the law, we’re not quite there yet. But we’ll continue to have cool stories like this.
On Theo Epstein’s future:
Boston Globe reporter Nick Cafardo, who is always good for solid info, had this to say in his Sunday column:
9. Theo Epstein, president, Cubs — His contract runs through 2016 at about $4 million per year. One would expect owner Tom Ricketts to re-up soon to avoid a lame-duck status given how Epstein has rebuilt the team to the point where it should contend for many years to come. Will Ricketts dangle enough salary to keep him there? Maybe make him as well-paid as Dodgers GM Andrew Friedman at $7 million per year? Or will Epstein look elsewhere? Like coming home?
All of this is true. Friedman got paid $35MM over five years. Theo Epstein has pretty much knocked his initial five-year plan out of the park, and now most of us Cubs fans are excited about the next decade (because this five-year plan isn’t even done yet!). Tom Ricketts is under some pressure to meet or exceed Friedman’s contract to do right by Epstein and company, but I doubt we have to worry about this despite Cafardo’s speculation.
For one, it seems Ricketts is receptive to keeping people in place who are able to make him money (Crane Kenney, for reasons we can’t comprehend but whatever) and make the baseball team run well (that includes Epstein, Jed Hoyer, and Jason McLeod, who has always been on the GM want list for all non-Cubs teams). For another, given the increase in attendance this year (check out the numbers, Wrigley is PACKED!) and the associated revenues from the Jumbotron etc., there is money to be spent, and that money is a drop in the bucket compared to what, say, Jon Lester is making. Finally, there’s no way, after rebuilding this organization from the ground up, that either Epstein or Ricketts will consider a divorce of any sort unless something super messy happens (I hope it won’t). So let’s keep an eye on this for the offseason, because I don’t think Theo will be a lame duck.