Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Now that the white flag has officially been raised in Chicago and "Red States Randy" has the playoffs all to himself, us Cub fans have only two alternatives. We can wax nostalgic about the past (if we only had a past) or we can look to the future. Of course! What else have Cub fans excelled at since September of 1909 (possibly the first year of “wait til next year” after the only two World Series victories we have) ? So not to be outdone by my father’s before me, here is my attempt at recommending a course of action that is sure to end 97 seasons of waiting.

A while back Randy wrote about a rather unhappy childhood experience he had at Wrigley Field. It seems the place was overrun by the inebriated, the rude & the vulgar. Lee Elia would later agree with him and add ‘unemployed’ to this list of adjectives. Since I have never had the misfortune at Wrigley of being seated next to anyone in this condition (although a few people on the buses back to Peoria were a little scary) I didn’t put much stock in Randy’s story. However, I have come to realize that not only must Randy’s story be true, but the blame for 97 seasons of misery can be blamed on these people!

The fact that today Wrigley Field was packed with 37,000+ fans for a game in late August, when their team is 20 games behind the Cardinals, have lost 7 of their last ten, and the #1 pitcher is lying on a gurney in the hospital is only explained by one word – ALCOHOL. Yes, the four ingredients for packing Wrigley Field are the C-U-B-S: Caps, Uniforms, Beer and Sunshine. What is taking place on the field is of little importance at this point, so it must be the ambiance.

Folks, until this situation changes there will be no World Series flags flying over Wrigley or even a League Championship flag. It is evident that the ownership of Chicago National League Ball Club, Inc is quite happy, thank you very much, with the economic success of this franchise. All that is required of ownership is to appear to make an effort to place a competitive team on the field and then the loyal C-U-B-S (the above type) fans will pack the place day in and day out.

It is time for a change. The way I see it, true Cub lovers, who are in it for the baseball rather than the beer have only two courses of action. 1) either initiate that dreaded, but sometimes effective word, BOYCOTT ; or 2) Do something really, really, really drastic and work to change the ownership of the team. Yes, the ownership. I would like to see the ownership out on the curbs. The disaster that is the 2005 season is not the fault of Dusty Baker. Granted, he does some lame-brained things once in a while, but every manager does. It is also not Jim Hendry’s fault. I do not believe that this guy, who did a brilliant job of putting together the superb 2003 and the good, but under-achieving 2004 team suddenly turned stupid last winter. Certainly the Sosa debacle poisoned the entire winter reconstruction process, but I also think that ownership wanted to reign Hendry in. The payroll was really starting to cut into their profits. I believe that the present ownership is just very simply short-sighted. They worry that busting the payroll bubble will do too much harm to their bottom line. And it probably would for one or two years. But if they went all out to win like they should and achieved it, the increase in the value of this already (and inexplicably) wildly popular franchise would go through the roof!

So what should happen? It would be nice to see a group of investors come together to pool enough cash and securities to purchase probably what would be the most expensive franchise in history, save only the Yankees. The new ownership would then severe all ties with the Tribune Co and WGN-TV and Radio. This media machine has also contributed heavily, heavily, heavily to the continued misadventures of this franchise by successfully hyping an inferior product on a naïve customer base year after stinkin’ year. Heck, in my opinion their ownership of the team should be considered an anti-trust violation. The new owners should sign new broadcast contracts with independent media outlets with absolutely no ties whatsoever to ownership. The broadcast companies should have the right to sign the talent of their own choice for the broadcasts. (If they want to hire Ronnie, Stoney, or whomever that’s fine.)

I know this is radical. I’m sure most of you feel this is at best unrealistic and probably downright silly. But I am convinced that unless the fans either get serious about a boycott, or an ownership team is assembled that wants to WIN, not just compete for the profits, there will never be a World Championship on the north side. No, let's change the acronym C-U-B-S to stand for 'Cub Fans United for Baseball Success'!

I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is. I’m just a regular 9 to 5 schmuck, and an idiot with a keyboard. But if some people out there with the brainpower and the backing to lead this process would step forward, I would be eager to invest a couple thousand bucks of my retirement savings toward seeing this happen.

After all, what good will retirement be if I have to spend it enduring 20 more seasons of this crap?