If there are five stages of Grief, how many stages are there for the 2010 Cubs
Maybe it is spillover from the Blackhawks, or maybe its just that we are pretty deep in the calendar. But it appears that whatever little civility left in this year's version of the Cubs has died, and the cracks in the psychic foundation are now becoming more noticeable.
We have heard all year from the beat reporters, Paul Sullivan, Bruce Miles, that the Cubs clubhouse is a good clubhouse, that this bunch likes playing together, likes being together, want to pull for one another. Why would they say it if it weren't true, and if it is true, then no matter how poorly we played the first 10 weeks of this season, perhaps there is hope that a good bunch of guys looking out for one another may still yet pull it together?
I mean, there is absolutely NO logical reason why they should be able to just turn things around, but then again, there are few reasons why every member of this team, save the new guys, Byrd, Marmol and Silva, have utterly underproduced so far this year. Every single one. So if two "absolutely NO"s cancel one another out, and if it is true that there is team unity, and since we're less than 7 games behind the Evil Satanic Red Fowl, there may as well be hope. I mean, provided someone out of the 25 steps up and leads this dispirited rabble.
Couple of things popped up yesterday, though, that frankly, I totally believe and utterly quenches any small flames of hope you might have for this year.
Don't know how many of you read Bleed Cubbie Blue yesterday? One of Al's longtime guys posted that contrary to the assertions of Sully and Miles, the Cubs clubhouse is not a good one, that there isn't any sort of cohesion, and in fact Z and Ramirez have kind of withdrawn from the rest of the team, and nobody is really missing them much. Wellll, then that led to a whole huge controversy about whether this was the smoking gun that leads to the firing of manager Lou, and Bruce Miles actually got on there to assert that the manager has nothing to do with the clubhouse, etc, then there was the questioning of Grown Ass Men, and last I heard, it degenerated to a discussion about whether the iTouch 4 was better than the Droid.
(To hell with you kids and your non-existent attention spans. Don't you know that big men with big dreams and long attention spans built this gatdam country? Get your mangy ass off my lawn...)
Bruce may be right in some respects. It is not a MLB manager's job to conduct mediated sessions to nurture team building. Baseball is not like the other three big team sports in this country, there is the concept of a player having a role and living up to certain responsibilities in their role, but individual effort counts for more in baseball. In other sports, you need an assist from your teammates to score, or to shut the other team out. In baseball, you can hit homers, or strike out a bunch of batters.
Miles noted that Lou sits in his office, making out lineups, studying notes, and does not come out to chitchat with his players. He notes his is typical manager behavior, and thus he is not responsible for team unity, even if Z and Ramirez are sitting in the corner pouting. Fair enough.
The point is, however, that both players have struggled this year, and none of their teammates have stepped up to publicly support them. Teammates HAVE stepped up in the past to support Lee, Soriano, and Dempster, for example, when they had their struggles. Silence is telling in this matter.
There have been other recent assertions in the press and elsewhere, about Randy Wells's "preparation", an euphenism for "nightlife". He may have Maddux-esque control when he is on, but obviously does not have Maddux's mental strength. Lou himself seemed to have quite the red ass last week about The Riot, when he benched him for his lack of plate discipline. Although the Riot does deserve it, I found it peculiar that Ryan was singled out on a team where nobody AT ALL hit in May. The Riot, as worthless as he was, was no worse in May than, say, Fukudome? Why was he singled out?
Most recently, after yesterday's comical 10th inning in Milwaukee, one of the Cubs finally stepped up and criticized his teammates for not thinking, for being nonchalant, for not appreciating the effort it takes to win. YAY?
I mean, I myself have been clamoring for someone to speak out since the 2008 NLDS, and finally someone has? Too bad it's the good mitt, no hitt three-fingered wonder himself, back-up catcher Koyie Hill. Should I take what I can get? I don't know. I'm not sure I would accept it from a lifetime .218 hitter. Hill can say what he wants, and what he says is 100% accurate. I just do not believe it will have much impact, as it would if it were coming from someone who was actually, you know, good?
The only hope any of us have for this year is for all 25 highly paid, lowly motivated slacker-ass mopes to look in the mirror and recommit themselves to putting in the effort and fullfilling the responsibilities that got them where they are in the first place. Is that gonna happen? Why should it? In this culture, we take our cues from above, and what's up there?
Just some old, tired guy, who may or may not be charged with motivating his 25 grown-assed millionaires to earn their keep, but he might want to try shaving once in a while, walking faster than a teetering wobble, and acting like he gave a rat's ass.
UPDATE: just as I was finishing this up, Lou decides Steve Stone is his whipping boy. Well, well...as we all know, that's definitely one Stage of Cubness, to take your misplaced anger out on Steve Stone. Two years passed between the time that the Dustbag ran Stone out of the booth and the time he himself left town.
I hope it doesn't take Lou two whole years to leave.