Cubs 101 - Pt. 75 - A Retrospective
Back around early March of this year, I had an idea. Y'see, blogging about baseball is not always easy -- everybody can probably name numerous blogs that they've read that have withered and died as blogger interest has waned. GROTA has outlived a lot of them, and for a blog that's now existed for four seasons of Cubs baseball we are surprisingly prolific. Part of that reason is because we have figured out a key secret: if you know what you're going to write about weeks -- or even months -- in advance, then it's a little easier to actually keep things going. And it was during Spring Training that I realized that a fun topic to write about which would keep us busy all summer long would be this one -- a history of the Cubs from our perspective, the Cub fans who write on this site. It would only serve as an introduction -- just like a university level 101 course, and it would be told in this, the 101st consecutive year without a title.
Of course, there were some problems. First, most of us weren't born until the 80's -- therefore most of the Cubs history we'd be writing about would be circumstantial. Second, we knew going into it that we'd be writing the most prolifically about the recent past, primarily because that's the past we've lived through.
But the thing is, the recent past of Cubs baseball really has been some of the most compelling. Since 2003, the scrutiny around the organization has been at an extremely high level. Before '03, Cub fans had been stuck with -- and had at one point perhaps cultivated -- the reputation of having a relaxed, support-the-team-no-matter-what attitude that resulted in high attendance even in years of mediocrity. But when that ball bounced off Bartman's outstretched hands, when Mark Prior booted his brain just as Alex Gonzalez booted that double play ball, our heartbreak modified changed our outlook to a more urgent one -- we wanted to win, even as some of us came to believe we were cursed to always fail.
And so more than ever the outlook and attitude of Cub fans these last five years have been hostile, angry, and demanding. In some ways, our emotionally perilous journey through the Baker Years into the Piniella Resurgence demands more than just the last 20-or-so Cubs 101 articles. But then again, covering those years and that frustration (and moments of elation) is what this blog has always been about, so I guess we've done okay in that department.
Still, in a lot of ways, for no fault of anybody but my own I would call this series a failure, or at least a middling success at best. There's just too much history for such a short series. But at least we didn't sing the praises of Rick Wilkins as being one of the greatest Cubs of all time, or anything else particularly worthy of scorn. I'm glad we wrote it, not only because it provided regular content at a time when content was sometimes hard to come by (how often can we write about the insanity of Milton Bradley, for instance?).
Chances are, we aren't actually finished with Cubs 101. We've met our 75 article obligation, but I think there's more to tell. There are stories -- and players -- we've glossed over. There are unforgettable moments that we forgot about. Cubs 101 just might become a regular part of this blog for so long as this blog exists, although there will be no more 3 or 4 a week posts.
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