Goatriders of the Apocalypse

The "Night Stalker" and the long haul

Once upon a sunny dog-day dreary I pondered weak and weary over a Cubbie-related queary... Can it be as simple as" It's the day games stupid " !

Mike Royko wrote "It's not the damn Billy Goat" that was responsible for so many years of losing but cheap, stupid, rascist-like  policies of the chewing-gum magnate.

You would think 101 years would have at least produced one series victory. 1908 is a long-ass time ago Virginia !  Santa aint around to teach Soriano how to field or Bradley how to...field and hit and count.

Could it be the park ? Wrigley is what it is. Our shrine to afternoons and cutting classes ,frosty malts, old style , left field sucking or was it right field sucking and occassionally baseball that is worth watching.

Unfortunately look around at the new-old parks in Philly, Pittsburgh, San Diego etc...see how beautiful they are, how close you are and just imagine how nice the clubhouse is for the players.

Could it be the day games ? If Harden is affected by it how many others are in ways that can't be quantified ? I have sat near the dugout in the sun and at night and can tell you there is a big difference. it's hard work hefting the beer cup and cold hot dog just imagine playing.  Can it really be that simple ? Don't you think that 81 games the majority in the sun and heat can add up at season's end ? Is there a difference with the wind speed and direction at night ? If every other team is playing mostly at night or indoors and we are not could it really be one of the big factors in the 101 year drought? 

I was reminded of that last year on Sep 20th when my family rested their arms on the brick wall decked out in Cubbie Blue getting sprayed by Champagne -wielding Mark DeRosa watching our team celebrate like it was the world series instead of only a stinking Division crown. How beautiful the day was with bright blue sky.How horrible the playoffs against the Dodgers.

Could it be that simple that the last team to go to lights and occassional night games just needs more of them ? I know it's a tired old argument but one I think needs revisiting. Kurt are ther any stats to show wind speed and direction during the day and at night ? Should I just delete the previous rambling diatribe and continue to watch and wait and wonder and worry and watch and wait and wait......

I think it's very much human

I think it's very much human nature to blame factors out of our control rather than to accept that people -- theoretically factors WITHIN our control -- are responsible for the woes of the team (for example, if your dad is anything like my father-in-law, if he gets a virus on his computer it's because his son was using ANOTHER computer at the same time .. apparently that sort of thing is more believable than the possibility that he clicked on the wrong thing at the wrong website).

If we wanted to build a Blame Wrigley/Day-Night Game Argument, we'd have to observe a ton of different factors. The problem is that like any ballpark, Wrigley is a different place to play in April than it is in July than it is in September, whether it's a day or night game. Still, that's a factor within our control -- a ballpark with a multitude of conditions is HUGE home field advantage because who would know better about those conditions than the team that plays there 81 times a year?

Same thing with day/night games ... they should be a HUGE advantage because teams coming into the city are used to playing at night, run the risk of staying out later than they should, and may come to the ballpark feeling more sluggish than they otherwise might.

Regardless of all that, while there have been some years where the Cubs struggled to win at home, their best seasons - like 2008 - are ones in which they dominate at Wrigley and play formidably well on the road, too. If the Cubs can win at Wrigley SOME years, then there's no reason to think that the park, or the schedule, are conditions for their inability to win a Series.

Which brings us back to the controllable factor -- the human beings who have run the team. Your first question, in my mind, is the right one -- if you want to blame anything or anybody for 101 years of futility, blame the guy who took over the team in the 1930's and ran them into the ground until his death in the late 1970's. Then blame the faceless conglomerate that took over ownership after that point because their interest was more in the bottom line than the team's record in the standings.

I'll admit that I don't read his every word, but one thing I've liked about Lou is that he hasn't blamed the way Baker did. Dusty wanted to blame the day games, the fans for not being supportive, or anything else that meant he wouldn't have to shoulder any responsibility. I don't think Piniella has done that, and I respect him for it.


I would think windspeed, direction, temperatures, etc. have nothing to do with it on a day-to-day (or night-to-night?) basis. The only way such factors would have an effect is if your team is built for (or against) such factors. Wind calm at night + rotation made up of flyball pitchers + offense made of small-ballers, might make your team better at night, for example. Otherwise, the game-time factors are the same for both teams.

Where I do believe it makes *some* difference (the majority being the ownership woes throughout the years -- Remember the Tribune Company just came to life with the Cubs financially in the past maybe 10 years, and their performance in the last decade has been better than most, though not enough to win a WS just yet) is in a possibly "draining" effect on the players. Day-to-night turnarounds, playing in the heat regularly, etc.

So yes, I think it has some effect from that standpoint, but not enough to make it a good reason/excuse. Other teams probably have their own effects detracting from their performance (i.e. not being used to playing often in the daytime hurting them vs. the Cubs)

Chicago Tribune's Chicago's Best Blogs award