What a difference a year makes
As one of the two original founding members still writing here on occasion, this site was formed at a time of guarded optimism for our Chicago Cubs. It was after the 2004 season, a season that on paper should have brought us at least post-season play. In fact, if you did the idealistic blue-kool-aid math, and added Greg Maddux and the young Derrek Lee to a team who came 5 outs from a World Series, it should have meant much more than mere post-season play. So in those heady days, we braced for an apocalypse.
Either the Cubs were finally going to fulfill their destiny the next year and win the whole thing (which would result in what? Lord only knows what would honestly happen) or the whole thing would have to be blown up (which would have been, we thought, apocalyptic in its own right). What happened?? Well, the next two years royally sucked, but there was no real bloodletting, the Dusty Baker era went out with a whimper rather than a bang.
Then the Tribune was bought with purposes of maximizing asset valuation. The new owner trusted his baseball men when he was told that spending LOTS of money was the way to build equity. This brought us to two immediate division titles, and midway through the following year is when this site had its own Meta-apocalypse. GROTA as we knew it, blew up.
On the surface, it appeared to be about my own insensitivity towards the Gay community, of all things. Just like this past weekend, there was the Cubs/Sox series at Cell Hell, the Taste of Chicago started, and the Gay Pride parade took place up on the North Side. One of us attended the parade. The other (me) attended a heartbreaking 9-8 walkoff defeat, whereupon my wife and I were verbally assaulted by all sorts of under-educated Sox fans - and many of the slings were unfortunately related to Wrigley Field's proximity to "Boys Town", the predominately Gay neighborhood which borders it to the East.
So, unfortunately, I was overcome by irony to find out that while I was being called fifty types of foul names, my cohort was at the Parade, and I insinuated that he should have been watching the game instead of being at the parade. This pissed him off, and rather than apologize, I didn't. The four of us founders picked sides, and unfortunately, half of us aren't on here anymore.
Now, here's the funny thing, that actually relates to the 2010 team: I can't say for sure, but I would like to think that it was not my "insensitivity" that broke us apart, because, Number One, I think it no more intelligent to discriminate against homosexuals than it is to discriminate against their race, gender, height, or anything else a person is born with. I would hope that was understood.
The second reason, though, felt like it had more validity: the other two guys were of the opinion that we had just enjoyed two great seasons, and they fully expected that last year would be great, as well. At this point in the year last year, we were floundering, playing .500 ball, but most folks believed, truly believed, Lou Piniella would lay his finger on the magic formula, Jim Hendry would make the magic mid-season move, and the Cubs would succeed once again.
The problem was, I did not see it that way, and came out here over and over again to say so. The same article where I appeared insensitive toward "teh gheys" was primarily about the lousy bullpen which, along with the insistence to bat Soriano leadoff, Ramirez' injury, Zambrano's immaturity (hey!) and especially Soto's completely abandoning his dedication towards his craft, and all I saw was gloom, doom, and a return to the lousy years I knew so well from my childhood.
Nearly all of you, including our two co-founders, thought I was just pissing on the Cheerios as usual. Accused me of being a professional complainer, someone who would bitch about a good steak. Late last June, there was still universal hope that the Chicago Cubs were still a great team.
What about now? Now we pat ourselves on the back for moral victories. "Hey, we lost 3-2 to the Sox Saturday night, but at least we played well, especially after the (latest) Zambrano incident". "Whee! We beat the Sox (1 out of 3) yesterday!" I look to our Shout Box: "God, I hate everything about this team. Everything"; "I'm suck of him. Cut him. Designate him for assignment. He's a loser"; "Good old Zambrano - fighting his own teammates again".
What a difference a year makes. My point is: you're all intelligent people. If you had chosen last year to look at what was going on with your heads instead of your squishy blue hearts, you would have seen us playing exactly the same way: dead ass! Our manager was just as stuttery and non-plussed last year as he is now. He really is no worse than this time last year: the first clues that Lou was not in fact a Magic Man was when he blamed a lack of left-handed hitting for the sweep in 2008, instead of what really mattered: a lack of on-field leadership and motivation, along with a lack of 1-2 hitters to kickstart our offense. I knew all that. My question has always been: why didn't you?
Look at it this way: if, instead of a headlong pursuit of Milton Bradley two winters ago, what if Jim and Lou decided instead to pursue the best leadoff man? Would we be better off right at this moment? Yeah, I think so, too.