Last night I fell asleep with Motley Crue’s song “Same old Situation” playing over and over in my head. After watching the Chicago Cubs once again blow a winnable game, not once but twice, can you blame me? They continue to find ways to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, and even though each day is a new adventure, this act is getting old rather quickly. The only difference in these losses is waiting to see which player will become the one to make the costly mistake, if there is only one.
The problem is not that this is a bad team which continually gets beat by better, more talented teams. I can take losses when we get beat, that is not an issue and never will be. Last year, the Cubs were a really bad team that never stood a chance They earned those losses by being every bit as bad as they appeared to be. They were a bad team and looked like the 100 loss team that they were at seasons end. I accepted those losses because they were bad, and generally looked as though they had no idea what they were doing, and looked like they should not even be wearing a Major League uniform.
No, the problem comes in when you watch a team continually beat themselves and give their wins away. That has happened more often than not in this young season, and has happened in multiple ways. The Cubs have had their defense looking like a little league team making errors on routine plays, which lead to extra outs and unearned runs. The Cubs have had pitchers making all sorts of errors, throwing the ball all over the diamond, balking in the winning run or serving up a game tying home run while being one strike away from victory. The Cubs also cannot find a pitcher who is able to get three outs in the ninth inning to close out the game. While bad teams do not need a closer, the Cubs could have three or four more wins if they actually had one.
I know that the Cubs are a bad team, and these are mistakes that bad teams make. That is what separates the good teams from the bad teams in this game. The good teams either do not make these costly mistakes, or they find ways to overcome those mistakes and pull out a victory. This is why the Cubs are not a good team, they cannot find a way to overcome their mistakes.
Losing games in this fashion is getting rather old. To be honest, if I had a choice, I would rather see the Cubs getting thumped and destroyed every game instead of watching them lose game after game by giving the victory away. That is completely unacceptable, and in normal situations would cost people their jobs. However, the Cubs are not in a normal situation, so jobs will likely not be lost at any point during the season.
Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod built this team knowing there would be struggles along the way that would make Cub fans want to pull their hair out because they would reach a level of bad this city has not seen in decades. They did not hire Dale Sveum because he would be a great strategic manager who would be able to pull wins out of a magic hat. He was hired because they felt he was the best manager available to teach the game of baseball to his younger players; such as Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo, Welington Castillo and all who come up after them. He is not being graded on the team’s record, but on how he is developing the younger talent.
That being said, I am not sure they envisioned a team like this that should be a lot better if not for the mental lapses, little league errors and poor pitching decisions. I am sure that even though they built a team to fail and sell off as parts, they are not happy with seeing them fall apart at the most crucial moments of the game, and gift wrap the victory for the other team.
Yes, despite the dismal record, this year’s team has the promise to be far better than last year’s team, if only they were able to overcome these mistakes. Last year, when the team was thought to be dead and buried in a game, they gave up. They picked up their ball and went home. This year, the team fights to the bitter end, and usually finds themselves in position to win, despite doing all they can to lose. They are just unable to execute in pivotal moments when the game is on the line.
That is the most frustrating part of this season,. Not that they are on pace for a worse season than last year, but that they are shooting themselves in the foot along the way.