Seats Becoming Limited On The Cubs Bandwagon
Have you reserved your seat on the Cubs bandwagon?
If not, you may want to do so because they are going fast! The bandwagon has been getting so crowded the last couple of weeks, you couldn’t spit a sunflower seed without hitting a casual fan, major newspaper columnist, or a grumpy blogger that spends most of his time ripping the front office.
We all know the major reasons for the suddenly-crowded bandwagon, but let’s do a slight recap:
*The Cubs are 21-21 since calling up their first big prospect, Arismendy Alcantara.
*The Cubs are 11-10 since they called up Javier Baez.
*The Cubs are 7-1 in games started by Kyle Hendricks.
*Since July 28th, the Cubs are 18-12. That’s best in the NL Central during that time, and second behind Washington in the National League.
*Jorge Soler sent a baseball 423 feet to center field on his first Major League swing in his debut last night.
We’re all fairly excited about good baseball, but it’s important to keep things in perspective. Baez has struggled mightily with contact issues, Alcantara has a .285 OBP, and Hendricks is nowhere near as good as he’s looked.
Sorry to be the wet blanket, but it’s all true.
It doesn’t mean things aren’t looking bright for the future, though. And although it’s been obvious to those that have paid attention for the last two years, it hasn’t been quite as clear for others.
But even the people who used to plug their ears with their fingers and sing “La la la la la!” when fans brought up the rebuild are starting to come around.
Yesterday, David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune and 87.7 The Game wrote positive things about the direction of the Cubs rebuild and the call-up of Jorge Soler.
The driver of the bandwagon probably had to turn around and yell at everyone to scoot back and make room, much like a CTA bus driver or train conductor might during rush hour.
It’s especially impressive to get Haugh aboard, considering that he wrote about the respective rebuilding of the Cubs and White Sox as recent as early May, and did not write favorably of the Cubs.
In the unofficial race to respectability, the Sox have taken a slight lead over the Cubs…Unlike the Cubs, the Sox already have two potentially elite players earning major league paychecks in (Jose) Abreu and pitching ace Chris Sale.
After getting absolutely unbelievable seasons from the aforementioned Abreu and Sale, the White Sox are left with not much other than Rodon on the horizon and without a ton of assets that can be traded for young, promising players.
Abreu is fantastic, but he’ll be 28 next season. How young will he be when the Sox are good?
It was probably these realizations that led to Haugh leaping off the Sox bandwagon as it careened wildly into the parking lot of US Cellular Field and exploded in a fiery blaze (no injuries or deaths were reported, as no one was in the vicinity). The Cubs bandwagon is the cool place to be, man. We’ve got beer.
And Haugh isn’t the only one to have jumped on lately. Jason Parks is on now, even if he’s being paid to be there. Even Sun-Times beat reporter Gordon Wittenmyer, always the Negative Nancy, has been writing more positive stuff lately.
But the progress of the Cubs’ touted prospects this season, along with the All-Star bounce-backs of cornerstone big-leaguers Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo, have started the clock on the big-league part of Epstein’s rebuild…Tens of millions more will fall off the payroll at the end of the season, giving the Cubs the ability to sign the kind of player(s) they came up short on the last three winters.
Even if it had to be couched in a story questioning the time-line of the business operations, the lawsuit with the rooftops, and the state of the renovation, you can’t miss the fact that he’s totally changed his tune on the state of baseball operations and the Major League roster. Make room for one more!
And what about baseball bloggers? We can all think of at least one that is a constant voice of dissension. The kind of guy that could suck the joy out of eating candy while cuddling with puppies on a warm day by the pool at the Playboy Mansion. Well, brace yourself, and prepare to scoot down one last time.
OK, I guess you can have a little irrational exuberance now
— Al Yellon (@bleedcubbieblue) August 27, 2014
It’s been fun being a Cubs fan for the better part of the 2014 season. Take away the early struggles based on bad luck, Jose Veras, and poor-performing outfielders, and the Cubs have been respectable overall. It feels like it’s been years since we’ve been able to get this excited about anything related to Cubs baseball.
The bandwagon isn’t full yet, but we’ve moved past the point of being able to set our bags on the seat next to us. By the end of the season, we’re going to be pressed uncomfortably up against large, sweaty fans that have only just recently decided to come along for the ride.
And if you aren’t on board yet, you might want to hop on now. Once we fill up, we’re running express.