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Dear God, Please Let The Cubs Win Before I Die

Posted by Bob Swerski on August 30, 2007


When growing up on the North side of Chicago three things are certain: death, taxes, and the Cubs will lose. Not only will they lose (we haven’t won the World Series since 1908… hell, we haven’t even seen the World Series since 1945), but they will find ways to TANK come the end of the season.

Take 1969 for instance. On September 2nd of that year they defeated the Reds to have a league leading record of 84-52-1. At that very moment the decided to try losing instead of winning and posted an eight game losing streak. This went to 1-11, then to 6-15, and ended the season with a record of 92-70-1. This might not sound terrible to you non-baseball fans (actually it probably sounds terrible to everyone) but here is something to put things into perspective. On September 2nd of 1969, the New York Mets had a record of 77-55. This put us around 7 games ahead of the Mets (give or take a few because my math skills are terrible). At the end of the season (which was 1 month later, as in exactly 30 days from that point) the Mets finished with a record of 100-62. THE CUBS GAVE UP 15 GAMES IN 1 MONTH.  To further put things in to perspective, if that happened in the National League Central this year, the Astros or Pirates could over take the Cubs and win the division by about five games.

This year you might see very little difference because right now the Cubs have the best team in the National League Central, but lack certain skills to close the division. The Cubs lack charisma and hustle. Today’s game is a prime example of both things not being present. It is the small things that win ball games like running around the bases, hustling to make plays, and putting forth your best effort which will win these games down the stretch. The worst of these players is Alfonso Soriano. Soriano has gotten by only on his skill and not on his hustle or will to win.

Last night against the Brewers was a prime example. The Cubs scored their only run on a Ramirez sacrifice fly which scored Carlos Zambrano. Soriano decided to walk to third and stroll in while getting tagged out on a great throw from right field. He didn’t hustle, he didn’t slide, he slowly strolled into third after the tag was applied. Luckily for the Cubs the umpire made a bad call and Soriano was safe. This is simply the latest in a series of being picked off, missed outfield fly balls, and complete lack of heart and hustle from our “star” left fielder. Don’t get me wrong now, he is a talented ball player…probably one of the best in the league… but his lack of effort is hurting the ball club and could lead to them falling in the final stretch here.

I should now go on record by stating that I still think the Cubs are going to win the division. It should be noted though that if the Cubs can find a way to lose alot of games in the stretch they probably will


3 Responses to “Dear God, Please Let The Cubs Win Before I Die”

  1. mermitage said

    You’re certainly entitled to your opinion, but I never understood the “not hustling” angle for fans criticizing a team. Because, almost invariably, a highly-productive player like Soriano (or Sosa before him) is the target of such rants. Soriano has an .858 OPS, leads the team in home runs despite missing time, and probably leads the team in outfield assists. He’s also second on the team in stolen bases. And let’s not forget, he’s nursing a quad injury that may curtail some of the “hustle” that you criticize him for lacking. Listen, I understand if you want to criticize Soriano for wanting to bat first (although I’ve never seen or heard this directly from him), or Jim Hendry for way over-spending on him. But the facts remain that he is one of the most productive players on the Cubs, and if the Cubs fail to make the playoffs, the blame can most likely go to other parts of a sputtering offense, or a team ERA near 5.00 in the last month.

  2. I’m not blaming him for losing, I’m calling it as I see it. Sosa was never accused of not hustling when playing the field. Sosa on the contrary had more hustle then almost anyone in the league… always running for foul balls and pop ups, ect. As for homeruns, that has nothing to do with his heart or his lack of hustle. As I said before he is super talented and a great hitter. He has alot of outfield assists because he doesn’t run hard enough to catch the ball in the first place. He might have alot of stolen bases but he also has alot of pick offs and base running errors. You are correct, there are alot of factors that tie into the Cubs losing, lack of offensive protection, lack of quality starts from certain starters, all that jazz. My criticism however I believe still is valid and Soriano still needs to hustle whether it is playing the outfield or running the bases. P.S. he is second in stolen bases and FIRST in caught stealing. He also has more errors then any other Cubs outfielder.

  3. russell devita said

    los angeles times magazine is requesting one-time rights to reproduce photograph of cubs fan praying for a victory (it was posted with comments by bob swerski on august 30, 2007.

    please call (213) 237-7635. thanks

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