I haven’t written anything since last year (technically true), but there hasn’t been much going on regarding the Cubs anyway aside from a few anticipated DFAs to allow the reported signings to become official. In the meanwhile, like many of us who are bored out of their minds, I’ve been reading the slow drips of news that have come out during the holidays and I’ve also been playing an unreasonable amount of Angry Birds.
While destroying tens of thousands of cartoon pigs with excessive animated violence, because I have the free version of Angry Birds 2, I’ve had to sit through countless ads every few levels that are begging me to download other games or buy a new car, and of course the in-game popups that ask me to spend actual cash on extra add-ons for my birds. Since I’m not a huge fan of parting with my money unless it’s for necessities or LEGO, I pass on the microtransactions, but the ads are really infuriating. For the most part, the ads are portraying gameplay of these other games they want you to download and play, except they’re being played by someone with a negative IQ because they’re almost deliberately inept with their strategies. This is obviously on purpose because they want you to get so exasperated that you say, “You know what, I’m going to get this because I know how to do it so much better!” Out of general principle, I won’t download those games because 1) I don’t have time for another addiction and 2) they’ve pissed me off and don’t deserve my support, but I can see how such an advertising campaign could work very effectively.
This isn’t a smooth transition, but like when I get sucked into a Wikipedia wormhole, my train of thought shifted to the Cubs and how they’ve taken the shell of their former championship caliber club and started building up again. Synergizing the hopes and positive energies and narrative from the team itself, its beat writers, and the various denizens of the fan community, we are being sold on a window that is hopefully opening, although the early projections and my own not-so-empirical perception is that this team is probably going to be in third place absent some extra creative moves (free agency isn’t it anymore at this time) and disproportionately good fortune. The realistic hope is that the Cubs are going to be at least competitive in 2023 with a real move toward 2024 as a true contender, but just like we shouldn’t accept playing mobile games with the experience level of a lemur, I don’t think we should accept “third place on paper” just because they’re on the way up and building for 2024. I won’t rehash that since we’ve talked about it before, but we’ll blame Angry Birds for me even talking about it in passing.
We are a few days from the first Cubs Convention in years, and I hope the superfans and reporters attending ask some tough questions that elicit some responses that we can use to continue holding the team leadership accountable for a product we actually want to spend on. For now, especially since the Giants aren’t signing Carlos Correa anyway, I probably won’t spend more than the one Cubs @ SF game I go to each season since I came back to California. I hope for some cool trades or other indications that the Cubs are serious about not wasting 2023.