I am used to seeing some pretty awful stuff written in the Sun-Times. After years of employing Jay Marriotti, you pretty much just expected ooze to seep from the newspaper, but you get used to the usual players. Telander lives off his reputation and phones in the occasional column consisting of one word paragraphs, shallow analysis and stale jokes. Ginnetti pumps out puff pieces that make Al Yellon's interviewing skills look hard-hitting. Gordo pretty much just waits for Sullivan to write something and then changes the Zambrano jokes a little.
But I happened upon a piece the Sun-Times published that makes them all look like Mensa members. Forgive me for making you read it too, but I figured we should all suffer together.
I give you Gary Karton, ex-Cubs fan and speechwriter from Washington, DC, and his disappointment in the Cubs almost-hiring of Theo Epstein:
Root for Theo if you want, but I want my Cubs back
We're only at the headline and my head already hurts.
I never thought the day would come when I’d actually be rooting against the Cubs. But that’s what I’m forced to do now that Theo Epstein is coming to Chicago.
Wow, I wonder what Theo Epstein did to this guy as a child that would make him disavow his favorite team. If it involves anything less than Theo killing his dad and framing him for the murder, I'm going to be pretty disappointed.
This won’t be easy. I practically grew up at Wrigley Field. When I was a reporter for the Washington Post, I was known as the “guy in the Cubs hat.”
That is the worst nickname ever. Maybe Theo is the one who gave him the nickname.
But Epstein isn’t the right guy for the Cubs. I could root for anyone but Epstein.
Is Karton a German name?
Don’t get me wrong, Epstein was a great GM for the Red Sox and if I were rooting for him to be the first GM in the Hall of Fame, I’d be psyched right now. If he can do for Chicago what he did for Boston, it will be great for him personally. A major part of the headline will be: “Epstein leads Red Sox and Cubs to World Series victories.” But after everything Cubs fans have been through, that’s not good enough for me.
Wait, wait, WAIT! First of all, what is this first GM in the Hall of Fame nonsense? I'm too lazy to bother looking it up, but I KNOW Pat Gillick is in there and Andy MacPhail's dad and grandpa are both in there too, so already your credibility is hanging by a string. (And who fact checks stuff at the Sun-Times?) But let's just move past that and get to the part where the Cubs hired someone you support for the Hall of Fame as a baseball executive and THAT'S NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU! Did you want them to dig up Branch Rickey or something?
And what about if the Cubs don’t win it all? When I was covering the inaugural season of the Washington Nationals in 2005, I ran into Mark Grace and asked him what was so special about playing for the Cubs.
Oh holy hell, if he says anything other than banging chicks he met at Bernie's on a nightly basis, he is fucking lying.
“I played on some bad teams,” Grace said. “But if you gave the fans an honest effort and busted your butt, they loved you win or lose. And it’s not that way everywhere.”
So Gary apparently enjoys the shitty teams that really, really try hard. This guy definitely sleeps in a Sam Fuld jersey every night.
Sadly, it’s not that way in Chicago anymore either.
And you can't take a trolley for a nickel to get into the nickelodeon for a matinee anymore either. Yeah, we decided we wanted to see some winning teams if they were going to charge us the same prices as the Red Sox and Yankees, sue us.
Several years ago, I was at a game with a few buddies.
There is no way in hell you have any friends that voluntarily go places with you.
The Cubs had already started to change. Instead of trying to win through a solid farm system, scouting, and patience (see Texas, Tampa Bay, and Epstein’s Red Sox),
When did the Cubs ever try to do that? Remember your hero, Mark Grace? That was the last position player of any quality to come out of the Cubs system. That was 1988.
they started going after high-priced free agents like Alfonso Soriano and big-name managers like Lou Piniella. The team had one of the top payrolls in the league, but it wasn’t translating into victories.
What were you watching? I was watching back-to-back division titles. In fact, the 2008 team was probably the best Cubs team in our lives.
That’s when I heard it. I’ve been to literally hundreds of games at Wrigley Field, but never heard this sound before.
“What is that?” I asked my friend.
“Boos,” he answered.
OK, I'll forgive not knowing that there are at least a few GMs in the Hall of Fame, I'll overlook the fact that you take anything Mark Grace says seriously, and I'll even grant that you could have meant that the high-priced free agents didn't translate into playoff victories, but I will NOT sit here and lend an ounce of credibility to someone who doesn't recognize the sound of boos when he hears them.
And that’s the first time I realized the Cubs were changing. Wrigley Field used to be a place to be part of something unique.
Over one hundred years without a World Series victory is as unique as it gets.
There was honor to being a Cubs fan.
I'm checking to see if "Gary Karton" is somehow an anagram for "Alvin Yellon."
We might not have been rewarded by World Series victories, but what we got was more valuable.
Lots of free time in October to enjoy the fall colors?
We got optimism. And perseverance.
And brain damage.
We believed that even though the Cubs didn’t win this year, maybe they would next year. And that was enough to keep us going.
This is seriously the biggest load of crap I have ever read that wasn't published at Bleed Cubbie Blue, but I still fail to see how any of this nonsense makes the hiring of Theo Epstein a bad thing.
The team might wear the same uniform and live in the same house, but its essence is totally different. And so is that of its fans: Look what happened to Bartman.
What the fuck does that even mean? The essence of Cubs fans is the same as the dipshits who threatened to literally kill a guy for happening to touch a baseball that was out of play? Can you please just stop with your nonsensical glorification of endlessly rooting for a team that sucks and get to your fucking point?
Yes, Epstein led the Red Sox to two world championships, but now the city is totally turning on the team because they didn’t win “this” year. I don’t want that for my team. A championship’s not worth it.
Yeah. Boston fans have inferiority complexes the size of New York City. They were like that before they won the World Series. Ask Bill Buckner. By the way, seeing as you are a "speechwriter," I would assume you should know that quotation marks don't indicate emphasis.
But you know what? I'm tired of being everyone's punchline and I want a team that does more than tries hard. I want to go to a game and not only feel like they might actually win, but that they should win. If that makes me an asshole, then I'm an asshole and I don't care.
The Cubs don’t always need to chase the biggest name. Instead, let’s do what the Red Sox did. They gave a local guy a shot. Epstein was personally invested in the team and delivered. It worked because he was one of them. Same as Nolan Ryan in Texas.
I hate to correct you on yet another error in your facts but the only reason Theo got the shot he did was because the biggest name available in 2002 changed his mind at the last second and went back to Oakland. Theo was successful because he applied advanced analytics and a larger budget to the methodology of building a team that was more intelligent than his competition at the time. His heart didn't have anything more to do with it than keeping him alive through the regular distribution of oxygen throughout his body.
And you don’t always need a homegrown guy. It’s the essence of a man that matters, not the address.
Again with the essence of something. How do you know that Theo Epstein doesn't have this essence? Oh right, because Boston is full of assholes, or something.
Look at the Pittsburgh Steelers. When Bill Cower left, everyone was calling for a big name. Instead they hired a hungry, young coach and supported him with appropriate resources and time. Look at Mike Tomlin now, and you think one thing: Steelers.
I don't want to look at the Pittsburgh Steelers. What in the flying fuck do the Pittsburgh Steelers have to do with the Cubs? The Steelers are one of the most successful sports franchises in existence. They did not need someone to completely change a culture of losing into one of winning. But I forgot, you like the losing culture as it is because that losing must be part of your essence. Am I understanding "essence" right?
Of course my buddies think I’m nuts (and a few other things I can’t print).
I'll do it for you. You are a fucking dipshit that makes me want to tear off my own arm so I can beat you with it.
They say, “I don’t care how we do it, I just want to finally win.”
I don't know your friends, and probably never will as I suspect they are probably imaginary, but they have already managed to express a more intelligent thought in one quote than you have in an entire post.
But if I’ve waited this long, invested this much, I want more.
You still haven't told me what it is you want. You want a local guy? We could just promote Greg Maddux to the GM spot and he could build a team of scrappy go-getters in between golf rounds and dick jokes. My only solace is that you haven't managed to wedge an endorsement of Former Playgirl Model and current Douchemaster General, Steve Stone into your argument.
So if you want to root for Theo Epstein to make it to the Hall of Fame, go for it. As for me, I’m rooting to get my team back. The one that has players who play their butts off, and fans who appreciate them for it. So that when the Cubs do eventually win — and I know they will one of these years — the championship will honor all the Cubs fans who have rooted for them throughout the last 100 years, not a GM from Boston.
Seriously, what did the people of Boston do to you? You are acting like the entire city of Boston stole your best girl and knocked her up. You just said it is the "essence of a man that matters, not his address." You know what? Forget it. I'm just going to go over to BCB to read a post about writing posts that explain the proper posting of posts to gain some sense of sanity back.
Good luck finding a team with as rich a history of losing that you can cheer for. Try Pittsburgh in about eighty years.