I think I want to see another few years of this version of the postseason before I start lobbying for one of AC’s fun ideas to change things up. What I am sure of, at this time, is that the NLCS was a lot of fun to watch. Even if I’ve been a little bored with three-true-outcomes baseball, when the Phillies, including former Cubs legend Kyle Schwarber, hit a homer, it is majestic and tons of silly fun. Besides missing Schwarber doing this for the Cubs (in the playoffs too would be nice), I’m also annoyed with the missing out on Manny Machado and Bryce Harper. I know lots of people are telling me to get over it, which is fair, but I think as Cubs fans in this era, it is more than fair to expect a team that charges the ticket prices they do to invest in the product on the field to make it much more fun than it has been.
Don’t get me wrong, it has been periodically entertaining to watch the 2021 and 2022 Cubs, but it has been more than apparent that through myriad failings, the team that we enjoyed so much up until the tail end of 2018 was allowed to fall into disrepair (the jabronii and I talked about this in the most recent Dreamcast) with little apparent support from ownership to add or repair in a timely fashion. And seeing how much fun the Phillies are having, I also realize how much I miss seeing the Cubs in the mix. I’d like the 2023 Cubs to get back to the postseason, and I would also like them to learn from the lessons of this past core and avoid squandering all that talent and potential. As indicated in this article by The Athletic, there really is no excuse for the Cubs to make a serious attempt at improving the club, now and in the future. There are plenty of pieces to work with, both on the roster given the upcoming crunch before Rule 5 and available on the free agent market.
I think as Cubs fans, we should expect the people with the obscene amounts of money to throw some of it at the players we know are good based on their track records, whether they’re free agents like Carlos Correa, or extendable stars-in-the-making like Nico Hoerner. I want to avoid having to trade away fan favorites and allowing them to walk without a serious extension attempt, though it is arguable that they tried with guys like Javier Baez and Kris Bryant (I think a lot of the issues with them has to do with coaching but I guess I don’t have a lot of evidence for that other than my own feelings). I’d like to see the Cubs do something like what Atlanta is doing by extending their young core for pretty much the next decade so we can have some continuity to root for again.
I do recognize that a lot of folks out there are rationalizing the last couple teardowns in their own way, but I personally am going to hold the rich bastard owners accountable for giving me something I can root for besides the laundry. Despite the postseason being a bit of a crapshoot, given the way MLB and MLBPA are approaching it, we have to contend with getting a spot in the field and hope for some of the chaos we have seen from the Padres and Phillies this year. As has been said many times before in this and other forums, you can’t win the World Series if you’re not even able to get in the playoffs. Given that it is far more fun to watch the Cubs win than just sneak in, and the number of resources that should be available to this club, they should be shooting for the bye within the next few years, and our minimum expectation for next year is a wild card berth and a shot at some chaos. Obviously we can’t predict injuries and bad performances, but they need to objectively show that they’re serious about the long term contention that they promised those years ago, even after we got the one before we die.
After all, if I’m going to pay that much for a set of tickets and a crappy hot dog, I think what I’m asking for is reasonable, no?