Monthly Archives: October 2007

Is Cubdom Doomed Forever or Can Their Luck Change?

Go Polar Cows Go!  Go Polar Cows Go!

A sweep of the Cubs in Wrigley, what a surprise.  I am not certain if you noticed any sarcastic tone but let me assure you it’s there.  Another year, another disappointment.  Yet none of this surprises me.  We have been there before.  The Cubs made it to the promised land back in 1945.  Yes, back in the year the U.S. was dropping bombs on Japan!  But we have won divisions and had an opportunity to challenge for a championship.  There were the great teams of 1969, 1984, 1989, 1998, 2001, 2003 and 2007.  By all rights the baseball gods should have shined down on the Cubs during at least one of these seasons.  How the Cubs didn’t play the Orioles in 1969 is beyond me.  Why they didn’t meet the Tigers, in what could have been the greatest World Series of this half century in 1984 is a mystery.  How the Cubs let a meeting with the Yankees slip from their grasp in 2003 baffles the savviest of baseball minds.

So the question should be WHY?  I have seen the likes of Santo, Williams, Jenkins, Sandberg, Sutcliffe, Lee Smith, Dawson, Prior, Wood, Sosa and so many other Cub greats come and go and not one banner raised.  Leo Durocher, Jim Frey, Don Zimmer, Don Baylor, Dusty Baker and Lou Piniella are a virtual who’s who in MLB managers.  Why didn’t Leon come up with the grounder, why couldn’t we get Kevin Mitchell out, why the hell did Bartman reach out for a ball and why the God damned BLACK CAT?  The more WHYS and HOWS I come up with the more I realize that there is no answer.  But even though there is no answer I think there can be a solution moving forward.  

The solution is rebranding!  Maybe what the Cubs need is a change of scenery and a new name.  Maybe a new logo to go with that new owner in 2008.  Many fledgling businesses have rebranded with a nice track record of success.  I can’t even count how many times McDonalds rebranded to get a boost in the bottom line.  Even when company’s products don’t change the new logo, processes and communication allow them to succeed.  Political campaigns and even countries have been known to change colors, views and direction just to achieve their goals.  Why not the CUBS?  It worked for the Angels in Anaheim and the Bucs in Tampa Bay.  New coaches, uniforms, stadiums and attitude resulted in championships. 

So, let’s begin!

First of all Cubs name has to go.  I mean, who is afraid of a Cub.  It is a teddy bear.  Little girls across the nation cuddle with them to fall asleep which is what this Cubs team did to its fans in the NLDS this season.  We need a rugged name that works for the city that works.  How about the Teamsters?  OK, that wouldn’t happen and the baseball players probably couldn’t afford the dues.  How about a name that combines the great champions of this town?  The White Sox, Bears and Bulls are our other champions.  Let’s see here…White Sox and Bears, White Bears, ah ha…POLAR BEARS.  OK, now how do we work the Bulls in without using the word Bull?  Steer, Ox…AH HA, Cow!  Stick with me here.  Stockyards!  Mrs. O’Leary’s cow was bad ass.  It got pissed, kicked a latern and nearly burned down the city.  Harry Carey, the lone bright spot in the past 99 years, made Holy Cow famous so Cow has to be in the name.  I’ve got it, the Chicago Polar Cows.  Damn I’m good. 

The next line of busines is the Polar Cows have to have a new home.  Sorry but Wrigley isn’t going to cut it anymore.  It is too nostalgic and you don’t want nostalgia when your history is losing.  Cub fans still have nightmares of that damn blue L flag.  And the neighborhood, way too trendy and full of transplants and DINKS.  Besides, you shouldn’t have a sports venue within a mile radius of a bistro.  Time to move on! 

The new park should have an intimidating name.  Al Capone is the biggest Chicago bad ass I can think of so the new venue is now called Capone Park.  The design will be glass, steel and concrete.  It will be very intimidating and cold.  No trendy bells and whistles here.  No fancy sound effects.  However, when the Polar Cows hit a home run, look out.  We are talking fireworks, pyrotechnics and a loud MOOOOOO will rattle the glass and steel as the runner circles the bases.  Fans will smack a cowbell with every strikeout Zambrano tosses.  Afterall, we could always use more cowbell. 

Now that the Polar Cows have a great new stadium we have to put it somewhere.  We can’t go south because the White Sox are there and that is reason enough.  We should go northwest but we should remain in the city.  Sorry, but I have no desire to cheer for the Skokie Polar Cows.  I’ve got it.  We plop this new state of the art, mobster run venue right next to O’Hare field.  It would be close to Rosemont so the mobsters would have a quick ride home.  Planes would fly overhead and I mean overhead providing the greatest home field advantage in MLB.   

Now that we have a new name and home we need a new colors and a logo.  I am thinking we replace the sky blue because it’s sky blue.  Nothing intitmidating about that color.  As I stare at it and count back from 10 I find myself drifting asleep.  OK, black because it is the most bad ass color, or lack there of.  We have to have some burnt orange trim because of the O’Leary Cow fire thing and gold.  Why gold?  I don’t know, I think it will look nice.  As far as the logo goes, I don’t know?  Angry albino cow holding a baseball bat work for you?

Finally, new owners.  OK, I have had enough of this corporate crap.  Wrigley then Tribune and now Cuban and this Equity partner guy are fighting for the team.  BORRRRRING!  Sure Cuban would be OK but he hasn’t won anything yet.  Look, I want winners people don’t like so give me an ownership group that includes Donald Trump, George W. Bush and Kevin Federline and we are off to a good start.  Bush is a winner.  I mean he flies plans that say Mission Accomplished and he does what he wants, when he wants and Congress can’t control him.  I like it.  And you hav Federline or Ex-Mr. Spears as I like to call him.  He is sleazy and manipulative but he took Britney Spears money and now he has her kids.  That’s a winner.  And why Donald Trump?  A side from being ridiculously wealthy and having great hair he can FIRE the other two if they’re not getting the job done.

Well, that should do it.  New name, place and owners should shed the curse once and for all.  Lou and the gang should be able to shed the lovable loser label as the Polar Cows tear through the National League and meet Bill Gates’ Seattle Tsunami in the World Series.

What are you saying?  I’m crazy!  This is excessive and silly.  Fine then, I have another idea.  Let’s just sign reliever Joe Nathan and outfielder Torii Hunter and give it another shot.  Oh boy, here we go again.  Don’t come crying to me in 2008!                   

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We believed most of this was Rex’s fault.  So, Rex was sent to the corner for a timeout and Brian was called in.  Older, wiser Brian was going to lead an accurate and conservative offense to a low scoring victory over Detroit.  That sounded good to everybody.  But now the smoke has cleared and the Bears sit at the bottom of the NFC North with a 1-3 record. 

Sure, the early part of the schedule was tough and we knew they would probably be 5-3 after the first 8 games but this is ridiculous.  The can’t block, run, catch or pass and I am wondering what the hell happened to the team that blew out Seattle, New Orleans, Buffalo and Detroit last year?  They could at least run the ball a little and control the clock.  The QB wasn’t sacked on a regular basis last year.  They gave Rex protection and he actually had 5 or 6 pro-bowl type caliber games.  It led everyone to believe the young QB could do the job with some more experience and confidence.

Now we are banged up, our running back is in New York and the receivers couldn’t catch the ball if a $100 was attached to it.  Berrian has been brutal, “Moose” looks slow and we put super awesome weapon Devin Hester on the field and never use him.  What is the point?  He can outrun almost anyone in the NFL.  He has above average hands and makes great moves in the open field.  And what the hell happend to Mark Bradley, ‘Sheed’ Davis and Mike Hass?  These guys are collecting a paycheck!  Why aren’t they split wide running the post or the fly?  How about Greg Olson?  Why not have him in the slot, strong-side with Desmond Clark?  They would give linebackers a fit.  At the very least it would open a running lane somewhere.

Speaking of the running game this is the crappiest running game I have ever seen and that includes Enis, Salaam and Neal Anderson.  And Benson ‘lovers’ and there are still a few out there will say, “But the line sucks and they aren’t opening holes!”  Point taken but I have seen bad lines in my time.  Walter Payton spent almost a decade of his HOF career behind a sad line.  They were nothing more than buckets of KFC with legs.  He managed!  He ran over guys, he ran around guys and he was able to shed the initial contact almost every single time.  I could name dozens of backs who made good behind medicore to poor lines.  Barry Sanders, Earl Campbell, Curt Warner, Eric Dickerson and Marshall Faulk all ran behind crappy lines for part of there career and still managed to be great.  And, the funny thing is our line isn’t that bad.  They are not as good as last year, but they are not terrible.  I have seen holes open.  Unfortunately when they do you have a second, maybe two to get to the hole before it closes.  Bensen is not talented or fast enough to get to the hole.  Most times he hits the line with his head down so how the hell could he see if a hole is opening or a new one is opening.  You have to have superior lateral movement on the line in the NFL or you simply aren’t going to make it.  You have to have the ability to make a move or two moving forward.  Hester is great at that.  Perhaps they should make him a back.  Just a thought.  And the two guys behind Benson aren’t much better.  A.P. is a little better overall and far better in between the tackles.  He can also block.  It is a skill necessary to protect the quarterback.  Bensen whiffs 9 out of 10 times.  Last season Tommy Jones was money at protecting the QB.  Why would anyone give up that kind of protection to hand someone else a job?  Right!  It makes no sense.

The object is to win a championship.  The head coach is the field general of the team and blind loyalty to your soldiers gets your ass killed.  You put your best warriors on the battlefield and take it to the opposition.  If Rex wasn’t the best why is he “our quarterback” as General Lovie puts it?  Why is Ced continuely shoved out onto the battlefield.  He certainly exhibits the tendencies of a shy 19 year old kid from the south who hides in his bunker…afraid to face the enemy, afraid to fire his weapon.  The receivers are required to do certain things for the offensive to succeed.  These two simple requirements that have never changed over the course of time is GET OPEN and CATCH THE BALL.  These are special ops guys.  These are guys that are supposed to go unseen in order to exploit the defense.  They have to have a high rate of success and be able to react quickly and efficiently in order for the troops to move forward into enemy territory. 

The offensive line are the guys who do the jobs no one wants to do.  These guys are the marines…the leathernecks…the first ones in the trenches.  Blood doesn’t scare them and they would gladly lay down there lives for the common good of the team.  These guys are a rare breed and also essential for the success of the armored division, or in this case the running game.  The Bensen armored division is supposed to aquire those tough yards.  They follow the line and pound the enemy into submission.  They are never to lose ground, they are ordered to gain ground at all costs.  This division of the battalion is crucial to wearing down the enemies defense and set them up for a final aerial assault to be ordered by the captain. 

The captain, or quarterback in this case, orchestrates the whole offensive.  He is the main communicator.  He keeps all groups informed of the offensive.  He leads with confidence and is required at an one time to change plans or audible.  He runs, diving forward with wreckless abandon.  And, to put away the enemy he launches and all out aerial assault.  He passes with speed and accuracy to his receivers in the field.  And, at times he will in go in the trenches and put himself on the line in order for the special ops or armored units to succeed.  They are fearless leaders. They are the ones ultimately responsible for the overall success or failure of the offensive.

Now that I have put the Bears offense into military terms one thing becomes abundantly clear and that is  they couldn’t invade and take over lunch line at the Shady Acres Retirement Community.  None of the Bears QBs have that “Captain” quality like a Favre, Elway or Marino.  Cedric and AP don’t possess the power, skill  and determination of a Tomlinson, Bush or Shaun Alexander.  The recievers need to be agile, quick and smart and the Bears are far from that.  Moose is aging and slow, Berrian is fast but can’t catch and the rest lack many abilities.  The line is supposed to be strong, aggressive and fearless.  Ours was that way.  Ours was one of the best but now injuries and age are slowing their advance.  The question is what can be done to salvage the campaign? 

Well, the group that controls the captain, the Marines, Special Ops and the Armored Divisions are the generals.  Certain changes need to be made in order for victories to be attained.  Game plans need to be changed!  The plays they are calling aren’t working.  Perhaps they need to play a little more I-Formation and split in order for the fullback to open holes for Cedric and Co.  Perhaps they need to incorporate more risky downfield options like fly patterns to Hester.  They need to find someone new for the specialty (intermediate) routes like Mike Haas or re-acquire David Ball who was an exceptional route runner and reciever in his short time here. 

Finally it may come down to the only other captain on the roster.  Captain Kyle was fantastic as a rookie thrown into a terrible situation and led the Bears on an improbable playoff run.  Now that is the kind of guy I want leading my troops.  However, someone has decided that the Never Was and the Never Will Be are a better option than Captain Kyle. 

Hopefully some wisdom from above will enter the skulls of the braintrust known as the Bears coaching staff for only a couple of more losses will seal our fate.  Semper Fi or, in this case, BEAR DOWN!!!!  

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