The Chicago Cubs and Their Lost Identity

Written by P.J. Anderson

After falling to the Royals again, the Cubs lost their third straight series.  The 2011 season has followed suit with 2010, turning into a dismal year of frustration.  One of the main reasons is their lack of identity. 

The Cubs simply lose. 

No longer are they the “Lovable Losers” as I came to know them as a child.  All the fun of the Sosa years are long gone. They are just a confusing organization, lacking any direction or leadership.  As series after series is lost, the Cubs face the same dilemmas as in previous years: they’ve spent too much money on once proven players (Soriano especially, and more recently, Garza and Pena) and they aren’t getting any younger (minus the talented middle-infield of Castro and Barney).

Of course, there are still the ‘what-ifs’ that many supporters stand by: “Soriano was a 40-40 player until he got hurt!” etc. Even if Soriano remained healthy, this would not be a winning ball club for the future.  In 2008, the Cubs built a team to win that year.  When 2009 rolled around, the core of the club was still successful, and not many changes were made. 

Now?

The Cubs seem to be stuck in 2008.  They need to move on.  Ricketts was bold by testing Garza and Pena, who have shown they are not the players they once were.  Great. Move on. The Cubs need a roster overhaul, and with Jim Hendry’s passive-aggressiveness in the free-agency market (who really knows what the Pujols hug meant?), the Cubs won’t be contenders for the next few years.  What they need to do is find a brand of baseball.  All they need to do to find it? Look to the South Side.

Yes. The White Sox.

The White Sox developed a brand of baseball around their slogan “All In.”  Not only do the fans associate with the mantra, but so do the players.  The Sox are under .500 but it’s not due to the same reason the Cubs are.  Yes, the Cubs have been plagued by injuries, but every replacement seems to play like they were taken out of the bleachers at Wrigley.  How many games can the Cubs lose by kicked ground balls? How many more because Soriano walks to a fly and still somehow misjudges it?  The White Sox may lose more than they win (my gut says they win over 80 games) but it least it looks like they’re trying.

The 2005 White Sox were not the most talented team in the Majors. But they won a World Series.

How?

They developed their own brand of baseball. This lead to a team that played better than they were (no-one hit over .300 and their 5th starter was Orlando Hernandez…Yes, 39 year-old Orlando Hernandez) and they earned a ring.  Piloted by the “All In” slogan and ever-so chilling anthem of Thunderstruck, the White Sox created South Side baseball and fans that appreciated it.

Who are the Cubs?

We’ll let you know in a few years…

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