Admittedly, I am a Cubs fan. I am not trying to hide it. Its not all I am going to talk about but make no mistake I love this team and hate this team and really enjoy complaining about this team. So get used to it. Really, everyone should enjoy Cubs talk even if you aren’t a fan. Who doesn’t like to watch a group of frustrated people collectively curse and pull their hair out for six months a year? (Notice I am not counting October)
Ok, now that that is out of the way we can get to the important stuff. Baseball people understand how team oriented this game is. I know that much of the game is made up of little individual battles (batter v. pitcher, pitcher v. runner, manager v. manager, and on and on) but every team as a whole has a kind of chemistry to it whether its good or bad. The teams that have good chemistry seem to win more than the others. That’s just the way it goes.
Take the Red Sox teams in the mid 00’s. Manny popping his head in an out of the scoreboard while everyone laughed and Big Papi’s gigantic smile are the images that pop into my head when I think about that team. They seemed to really enjoy being around each other and that transferred to the field. This isn’t a new idea. Remember the “We Are Family” Pittsburgh Pirates of ’79 (I don’t actually “remember” because I wasn’t alive yet but you get the point).
Now, how’s the Cub’s chemistry these days? I’ll give you a hint…..its god-awful! The obvious example is the failed Milton Bradley experiment. We all wanted to like the deal. He’s always been a productive player but unfortunately he’s also always been an asshole. How many players have five “controversy” headers on their Wikipedia page? Assholes do. He added insult to injury by claiming the entire city was racist because they seemed to dislike him. I have a feeling people disliked him because he was paid a lot of money for very little production. Bradley was eventually run out of town but the problem hasn’t been solved.
What the Cubs got in return for Bradley is the newest case of clubhouse cancer: Carlos Silva. By all accounts Silva has had a terrible spring. 32 hits and 21 runs given up in 17 innings. Wow. If he was a good clubhouse guy I could accept these numbers as just him trying to get comfortable coming off injury, but if he’s not producing hes no good to anyone. He’s not a good clubhouse guy. Not at all. I know the club would have to eat his ridiculous contract to cut him but I think it would be good for the psyche of the organization.
This club needs a change in mindset and attitude. They need to stop overpaying for temperamental talent and start picking up solid baseball people. I think the team has made a step in the right direction with the signings of Kerry Wood and Carlos Pena. Both have question marks but they will work hard and help to create a very positive clubhouse atmosphere. Now, if they could just get rid of Silva everything would be great. Well….maybe not great.