Chicago Cubs fans, like many Chicago sports fans in general, have plenty to deal with on a daily basis.
What do fans of each Chicago Sports team have in common?
We really love our sports teams.
Let me explain. Year after year, month after month, we fans have put ourselves on a perpetual roller coaster of many up, up’s (6 rings, 3 Hockey Titles, 2 World Series) and down, down’s (organizational incompetence for each team, broken promise after broken promise, etc.). Let’s face it, though; It’s 2021, and Chicago Sports fans are all weary.
We are weary of how our Bears are seemingly blind to problems everyone else is seeing.
We are weary knowing our Cubs won’t have the potential dynasty we all thought they had.
We are weary watching our White Sox for fear that their possible dynasty might go up in smoke like the Cubs did.
We are weary, knowing the chances that the Bulls ever get a super team in today’s NBA is slim.
Finally, we aren’t too weary of the Blackhawks since a good chunk of us frankly lost interest in them.
… I can go on.
The Bears have shattered my heart over the past two seasons, and it has prompted an intervention.
In response, I have decided to go to therapy on behalf of all of our fans.
We are going to start with the Chicago Cubs.
*Steps into session*
Hello, my name is Dr. Kristin. We will be together for five sessions this time around.
When it comes to therapy, I have one “rule.” It is OK to have feelings and express them. I say this mostly to men considering our culture doesn’t condone it. You are in a safe space here.
So, let’s get started. How are you feeling today?
Why is that?
Well, you don’t just end up bitter; it has to start somewhere, right?. As many of you all can relate, the Chicago Cubs were my first team growing up. I grew up eight blocks from Wrigley; binging on WGN and going to Cubs’ games was a way of life. I was there at the ’98 playoff game. I was a bit numb to the ’03 disaster but then was emotionally distraught by the sweep in ’08. Then 2015 came, and I finally felt hope. We all know what happened from there…
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Well, how would you describe your relationship with the Cubs?
Well, I’m angry! It starts at the top and our owner, Tom Rickets, per NBC Sports’ David Kaplan, carries “about $1 billion in debt between the franchise and the Ricketts family’s real-estate company, Hickory Street Capital.” The pandemic has hit their wallets hard, and we fans are feeling the result of the product. Their monetary issues forced them to trade away one of the best pitchers we had in years (Yu Darvish) for some salary relief. All the team got back in return was some saved money and a big bag of prospects (none of which are top 100)- All for a Top Three Pitcher in baseball. (By the way, we had to eat 3 million of his salary in the trade).
The shouts are getting louder for Tom Ricketts to sell the team.
I am really upset about this.
How sad is it that the team won’t even bring back the pitcher who changed our organization’s entire outlook so he can retire here? Now, I’m even more confused about the state of the team after the most recent signings.
Sources have confirmed to me that Tom Ricketts has recently increased the Cubs player payroll for 2021. This has allowed Jed Hoyer some flexibility to reshape his roster in a division the Cubs view as winnable. @kapjhood @NBCSChicago @NBCSCubs
— David Kaplan (@thekapman) January 29, 2021
For what? Being swept out of the playoffs with our 83-win team?
On top of that, our former President of Baseball Operations, Theo Epstein, likely saw this whole disaster coming, and he decided to jump off the train before it crashed. He’s out the door, and we fans have so many unanswered questions for him: Why did you fail to see our players’ actual value when the iron was hot and made trades? Why were you so short-sighted on big money reliever deals? I can go on and on…
As a result of this mess, Kyle Schwarber is gone for nothing in return. Who even knows where Addison Russell is without a google search? Kris Bryant is probably gone after this year or at the trade deadline for peanuts. There’s also talk that we might trade mainstay pitcher Kyle Hendricks for probably for more peanuts. This sucks.
What future does the Chicago Cubs have? Our starting rotation is Hendricks, a washed-up Jake Arrieta, and several guys most casual Cubs fans don’t recognize. Our farm system has only THREE top-100 players in it, and our best player, Javy Baez, has regressed in the last year and a half.
Your thoughts sound disconnected. What do you think is the root of all these problems?
I’m hurt. I put my trust and heart in the Chicago Cubs, and it all blew up. For a fanbase that had already suffered 108 years of futility, what is happening is somewhat devastating. I don’t see much hope moving forward.
I’m worried that in 25 years, we will be talking about the Chicago Cubs 2016 season like Bears fans talk about the 1985 Season.
Maybe we won too soon? It seems so trivial that I’m talking and feeling this way about a baseball team.
Listen, Tim. I hear you. Your feelings and thoughts are important. They are not dumb. People feel the same things about anything they are attached to; This is important to you- and that’s OK. I want to congratulate you for having the courage to come in today. It takes a lot of bravery to get help and be vulnerable; you should be proud of yourself.
I’m going to end it on a lighter note- If you could speak to one person in the organization right now to begin your healing journey- what would you say:
I would speak with Kris Bryant to understand more about what happened with him after such a metric rise to stardom. Now that I dealt with my feelings about the Chicago Cubs, I would like to sit with him and have a beer to understand his pressure over the past few years.
How are you feeling now?