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Fire Sale on Addison and Clark

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The Cubs are my favorite baseball team and have been since I was a little kid.  My father was more of an American League guy.  Ted Williams was his favorite player and the Detroit Tigers were sort of “the team” in his town growing up.  In my small neighborhood when I was at the impressionable age of 10 and under, the Cubs were the favorite team.  Virtually every other neighborhood in my town was White Sox country.  Ernie Banks, like a lot of Cubs fans of my age, was my favorite player.  But, I loved Santo, Williams, and Fergie too.

2016 was an amazing experience for me.  I went to almost all the World Series and playoff games.  I went to Game 7 with guys I had known since early childhood.  We had a blast.

Yesterday, they traded away a lot of those players we cheered on and developed a fondness for over the years.  Rizzo, Bryant, and Javy Baez… saddened me.  Everyone saw it coming.  Baseball is a business.  Statistics and rules make it so teams figure out when players will be at their career peak.  It also makes everyone see the writing on the wall when players will be unloaded.  The Cubs weren’t the only sellers yesterday.

A huge part of the problem is the way MLB is structured.  Luxury taxes, limits on all kinds of activities for teams to make revenue, and other constraints really tie the hands of teams.  I think it hurts players, and more importantly, it hurts fans.  Players leaving from team to team to team makes it even hard to buy a jersey.

For example, if the Cubs want to do an event for Cubs fans in New York they can’t.  MLB prohibits it. Merchandise sales revenue has a percentage that goes to MLB.  Social media is regulated internally by MLB.  It really limits creativity and entrepreneurship.

The one positive I take from everything is the owners of the Cubs won the 2016 World Series.  They are retooling to win again.  They were in the NLCS in 2015.  They were in it again in 2017.  2018, they made the playoffs but lost their first game.  That was the year people started thinking about how long this could go on.  2019 they didn’t make the playoffs.  In last year’s season of weirdness, they made the playoffs but lost in the first round again.  5 out of 6 years they had a chance, and won it all once.  Never in the history of the Cubs were they as dominant.

If we look at the reasons why the Cubs lost in the playoffs when they did, it comes down to hitting.  They didn’t hit.  It also shows how hard it is to win a World Series and why teams like the 1972-75 Oakland A’s are really special.  No one ever will be dominant like the Yankees were back in the day again.  However, because of the way the playoffs are if you can get there you give yourself a chance.  To me, it looks like the Dodgers have played the MLB rules the best, but they only have one WS to show for it and it was in 2020 so while it goes in the record books as a win, it wasn’t 162 game schedule.

My gut tells me that Kris Bryant might be in a Cub uniform again.  Rizzo is 32, and might have 6 more years to play.  It is hard to be productive later in your career, but he might be able to do it.  I loved to watch Baez, but he struck out a lot.  He is amazing in the field and on the bases.  I will never forget watching him steal home in the 2016 NLCS.  My friend Jim calls Baez “El Whiffo”.   If he could just get discipline at the plate…..  All three might be Hall of Famers someday.

MLB has changed a lot in recent years.  Everyone swings for the fences.  Wrigley is certainly a hitter’s park and the Cubs play 81 games there.  But, they play 81 on the road too.  Homers are great, but they are even sweeter with a couple of ducks on the pond.  My friends who are Sox fans were certainly not happy to see Madrigal leave.

It’s going to be a long couple of years on the North Side.  Especially since the Sox are leading their division.  But, I hope it is worth it.  If it doesn’t pan out, I don’t think Cubs nation will be understanding.

The post Fire Sale on Addison and Clark first appeared on Points and Figures.


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