I'm really ashamed as of late to be a Cubs' fan. I always used to think that the Cubs had the best fans in baseball, and everytime I visited Wrigley Field my beliefs were reinforced by the energy and support of the crowds that would turn-out to support their team. In my experience, Cubs fans have always had a respect of the game and a knowledge of the game that few city's can claim.
That was in the losing years. Now that the Cubs have experienced success and BACK to BACK winning seasons for the first time in DECADES, the fans have become a bit spoiled and lacking in both attention and patience, distoring their sense of reality and leading them to wholly irrational and oversimplified perspectives of what the team needs to win. I have yet to hear ONE GOOD REASON why the Cubs should fire Dusty Baker--the man who came in and changed the attitude of the organization and the fans by leading the Cubs to within outs of The World Series in his first year as manager. Too bad all the boo-birds have forgotten about that success (and too bad that the whole Bartman thing overshadowed the tremendous success of that overachieving team).
I'm so tired of hearing all of these moronic, "monday-quarterback" fans saying, "I could manage this team better," and that Dusty Baker doesn't fight hard enough. Well, let me tell you, if emotional display is your highest priority in a manager than we might as well get an actor or a female professional wrestler to go out there and kick and scream and whine at every play--that'll get the fans excited. Oh, and by the way, Lou Pinella a.) isn't a better manager than Dusty Baker, and b.) would never leave Florida for Chicago, so those of you out there wishing for Pinella might as well give it up.
Dusty Baker came into Chicago and nearly took our team to The World Series in his first year as manager--I guess that some of you would arugue that Bartman's interference, Alex Gonzalez's muffed double-play ball, and Prior's subsequent meltdown were also Baker's fault? The next year, he had to deal with a declining and immature Superstar in Sammy Sosa, an inconsistent starting rotation depleted by injuries, absorbing another superstar who's totally over-the-hill, and a horrible finish by his team at the end of the season--in essence the team had no identity and it showed. The team may have faltered, but they finished with a winning record for the second straight year.
This season began well for the Cubs with their opening day route of the D-Backs....and then, Wood went down (again), Prior went down (again), Nomar--batting 1-something--went down (again), Borowski went down (off of 'roids), Walker went down, Patterson just plain sucked, and with the exception of Walker, NONE of those injured players have returned to form. If you think you can win with these guys injured YOU'RE CRAZY. This is Baker's fault? Hell, if I lost my starting middle-infield and my one and two starters for the majority of the season's start and my team was still contending for the Wild Card when they returned, I'd say we'd done a great job. The only person you can blame for these players injuries and their inability to return to form is the players themselves. PERIOD THE END.
Reality Check People: At best, at the beginning of the season, this team had a shot at the Wild Card IF it overachieved as a team--and that's a stretch. IF Nomar stayed healthy and hit 300 (he can't even hit 200), IF Wood and Prior each had 30 starts, IF we had a closer, IF we had a bullpen worth a damn, IF we had a lead-off hitter. People keep saying to me, "Well if I had that kind of talent......." Talent my ass. There's alot of talent in the world people, and their are very few people who live up to that talent. Why can't people realize that their expectations for this team were totally unrealistic, and that they were fooling themselves if they thought this was a sure post-season bet. The personnel on this team PALES in comparrison to The Bo Sox, The Yankees, The Angels, The Cardinals, The Marlins and I'm sorry to say--The White Sox.
No Lead-off hitter, No middle-infield, No Left-fielder, No Healthy starting rotation, No BULLPEN=.500 baseball team. What we do have: Lee, Ramirez, Burnitz, Perez, Barrett, Maddux, Zambrano (questionable)--those are are steady players who have performed for us, and Lee has OUT-PERFORMED anyone's expectations--Hey, if we're willing to pin all the blame on Dusty Baker for the "player's" injuries and lack of performance, why aren't you same people saying, "Wow, look at what Dusty Baker did to make Derek Lee and MVP candidate"? When will we ask the players to take responsibility. God-forbid that Cubs fans would criticize Kerry Wood or Mark Prior (oh-no we couldn't do that)--Wood and Prior have been mediocre this year--is that Dusty's fault, too? Why don't people take them out behind the wood-shed and give them the whipping they're giving Dusty Baker???????
The worst thing for this franchise would be to give-up on a manager who's a proven winner and who came into Chicago and turned this franchise around. Change the manager and you set this team back another five years--Don't suffer from Amnesia people--remember all the mangaers we've had over the years, and remember with the exception of Don Zimmer, this team hasn't had a manager of the caliber of Dusty Baker since.............30, 40 years people. Don't be foolish. Don't oversimplify this great game we all love and respect. Don't sacrafice long-term success for short-term "fixes". Dusty Baker has his defects, but HE is NOT THE PROBLEM here--THE PERSONNEL ON THE FIELD (or lack there of) IS THE PROBLEM! If you understand baseball, you understand the nuances and complexities of the game, and you love your Cubs, you'll start supporting the guy who brought you closer to a World Series than any manager has done in 50 years.......Don't forget: that was only two years ago. Did you guys really think that this team was as good as the 2003 Cubs.....if so you suffer from delusion.
Now, I'll continue to wait on a legitimate and rational explanation for why we should get rid of Dusty Baker and why he is the cause of our problems. Oh, and who is your manager who's going to lead this team, with our intimidating starting rotation and hitters, to a World Series. Who will that be people?