Jamie was a guy I worked with for years at the moving company. When I started, he was 20 years old, strong as an ox, and fun to be around. His moving career was cut short by a serious back injury. Aside from work, though, just the way he lived life drastically changed. No longer the active, energetic, athletic kid I knew (and was somewhat intimidated by), by 30 he was struggling just to walk around.
Surgery on his back offered the best hope for relieving his pain and letting him get back to normal life. His young son Bill couldn’t wait. While not understanding exactly what surgery entailed, Bill knew his dad was going to get his back fixed, and back-yard football, barn basketball, and run-of-the-mill roughhousing would be back on. But Bill thought his dad would come home from the hospital completely transformed, and he was crushed to learn that it would take quite some time for Jamie to heal and rehab his back before physical activity could be resumed. Bill was heartbroken. Be patient, he was told. Tough thing for a 5-year-old to be.
In the words of Bill Cosby, I told you that story to tell you this one:
The Ricketts family has one full season under their belts as the owners of the Chicago Cubs. One year. And unlike hiring a manager who has skippered 2 or 3 major league teams in the past, this is a new venture for them. While none of us know more about managing a baseball team than, say, Lou Piniella or Mike Quade, it’s conceivable that we know more, or close to more, about owning a baseball team than the Ricketts do. But it’s been ONE YEAR.
Somehow, Cub fans seem to have acquired a lack of patience previously held only by fans of the classically successful, championship franchises. Like the Yankees. Or Starbucks. What in our history as Cubs supporters leads us to believe that, one season after changing ownership, we would have already held a parade through Wrigleyville while sipping champagne from our batting helmets?
A lot of people seem to think that the Ricketts family doesn’t know what they’re doing as owners of the Cubs. Guess what? You’re might be right. Can we give them some time to figure things out? Someone tweeted the other day that the Ricketts are (expletive deleted)’s for not erecting a Ron Santo statue while he was still with us. Really? So they should have addressed and solved every possible scenario/cause/concern in regards to the entity they just bought within the first year?
It’s gonna take time. They’ve made some mistakes; they’re going to make more. It’s great to hope for a winning season. It’s awesome to think about winning the World Series. But to expect it? Raise my expectations too high, and there’s no one to blame but myself if they aren’t achieved. It’s been over 100 years! We can’t give them 5 or 6? I’m sure they didn’t shell out millions of dollars with the goal of being unsuccessful business people. I’ll be the first to grab the microphone at the 2021 Cubs Convention and blast them if I feel our owners haven’t done their best with my beloved Cubs in their first decade. But for now, I’ll be patient and hope for decent, entertaining baseball. It’s how I approach every spring.
I wrote some things down today that I hope for in the 2011 Cubs season. I’m saving it for another post. One, because I’m tired of typing. Two, because I’m probably close to losing those of you who’ve made it this far. Three, because I haven’t decided whether or not to put it in poem form like I do every 10 years. But be prepared for unwarranted optimism. Isn’t that what we do?