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Please don't insult the fans

Friday, July 23, 2004

Excerpt from: "Baker tells fans: It's decision time, 'You're either for us or against us'"
by Paul Sullivan
Chicago Tribune, July 23,2004

"Manager Dusty Baker had a message for anyone planning to jump off the Cubs' bandwagon after their recent free-fall from the NL Central Division race:

Don't bother climbing back on board come October.

"Last year we didn't have all the expectations, we didn't have everybody picking us, we didn't have all the trials and tribulations we've had this year," Baker said Thursday. "But that's what's going to make it even sweeter. The way I look at it is you're either for us or against us.

"I'm no front-running man, or a front-running manager. I'm not crazy about front-runners, but that's human nature..."

"I didn't come all the way here from California to lose and be away from family," he said. "I came here to win. It's my most difficult year, yeah, starting from the beginning."

Gut Check Time: Come On Dusty! You are a great manager, and no matter how often you are second guessed, 95% of the second city will say so. However, whining about people "jumping" off the bandwagon is a bit ridiculous. QUICK! lets check the Attend-O-Meter 2004.

... So far, through 49 home games, the Cubs have had 1,929,199 fans attend the games, for an average of 39,371 or 99.53% of capacity! At Wrigley, you have never played in front of fewer than 37,307 fans this season, and with 32 home games remaining, your season attendance has already surpassed that of every year from 1876 - 1983, 1986, 1994, and 1995. You are on pace to play in front of 3.18 million fans this year, which is nearly 200,000 more than you played in front of last year, the Cubs all-time high. All of this with the second most expensive average ticket ($28.45) in Major League Baseball!

When fans jump off the bandwagon, they stop coming to games (see Montreal... or even the South Side for that matter.) Yeah, fans are going to be upset that the Cubs aren't dominating the division like the media promised we would, but that doesn't mean that we as fans are abandoning the team... these are Cubs fans you are talking about.

Besides, Cubs fans can get on or off the bandwagon whenever they please! Its our money! We pay for tickets, TV advertising, Cable bills, team memorabilia, and Dusty Baker bobbleheads! So we'll come and go as we please! (But I am on it, and staying.)

My rant aside, the Cubs played two games of decent baseball after getting swept in their third series of the year. (A two game series in Houston, a three gamer in Milwaukee, and the two against the Cards at Wrigley.)

Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Holy Cow!

They responded to near divisional elimination by sweeping the second place Reds into third place. With a 5-4 victory on Wednesday and a 13-2 schelacking of the Cincinnati ball club on Thursday, the Cubs reclaimed second place ten games behind the St. Louis Yankees. (So this is what its like to be a Red Sox fan.)

Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Holy Cow!

Anyhow, with the return of 8 healthy starters into the lineup, the Cubs offense is starting to produce a few runs. Aramis returned to the lineup on Sunday, and Alex Gonzalez returned on Monday. Since then (Monday), the Cubs have scored 4, 8, 5, and 13 runs. I'm not ready to proclaim the offense "fixed," but it is definitely improved.

I also should mention Mr. Maddux, as the last time I had a sizable post on him, I was rather frustrated with his performance. Since then, he has turned it around and pitched quite well. His last two outings have both resulted in complete game victories. In 18 innings pitched, he has allowed 2 (earned) runs, 9 hits, 0 walks, 10 Ks, and lowered his ERA by 0.48. Over the stretch, he has an ERA of 1.00 and a WHIP of .50. Welcome back Greg! His last victory was also #298.

Greg Maddux Sacrifice Bunt Watch: After spending half the season chronicling how bad Maddux looks trying to put down a sacrifice bunt, (despite an approximate 100% success rate) I called off the watch. So what happens? Greg goes out and pops up a sac bunt yesterday. Oh well. At the time the score was 3-1 Cubs, but they went on to score another 10 runs, and he pitched a complete game... I think I'll let it slide.

Posted by Byron at July 23, 2004 1:38 PM | Bookmark and Share | BallHype: hype it up!
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