Q. It's starting to look like the Cubs are on their way to 100 losses. Is there any way to avoid it?
A. Before I answer that question, a little history here, and it's pretty interesting. While the Cubs have been called The Lovable Losers, it's a bit of a misnomer. We all know they haven't won the World Series since 1908, but this has been a winning franchise. In fact, only five teams all-time -- the Yankees, Giants, Dodgers, Cardinals and Red Sox -- have a better winning percentage.
Over the course of 137 seasons, the Cubs are about 500 games over the .500 mark. Also, in the 136 seasons into 2012, the Cubs had lost at least 100 games just two previous times -- 103 defeats in both 1962 and 1966.
The 2012 Cubs are perilously close to being on pace to threaten that dubious club record. The good news is, they have more home games than road games for the remainder of the schedule, but it isn't going to be easy. I suppose in the big scheme of things, the number of losses doesn't really matter. We knew awhile ago this team wasn't going to the playoffs and you could ask, what's the difference between 98 losses and 104?
But there is the pride factor and I guarantee you not one guy in that clubhouse wants to be a part of a 100-loss season.
Q. What has been the biggest reason for the Cubs' struggles lately?
A. Just about everything has suffered, including the baserunning, which is particularly disappointing. The coaching staff has worked diligently in getting the players to constantly run hard and be smarter on the bases, but we've seen some recent gaffes that speak either to the dreaded dog days of August or to a simple loss of focus on the part of some of the players -- which just can't happen, regardless of the team's record.
Every move by every player is being keenly evaluated right now as the Cubs try to figure out who is going to be counted on moving forward. Those who say the games don't matter are wrong. No, they don't have any bearing on the Cubs' 2012 season, but they absolutely will have an effect on off-season moves and where guys stand in the organization going into 2013.
Q. It still has to be fun going to a close-to-full Wrigley Field every day though, right?
A. I am reminded every single day how lucky I am to be doing what I'm doing. As difficult a year as it's been, every day I walk into this gorgeous park and see the fans file in and hope for a win. And believe me, when the Cubs do win, the fans are as excited for those 10 minutes after the final out as they are during any season. It's a unique thing here you just don't find anywhere else. I wouldn't trade it for anything.
Q. What do you make of the recent performance-enhancing drug suspensions?
A. I think the drug-testing system is working because it is catching guys taking banned substances. But, it also means players are still doping and trying to gain every edge imaginable and apparently feel the risk of getting caught is not great enough to stop them from doing it. I'm not that naive to think the current testing system is foolproof, and I don't think MLB is, either. Am I surprised players continue to push their luck and risk their reputations in the process? Maybe a little bit, but in a competitive world like baseball, it appears people will go to great lengths to gain any advantage they can.
• Len Kasper is the TV play-by-play broadcaster for the Chicago Cubs. Follow him on Twitter @lenandbobwww.wgntv.com/lenandbob;http://www.wgntv.com/blogs/lenandbob/[URL]. Subscriber Total Access members can email him [/URL]questions;mailto:cubsquestions%40dailyherald.com?subject=Reader%20question[URL] each week via our online link.[/URL]