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Article updated: 5/20/2013 5:16 PM

A few more wins the least Cubs can do

Starting pitching has kept the Cubs in games this season, and fans shown here appreciate everything Jeff Samardzija has given, including a two-run home run against the Colorado Rockies last week.

Starting pitching has kept the Cubs in games this season, and fans shown here appreciate everything Jeff Samardzija has given, including a two-run home run against the Colorado Rockies last week.

 

Associated Press

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The Cubs never should take a day off like Monday's because all it does is give critics a chance to criticize them.

More often than not the past century the Cubs haven't passed the test. This season they might, but only because the bar is so low a poodle's eyelash could slip underneath it.

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(Uh, do poodles have eyelashes?)

Anyway, here goes: So far this season has represented the least the Cubs can do, and traditionally the least they can do is what they do best.

Major League Baseball is approximately at the 2013's quarter pole and nothing is settled. Over 162 games, today's good teams can turn out to be atrocious, and today's bad teams can turn out to be adorable.

So as the Cubs rested after a mad rush to an 18-25 start, what exactly do fans of this franchise have to look forward to the next four months?

Not much, as usual.

But not much is a lot better than nothing at all, which is what we have come to expect of the Cubs over the decades ... never more so than now as management promises nothing except that the team still will be in the National League in 2015.

Tom Ricketts, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer imply that the Cubs will be championship contenders by then, but put nothing in writing. How could they? If a team can't predict in May where it'll be in October, how can it predict in 2013 where it will be in two or three years?

But to be fair, the news is better today than it was last summer.

All Cubs' fans can hope for is that on any given day they can go out to Wrigley Field with the chance to see their darlings win a game.

To understand the emotion, just stand at the top of the lower grandstand in the bottom of the ninth inning of a close game. Fans hang on every pitch, wanting the Cubs to win even though a victory generally won't mean much in the standings.

Management wants to win the future, managers want to win the season and fans want to win every game. The Cubs could barely win a game once a week last year. They were charging major-league prices to watch minor leaguers flail around aimlessly.

In what amounted to the Cubs' worst collection of players in a half-century regardless of record, not even the romance of Wrigley could appease paying customers.

Apparently Cubs' movers and shakers and thinkers and stinkers were embarrassed by the club's 61-101 record.

Since it's too hot during a Chicago summer for Ricketts, Epstein and Hoyer to wear ski masks while greeting fans at the ticket window, they instead made a pale gesture to improve the product on the field.

Thanks to better pitching the Cubs actually have a chance to be in just about every game. As 7 games below .500 indicates, they aren't good enough to win more often than they lose, but at least they're more competitive.

Meanwhile, consumers also can monitor the development of young players of the future such as Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney and Jeff Samardzija.

Cubs' fans don't ask for much and that's what they're receiving, but they are getting more than last season and just enough to make a game at Wrigley Field bearable.

It's the least that Cubs' management could do, so as usual that's what they did.

mimrem@dailyherald.com

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