The 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field elicits memories of the Cubs' history, both distant and recent.
Recently, there's been a whole lot of losing at Clark and Addison streets in Chicago.
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Cubs president Theo Epstein is a relative newcomer to the Wrigley scene. He's in his third year at the helm, and he's seen a lot of losing as the Cubs rebuild.
He said the hoped-for future success doesn't make today's losing any easier.
"Nothing related to losing ever gets easier," he said Tuesday, before the Cubs beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 9-2. "Losing (stinks). When losing stops (stinking) you should probably find another career. We're trying to build a really healthy organization. So there's myriad challenges that present themselves daily. So you throw yourselves into those challenges and try to get better."
The Cubs will celebrate the 100th birthday of their ballpark Wednesday. The 2014 edition of the team is off to a 7-12 start, about where it was in each of the previous two seasons of the Epstein regime.
When I asked him what he takes out of the small sample size of the early season, he sounded some familiar themes.
"It's kind of a plucky team so far," he said. "I think we've fought pretty hard. We've played pretty hard. Unfortunately, we've fallen victim to the same early-season trends that we have the last few years, like we've had the closer issues, hitting with runners in scoring position issues. Those have contributed to us getting off to a rockier start than one might expect based on the starting pitching we've gotten.
"That's just kind of been the trend for three years now. We've ended up with just about the same record after two-and-a-half weeks for three years, which is unfortunate because you flip that record, you get off to a better start, you build a little momentum. It's not too late for us to turn that around. We haven't really hit our stride yet. We haven't really gotten into a rhythm yet."
The Cubs got another good pitching performance Tuesday from starter Jason Hammel, who worked 7 innings of 4-hit ball, giving up 1 run, a sixth-inning homer to Tuffy Gosewisch.
Mike Olt hit his fourth homer of the year for the Cubs, an impressive opposite-field drive to right with two on in the fifth.
Still, Epstein said he'd like to see better from the offense, which has been challenged in recent years in getting on base.
"We've got to get on base more," he said. "We can't complain about not scoring runs when we don't even get on base. We've got to get on base. It's the single most important thing we can do, and we haven't gotten there yet.
"We've got to keep grinding away and try to get on base more. The hitting with runners in scoring position will come. It usually finds its level over the course of the season. I'm confident the bullpen will continue to improve, and I'm really happy with the starting pitching."