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updated: 6/23/2014 5:49 PM

Cubs fans will see the light at the end of the tunnel soon

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  • The Chicago Cubs' Starlin Castro, right, celebrates his three-run home run off Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Charlie Morton with teammate Anthony Rizzo during the third inning of a baseball game on Friday, June 20, 2014, in Chicago. Rizzo and Chris Coghlan also scored on the hit.

      The Chicago Cubs' Starlin Castro, right, celebrates his three-run home run off Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Charlie Morton with teammate Anthony Rizzo during the third inning of a baseball game on Friday, June 20, 2014, in Chicago. Rizzo and Chris Coghlan also scored on the hit.
    Associated Press

 
 

Cubs fans can get frustrated. I know because I run into them every single day. Even those who are on board with what the front office is doing aren't thrilled with all the losing.

That's the big dichotomy, right? You want the Cubs to do it the right way and to sustain this thing in perpetuity but after awhile, the losing wears on you.

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Believe me when I tell you, nobody likes that part of it. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer loathe bad baseball. Their goal was not to come here and lose, even early. All these sub-.500 records go on their resume and it doesn't feel good.

But as Epstein once said, this process is like ripping off a scab. Yes, there's some pain involved, but then you grow new skin. The scab represented a lot of tough decisions to trade away some solid veterans and the new skin is all the young prospects they have brought in as a result.

The Cubs are doing it the hard way. And they believe it's the right way.

And while many fans are impatient and frustrated with the lack of tangible big league progress, we are seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.

The big league club has played much better baseball over the past month with the tandem of Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro carrying much of the offensive load and the farm system keeps looking better and better.

In thinking about the last decade of Cubs baseball, I liken it to buying an expensive house versus building your own from the ground up.

Sometimes organizations are like gaudy homes that show well, but have hidden problems only discovered after you buy them. This is what the Cubs were before this process began.

In Jim Hendry's defense, a lot of it was by design. Under Tribune's ownership, there was a "win now at all cost" mentality. And it nearly worked.

Actually, I would claim it did work. Hendry built a 2008 juggernaut that was the envy of the National League. To this day I believe it was the best team in the league that season.

Simply put, three rough days in October ruined six months of domination. Hendry did all he could. His powerhouse team had a bad series against the Dodgers. That's it, plain and simple.

But that club (which carried over from 2007) had a short shelf-life. It became a decent but not-quite-good-enough team in 2009 and then things fell apart in the two seasons to follow.

Why? Because the core got old and the Cubs didn't have anything in the system to rescue them. In housing terms, the foundation had started to show too many cracks.

It is an expensive and inefficient way to operate. Think about the main stars of that era -- Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano, Ted Lilly, Ryan Dempster, Mark DeRosa, all expensive, non-home-grown veterans. It was a big dollar group brought here to win immediately. And for a short period it did.

So fast forward to 2014 and instead of the huge house that "shows well" but has underlying issues, the Cubs are now building their own dream home, brick by brick, from the ground up.

The hope is that it becomes a great value because its infrastructure (in baseball terms that means young, high-ceiling, cost-effective talent at all levels) is incredibly solid.

The home isn't finished yet, but it's taking shape and within a couple years, you may notice a few extensions that make it the envy of everyone on the block.

• Len Kasper is the TV play-by-play broadcaster for the Chicago Cubs. Follow him on Twitter@LenKasper and check out his baseball-blog with Jim Deshaies at wgntv.com.

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