10:10 AM EDT, May 18, 2011
Consider Mike Quade “Cubbed.’’
After his team choked away a four-run lead in Cincinnati on Monday, the Cubs manager called a closed-door meeting, which is hysterical for a team that can’t close the door.
Anyway, Quade watched Carlos Zambrano give up five hits and a walk, highlighted by a game-tying double lined over Alfonso Soriano’s head. Then Quade watched Marcos Mateo come out of the bullpen and immediately throw a wild pitch to bring in the go-ahead run and then surrender a two-run homer. Fun.
But wait. There’s more. When the Cubs got a couple runners on and were about to bring the tying run to the plate, Quade watched third-base coach Ivan DeJesus wave a speed-challenged Soriano into a stupid out at home.
That’s what prompted Quade to call his meeting and declare, “That (stuff) has got to stop.’’
Yes. Well. We’re in the middle of, what, Year 103 of “That (stuff) has got to stop.’’
Then, Quade’s team was so moved by the meeting that it went out the next night and lost 7-5 when every run was unearned.
What. A. Joke.
This is embarrassing, even for the Cubs. On Tuesday night, the Cubs choked away a 3-0 lead, which is progress, I guess. The Keystone Cubs gave back all those runs when they made two errors on one play that included a cutoff of about two feet and a relay throw into the camera well. The Keystone Cubs gave the Reds the game in the seventh when Kerry Wood threw a bunt into the left-field corner after Aramis Ramirez stayed on the bag at third.
For those of you scoring at home, that’s four errors leading to seven unearned runs a day after Qaude declared, “That (stuff) has got to stop.’’
For those of you scoring at home, that’s when Quade officially got “Cubbed.’’
The guy grew up a Cubs fans. He had to know it was coming. And there it was. Boom, roasted.
The Cubs are 8-15 since they were tied for first place when it didn’t matter. They are six games under .500 and have the second-worst winning percentage in the National League. They are in fifth place, seven games out of first in a bad division.
Oh yeah, and don’t forget the fans are staying away in droves, no matter how much cut-rate beer is offered.
The fans figured out early that the team is bad. Fans also might think the rookie manager is overmatched, but the real disaster is the new owner and his decision to retain general manager Jim Hendry. It’s also ridiculous that Tom Ricketts retained team president Clown Kenney, but that’s not something fans generally react to. But the GM who assembled this overpaid, underachieving, retch-inducing roster, THAT’S what fans react to.
And that’s what Ricketts hasn’t reacted to.
Ricketts has been a disaster since about his second day of this hobby. He apparently doesn’t realize it. He apparently doesn’t realize that he is one of the big reasons Cubs fans have death-spiraled into something once unimaginable: apathy.
Cubs fans don’t care enough to use tickets they already purchased. Other Cubs fans don’t care enough to spend as little as a buck or 50 cents for a ticket on a swap site. It has reached such embarrassing proportions that the Cubs have resorted to something else once unimaginable: discounted beer in the bleachers.
The fan who bought the franchise from the corporation has turned off the fans. Can we get some big red shoes and big red noses for the owner’s suite?
The Cubs have a roster of mismatched parts because of mismanagement. Last offseason, Ricketts told fans he would shift money from payroll to scouting and development, and then his general manager traded three of his top prospects for a pitcher who could cost this fifth-place team $15 million this year and next.
Mixed messages? Miscommunication? Can we get a hummena-hummena-hummena out of Ricketts?
But I suppose it figures that if upper management can’t do the basics, then the team on the field shouldn’t be expected to throw and catch the ball, either.
But still, you know what I do if I’m Quade? I call a fielding practice for this afternoon before the game in Florida. Everybody in uniform, everybody on the field. Anybody who shows up late can go back in to the clubhouse, take off the uniform and go home for the night. At least the night, maybe more.
And then, the rest of the team that plays like a T-ball bunch goes through T-ball drills. Bunts, grounders, fly balls, cutoffs, all of it for an hour.
The only way to make that (stuff) stop is to practice that (stuff).
And it’s something to do until Ricketts comes out of his coma.