August 26, 2015
Okay, as harsh as that sounds, but that’s what the fan bases in those towns are thinking. They have been beat like a gong for the last ten to fifteen years and slipped into the baseball black hole. It appears that they have come out of their deep sleep when the old management was sent packing and the new blood came in and finally figured out the way to wake up the slumbering hound dogs. Now the dog days of summer are fun again and ol Yeller is frolicking around like a crazed Labrador in a mud puddle.
What, why and how did the mad scientists turn around these wastelands of baseball? Step one was to unload all of the high-priced malcontents and gather up as many draft picks as possible. Then ownership must allow for the anger to manifest with the fan base and explain to them this is a rebuilding plan, not a fire sale. They will be mad and the talk show airwaves will spew out venom and the fans will demand lower beer and hot dog prices. You may have to weather this storm for three to five years, may be longer.
If you survive the fan backlash, media uproar and public shaming then you must field a team that has some semblance of hope. That hope will usually arrive in the form of some peach fuzzed kids that have some pop and swagger. Soon, the fans will like these young pups and hopefully the management won’t give up on them and send them to back and forth to boot camp and exciting bus rides in the minors.
Next step is the most important, the secret ingredient, pitching, pitching and pitching, then more pitching, followed by more pitching. If you don’t believe me look at the Mets and the prime example, the Giants. They have had the same bullpen for the last five years and mish mash of starters that get it done in October. Again, important for managers and coaches not to ride their young pitchers like donkeys, or you are looking at Tommy John and his surgery.
The last two things are the intangibles and the glue that keeps the train from derailing and house of cards from falling down. Get some veterans that are battle tested and hungry for a big ring on their finger. The final and most esoteric piece to the winning formula, chemistry…there I said it. Twenty-five guys don’t have to all like each other, but it sure helps when the team isn’t squabbling about their playing time and who cheats at cards.
Can it be the year of the Cubbies? holy smokes, if that happens, Donald Trump might become president…. Okay that was weird but so is the Cubs or Astros winning the whole enchilada. Enjoy the ride and fans might just be watching baseball again in October.