I knew I was going to write this post at some point this season, but the Cubs fan in me hoped it wouldn’t be this soon. The Cubs have lost 10 straight, their worst losing streak since 1997, when they managed to lose 14 in a row. ’97 was one of the more miserable years in Cubs history–the team never had a record over .500 and lost 94 games in all–but it’s hard to imagine it was worse than this year so far.
For anyone willing to argue this, let me immediately shut down your argument. This year’s team is starting Koyie Hill at catcher, recently acquired from the Reds’ Double-A affiliate for a washing machine and a 30-pack of Keystone Light. Baseball Reference says Koyie Hill is a career .211 hitter, but I don’t see how that’s possible. By my estimates, Koyie Hill doesn’t have more than 10 career hits, which would put his average at .012. Yeah, that’s definitely accurate. Get your shit together, Baseball Reference.
The Cubs are bad in so many ways, but it shouldn’t be a surprise. Theo Epstein and his disciples have been up-front from Day One that this year is the first phase of rebuilding, but that didn’t stop me from cringing last night when they were 0-12 with runners in scoring position en route to a 1-0 loss in Pittsburgh. They’ve struggled miserably to score runs, and while the starting pitching has been passable, the bullpen (the one perceived strength before the season!) has been a revolving door of walks and blown saves. The only position player truly worth watching is Starlin Castro, who hasn’t drawn a walk in over a month and is probably suffering some fatigue from starting every game thus far. If you’re managing this team, though, do you really have a choice? How bad would this lineup look without Castro?
The Cubs are on pace to lose 108 games this season, which would break the franchise record of 103 (in 1962 and ’66). According to one of sports’ worst clichés, there’s a lot of baseball left to be played, but I wouldn’t bet against this team rewriting the record books. If Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster continue pitching well, there’s reason to believe they’ll be traded for prospects. Such trades would make the current Cubs more cringe-worthy, but they’re the right moves for the future. Garza is still young, but 35-year-old Ryan Dempster will probably be retired by the time the Cubs are ready to seriously contend. If he’s worth a good prospect or two to a contender at the trade deadline, it’s a no-brainer.
Rebuilding is a long, difficult process, but if Theo can eventually do what he did in Boston, it’s all worth it. A championship four or five years down the road would serve to completely erase the memories of 2012’s futility. Still, the only history that might be made this season is the all-time losses record. Like the Charlotte Bobcats of the NBA, the Cubs have a chance at being historically bad in 2012.
Speaking of the Bobcats, half the guys on the Cubs are as bad at baseball as Michael Jordan was. Maybe they can replace “Go Cubs Go” with the Space Jam theme song.
If you’re a Cubs-fan-in-hiding right now, do your best to stick it out. If you can manage to make it to Wrigley to watch this team, StubHub has tickets for Wednesday’s game against the Padres for $5 apiece. If the Cubs keep losing up to that point, they’ll be going for 15 in a row that afternoon. $5 seems like a small price to pay to see history, doesn’t it?
Follow Sean on Twitter: @sg44444