Cubs fans claimed they would be patient and understanding with the idea of sitting through a rebuilding program.
Not that fans had any experience at it. The Cubs always acted like the Yankees with a learner’s permit. The Cubs were always about winning now.
And the Cubs always lost when it mattered.
Or just plain lost so much that nothing except the next firing mattered.
Either way, they killed their fans with all kinds of cockamamie seasons. Apparently nobody ever thought their fans could survive an attempt to do it the smart way.
And then came Tom Ricketts’ seizing upon the Boston Rats Nest and stealing Theo Epstein, and Cubs fans welcomed the idea of following Baseball Moses throught he desert of rebuilding.
Can I just say something here: Epstein calls it a “building’’ program because he apparently can’t use the “R’’ word, but he’s insulting fans. It’s a matter of semantics, and besides, fans would love for someone to use the R word after all the garbage and stupidity they’ve seen for, I don’t, a hundred years, give or take.
Anyway, the renovation of the team began and continues, but the problem with Cubs fans saying they would sit through a rebuilding project is that Opening Day eventually comes.
Like, Thursday afternoon.
The big story is a suit. Oh, and a party patio and 75-foot LED scoreboard. Whatever, the big story is not a uniform, even Kerry Wood’s.
So, now what? Part of the rebuilding program forces teams to play 162 actual baseball games, as unsightly as that appears to be when the shortstop hit five times as many home runs last year as this year’s starting corner infielders.
So, who or what do you root for in a season marked by lowered expectations?
Lucky for you, Stevie Sunshine is a pleaser, not a teaser, and I have compiled a list of things Cubs fans can root for:
*A great start by Marlon Byrd to make him more attractive in trade so the Cubs can put Brett Jackson in center and leave him there for 10 years.
* A walk.
*Or at least a 3-and-2 count.
*Dale Sveum's learning curve.
*Matt Garza pitching like an ace, either for this team or for someone who wants to give up four prospects in return.
*Starlin Castro's attention span.
* Ian Stewart finding a stroke.
* Alfonso Soriano finding a taker.
* Intelligent baserunning.
* Actual defense.
* Bryan LaHair proving right Epstein’s idea of a unearthing an undervalued player in his prime window.
* Anthony Rizzo being ready in case Epstein’s wrong.
* Jeff Samardzija proving wrong the idea that he would be a great No. 2 target for Jay Cutler.
* Carlos Marmol’s velocity and movement.
* A lot of reasons to use Carlo Marmol’s velocity and movement.
* Next year.