Not too long ago, our resident Eeyore regaled us with all the things that could go wrong for the Cubs in 2016, a topic that I found quite necessary. In fact, I was inspired to tread some of the same ground but wanted to wait until Dabynsky’s footprints had faded a bit. So it is with little zeal and great despair that I pick up my digital trombone to play a literary “whomp-whomp” or five.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve still got the utmost confidence in what the Cubs have got going on. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few nagging little issues flitting around inside the cavernous reaches of my gray matter. My hope here is that airing out the belfry will allow me to move forward unencumbered by the lead weights of negativity. Ready to wade through a little fear with me?
50 Shades of Graybeard
Is it the newest piece of baseball erotica or just an aging backstop with a great personality and a terrible slash line? I love a primal scream and a solid veteran presence as much as the next guy, but when that’s all we’re talking about, well…I just don’t know where the value is. While only catching every 5th day mitigates David Ross’s diminution, my real fear is the distinct possibility of an injury to Miguel Montero.
You wanna go through a couple weeks with Ross and some combination of Kyle Schwarber, Tim Fedorowicz, David Freitas behind the plate? I sure don’t. Now, I know what you’re thinking: Willson Contreras, yo! That’s a really cool, really fun thought, but it’s also really premature at this point. Contreras might have the bat to make the jump, but if you want him to be The Man at some point, he’s going to need more time to hone his skills in the crouch.
What if Jake Arrieta tears or sprains something? Other than an opposing player’s confidence, that is. This the same irrational fear I had when walking up the stairs from the basement in my childhood home. All I could do then was run to the safety of the main floor as fast as my 18-year-old legs would carry me. All I can do now is move on to the next topic.
Press Your Luck
No whammy, no whammy, no whammy! As I laid out in (probably too much) detail yesterday, Kris Bryant’s BABIP scares me a little. His contact rates scare me more. While he’s capable of manufacturing a great deal of good fortune, things could get ugly if there’s a work stoppage at the fluke factory. His smile is a thing of beauty, his precociousness endearing, and his insane ability titillating, but his contact numbers are straight-up gross. Bryant was able to make up for his lack of contact with home runs and infield hits and the like, but he’ll have to improve as a hitter moving forward.
I know I shouldn’t worry myself with the trifles of media and meatballs, but this fear is more about the nigh-inescapable vortex of joy they create. Just today, I found myself getting mad online about something Rick Morrissey had written regaring how the Cubs had tanked and were less than completely forthright about their strategy and how he and others had pointed out said strategy mid-tank and how fans wouldn’t listen and how teams should get back the old-fashioned method of winning by winning. I’m so angry I’m writing run-ons!
Never mind that Theo Epstein had been nothing less than completely transparent and that pointing out two years into an obvious rebuild that the Cubs weren’t very good is not something to be proud of. Fans didn’t want to listen because they already knew the deal and didn’t need to have it mediasplained to them by a bunch of guys who still haven’t figured it out after it produced a 97-win season. Get off my lawn with your successful plans, Cubs!
I’M ALREADY SO MAD ABOUT WHAT PEOPLE ARE GOING TO WRITE THIS YEAR THAT I BROKE MY CAPS LOCK KEY AFTER HAVING ALREADY ENDED TWO GRAFS WITH EXCLAMATION POINTS. Whew, fixed the caps. I wasn’t even going to link that Morrissey piece that got my skivvies atwist, but then I thought I should do so for the sake of context. Do you have any idea what I had to brave to retrieve that URL? My obsession with this is starting to scare me, so I’m going to stop now.
Runnin’ on Empty
My greatest fear is of running out of things to write about, as though my proverbial inkwell will suddenly run dry. If that happens I’ll be forced to churn out revisionist history or enumerations of my fears in which I fail to adequately fulfill even the modest total set forth in the headline. Woah…meta.
Now that I think about it though, only being able to come up with four serious concerns about the 2016 season is a very good thing.