Since the midpoint of 2002 the Chicago Cubs organization has been defined by their two powerful young pitchers. In 2003 the organization and the fans were privy to a great one-two punch and began dreaming of the future years with a hunch. One came close to the Cy Young and the other was almost done. We were all slugging Cubbie Kool-Aid faster than you can say Dr. James Andrews. Unfortunately for these two men the good Doctor became much more important than a baseball mitt or a bunch of brews. After 2006 Jim Hendry publicly stated that he could not count on these two and he needed to do something about it. In my humble opinion they both took the franchise hostage for quite some time. It was not done on purpose or with malice, but they broke the ultimate chalice.
This team has tried to move past them, tried to replace them, tried to forget about them. But that is simply impossible. The biggest news of this off-season was the signing of one of them and the possible or what some call imminent trade of the other one. As much as the General Manager and the Organization have tried to move past them it has not happened. The media will not let it happen and for some crazy reason some of the fans will not either.
Many of the similarities end here. The older is beloved by this city for his grit and his loyalty. The other is referred to as a wimp, a pretty boy, in fact, somewhat petty. While some of these monikers are fair some may not be. He walked out on an autograph signing because it was not a good situation. No one should ever do that to their fans. The other dedicated himself and lost almost 50 pounds last off-season.
One is from Texas and that greatly defines him. One is from Southern California….and that greatly defines him. We are ecstatic that one is back and we want the other banished to the nether-regions of the Country. One will always be a Chicago icon and we are not sure we want to give the other his fourth chance.
The Cubs can sign the likes of Soriano, Ramirez, Lee and DeRosa, but this team will always revolve around the two men and more importantly their arms, shoulders and rotator cuffs. The 20 strikeout game is regaled more emotionally and more often than the other’s Cy Young-esque season.
Many would cut off a limb to have a beer with the Texan and we would scoff at the opportunity to eat dinner with the San Diegan. No matter where they go or what they do people will always lump them together. Oh what could have been? The promise of a better day floated through the air when they took the mound. The century of losing seemed liked a thing of the past while nothing but glory seemed to abound.
Anger, depression, sadness and hopelessness are just some of the feelings that float through a fan when they think of these two men. We were treated to one hell of a September from the Texan and we sit here again ready to rely on him to come in and close the game.
The other is rehabbing and may be ready for Spring Training. But wait, we have been down this road before. Will they sign him? Will they trade him? Miggy Tejada sure would have looked good at SS, but hindsight is 20/20 and that is not fair to the Hendry.
We hoped every Spring Training would bring different news, but it never did. We hoped they would make it back, but they have not yet. Yes, one is getting there, but let’s give it a full season.
Pitchers and catchers report in about two and a half months. At this point we have no idea what to expect or how to know what the season will bring. The beginning is a mystery and the end as well. It has been 100 years now. The Cubs fate seems to be in hell. Frustration, set backs and curses have gripped these two for a long while now.
I love the Texan and am greatly irked by the San Diegan. However, there is something inside of me that says just one more year. Give it just one more year. By no means should you count on it, but if it is there it would be one great surprise. I am mad at everything involved in the careers of these two. I am ticked at what happened and scream all day about the atrocities, but there is one way this can all go away….
If Lou Piniella takes the ball out of Mark Prior’s hand in the bottom of the ninth in Game 7 in late October and passes it to Kerry Wood for the final two outs….all will be forgiven. And when that happens, these two men will be linked to each other forever. And that, my friends, is how it was always supposed to be.
Feel free to contact me at Brian@chicagocubsonline.com and until next time….
Stay Classy Cubs Fans!