The Chicago Cubs are heading south. And I don’t mean south for their upcoming interleague series with the White Sox. There is a very well written article by Jon Greenberg of ESPNChicago that discussed the disintegration of anything resembling baseball on Chicago’s North Side and who’s to blame.
While there is plenty of blame to go around, it’s sad to see this happening in such a great city, at a ballpark of historic proportion. Step past Ernie or Harry on the outskirts of Wrigley, pass through the gates, and walk into history. Once inside, you can hear the whispers of stories told by fathers to sons of a wonderful game played against a backdrop of ivy, you can see the hopeful faces of a fan base with short memories and dreams of breaking curses, and you can feel the collective history of a team and ballpark that has hosted hall of famers and the average Joe alike.
Yet even with the mystique of Wrigley Field propping up a beleaguered city, something must be done to correct the current path the Cubs are on. The terrible play of the Cubs over the last few years is starting to put a dent in the long-faithful attendance Chicago has boasted. Part of the drop off is surely due to the economy, but for a team that was on a short list of teams that could sell out their park through thick and thin, the numbers are troubling.
According to ESPN.com the attendance figures have been slowly dropping over the last four years as you can see below:
2008 – 3,300,200
2009 – 3,168,859
2010 – 3,062,973
And if the current numbers for 2011 are extrapolated over the course of the season, the Cubs are on pace to draw just 2,831,037. That would be the lowest total since 2002.
What’s wrong with the Cubs? It looks like they are a big market team that doesn’t know how to spend its money. Sometimes just throwing money at players and building a team around former all-stars works. But when it doesn’t, why keep doing it?
The Cubs are desperately in need of a cohesive clubhouse, one with young talent and true leaders. Yet in an effort to win now, they are wasting money on one year, $10 million contracts. They are throwing away cash on what could be rather than investing in what works.
The Chicago Cubs need a complete overhaul. With the Red Sox winning two Championships since 2004, the laughable curse of the billy goat just isn’t funny anymore. There’s no excuse for not winning. In a city like Chicago and the resources at hand, the Cubs should be perennial challengers. There is a breakdown in the management of this team from top down, and unless it’s corrected there will be fewer and fewer fans singing during that famous 7th Inning Stretch.