What will it take to get you excited about the 2014 Chicago Cubs?

I’m supposed to be writing about baseball, but instead I’m shopping for red shoes on Zappos.com. Why? Because there is little left to discuss in the Chicago Cubs’ 2013 season that interests me, and even the boy-next-door good looks of Ryan Sweeney isn’t going to change that. This doesn’t mean that I’m not looking forward to where this team will be in a few years or that I don’t support what Theo and Jed are doing. It just means that, just like every year for the last few years, I am counting down the days until this season is out of its misery. Judging from the “crowd” at the most recent Cubs games, I’m not alone.

Excited Cubs fan is excited.

Excited Cubs fan is excited.

A few days ago, I wrote a bit about what it would take to get me excited about this team again. It was totally tongue-in-cheek, but i’m curious. What would it take you to get excited about the 2014 Chicago Cubs (OTHER than renovated Wrigley, doc)? I’m genuinely curious. Will you watch an improved-but-still-kinda-bad Cubs team? Or have you checked out until the Cubs can actually compete in the NL Central? And, if so, WHEN do you think this team will be competitive? 2014? 2015? 2016?

When I started this blog in 2007, the Cubs were in the midst of the Lou Piniella playoff (mini-streak) and we were all so excited about this team. I know this season (well, let’s be honest, the last few seasons) have driven a bunch of you underground. I don’t blame you for not having the inclination or energy to want to talk about this team. Carl and I barely have the inclination to write about this team. But we like to know that you’re still around, because having to write about the Cubs first thing every morning is a thankless job, and the only thing that keeps Carl and me from the absinthe is knowing you guys are reading and cursing and vowing vengeance upon the Cubs, even if you do it silently.

Remember the old-fashioned blog “roll calls?” We’re bringing it back. Roll Call!

33 thoughts on “What will it take to get you excited about the 2014 Chicago Cubs?

  1. 2014 will be an interesting year to see how the front office handles the variety of prospects we have (the big four: Bryant, Baez, Almora, and Soler)

    1. Doc Blume says:

      I’m going to be pretty disappointed if the Cubs aren’t within 2 to 4 games of .500 by the All-Star break next year. And I’ll be pretty disappointed if they give out some more big contracts to prospects before they really need to give them big contracts. (Rizzo…Castro…???)

  2. Doc Blume says:

    I’m never checked out.

  3. The Cubs are on my radar 365 days a year. I don’t think of them as a 162 game occurence. Our front office is constantly working toward fielding a great team and building our minor league system. They are tireleessly working on making this team a contender year in and year out. Everything they do interests me as a fan. The development of Rizzo, Castro, Lake, and Smarj are all important parts of the bigger picture. Will Samarj pan out? Will Rizzo and Castro step it up? Is Lake the real deal? And what about Baez, Soler, Bryant, Edwards and all the other great young talent the Cubs have? What progress are they making? I’m already excited about 2014 and it hasn’t even started yet.

  4. J says:

    it will take a retooling of the starting rotation (starting with the trade of spellcheck), the acquisition of a middle of the order power hitter, and a new crop of spare parts to get me excited about 2014 in Wrigley.

  5. matt says:

    No waiver-wire guys or career minor-leaguers playing a major role. No Bryan LaHairs, Cody Ransoms, Donnie Murphys, etc. starting regularly, no matter how fun and unlikely their month or two of success is. Please. Let’s get players that are good at baseball. Not players we hope might be good enough at baseball to hold down the fort for a month or two.

    1. juliedicaro says:

      This is a huge one. I would argue this is what has really killed the fan support the last few seasons.

    2. Bob in Madison says:

      I agree with Matt. Next year promises to be slightly less bad than this year (maybe we can get close to .500), but it would be nice to see some actual prospects on the roster instead of the replacement-level filler we’ve seen the last few years. Any kind of progress from the organizational rebuild would be nice to see next year.

    3. Doc Blume says:

      That sounds a lot like the Jim Hendry approach….bringing players in that will keep the fan base interested.

      1. dabirdguy says:

        I agree. I’d rather the money they would spend for journeymen be spent on stars or kids.

      2. matt says:

        I’m not talking about handing out no-trade clauses and long contracts like they’re free candy. I’m talking about signing legitimate major league players to short-term, affordable deals- similar to the Dejesus. Guys with actual major-league track records, not minor-league lifers.

  6. Drew says:

    I’m already excited about next year. As The Plan rolls on, I think we’re going to see a team that has a very outside chance at competing next year, and I see 2015 as the season everything kicks into high gear.

  7. sloanpeterson2 says:

    I just want the Cubs to improve. I am willing to watch even crummy Cubs games,because I love baseball. I do think the Cubs need to stop giving millions to college grads, or to guys who left Cuba, or guys whom there are rumours that they are the next big thing…

    1. Doc Blume says:

      technically, they improved this year.

  8. johnnywest333 says:

    I stopped drinking because of the Cubs. I literally can’t lift another bottle. I’ve past the point of no return. Send my love to Theo and his hot wife. Speaking of Theo’s wife is she on Twitter?

  9. Raythar says:

    A .500ish record come the trade deadline would be good, which I think is achievable. We would’ve been there this year had the bullpen been in better shape from the get go. Some gradual improvement next year from the kids, along with finding a couple of solid complementary pieces to really set up a good run for 2015.

    Honestly, since Theo and Co came along, I have been waiting for 2015. Every time I get grief for the Cubs current state of sucking, I always reply with “2015!” Next year will go a long way towards deciding if this team will fulfill my expectation of being competitive by then.

  10. NotAgain says:

    Competitive 4 to 6 years after the rebuild process starts. COMPETITIVE. Not making the WS, but not sucking.

    This is an interesting read. bit.ly/181QfDZ

    I recall reading ESPN stories about the Pirates in ’08 when Bob Nutting took over and they started dumping their “good” players and fan favorites like Jason Bay, McLouth, LaRoche, Freddy Sanchez and Jack Wilson in exchange for tons of young talent. It was fun to read the fan comments doing nothing but ripping on the FO for every single trade for “no-names” who’d never amount to anything. Very few and far between was the fan who saw the long-term and realized it was a few years of REAL pain to endure in order to achieve the end goal.

    It’s now been — what, 5 years? — since that process began, and I think you could count the Pirates as “competitive.”

    1. juliedicaro says:

      I know we need placeholders until the prospects are ready, it’s just no fun watching them play. And I do realize what a rebuild means, it just isn’t all that enjoyable to endure.

  11. juliedicaro says:

    Hey– look at all you guys coming out of the woodwork!

    Javier Baez beat out Dave Sappelt and Ian Stewart for Cubs minor league player of the year.

    1. NotAgain says:

      I literally LOL’ed at the mention of Stewart.

      1. juliedicaro says:

        Know who doesn’t laugh at the mention of Ian Stewart?

        Ian Stewart.

        1. Doc Blume says:

          Casey Coleman’s mom is going to be pissed you didn’t mention Casey Coleman.

  12. juliedicaro says:

    So . . my tv remote is someplace underneath me, I can’t find it, but every time I move, the channel changes. This may be the absolute low point of my life.

    1. Doc Blume says:

      Congratulations.

    2. Raythar says:

      Place something in front of the TV receptor so it doesn’t change.

  13. dabirdguy says:

    I’ve been a Cubs fan for 63 years now. This team is a little bit entertaining. The REALLY bad teams of the late 70′s were appalling to watch because there was no HOPE. When the big story of the month is that Kingman dumped a bucket or water on a dipshit sportswriter you KNOW the team was terrible.
    That there is a plan, they shared the plan, they are working that plan. and it seems to be working is as exciting as it is gonna get.

    I mean what are the choices? Watching badmitten on ESPN?

    I will get EXCITED if they sign a BIG name to a long contract, ONLY because it means we really ARE close to a kick-ass season.

  14. eric says:

    It’s hard to be excited about next year unless the major league roster starts graduating some of those “touted” prospects sooner rather than later. The Cubs aren’t going to spend big on a big name offensive free agent, so we are left rooting for guys like Nate Schierholtz or the Donnie Murphy’s of the world, and that’s a hard sell.

    I kind of thought this might be the year Castro and Rizzo develop into consistent major league players, but boy did they do their best to prove me wrong. I’m still not sure about either as long-term solutions but they are young and until the Cubs go a different direction all we can do is hope they mature and develop, maybe next year is that year.

    I still remember how that 1989 season kind of came out of nowhere, and with the 2 wild cards now, who knows maybe the Cubs catch lightning in a bottle and have a successful year next season. I just would hate to see another sub .500 year, there’s got to be a little bit of progress at some point.

    1. dabirdguy says:

      I have in my possession the betting slip I bought in Vegas in 1984.
      $100 wager.
      Chicago Cubs to win the World Series.
      Odds 100-1
      The keys I used:
      1. Previous season’s record in 1 run games. Higher number is better. Bad record is good. This indicates they were IN a lot of games and lost a lot of close ones.
      2. Winter moves to improve the weaknesses from last season.
      3. The last 2 months stats of the returning regulars.

      Fargin Leon Duram cost me TEN GRAND.

      1. Doc Blume says:

        Did you send him a bill?

      2. eric says:

        Good stuff, just a little short or you would’ve been rolling in some cash.

        I’d blame a slew of things in ’84 though, not just the Bull.

  15. sloanpeterson2 says:

    Beef Castle goes yard!

    1. Doc Blume says:

      I blame Theriot.

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