Chicago Cubs Monday Headlines: Fireside chat with Theo

Most published articles about the Chicago Cubs the last couple days have been on the subject of a certain something that happened 10 years ago today. I’m not interested in pouring over all that dreck, but I did find an interview with Theo Epstein by Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago. The theme of the piece is that fatefull fall 2003 night, but Theo talked about other things, too. Like declining attendance.theo

“You can look at it both ways,” Epstein said. “Sure, you guys see the numbers and there’s been a decrease. But at the same time, this is a team that unfortunately is in last place. We traded 40 percent of our rotation two years in a row now and 2.6 million people have shown up to watch us play.

“I don’t doubt and will never doubt the dedication of our fans. It’s a huge asset to have as an organization and we don’t take that for granted. So we’re working our tails off to make the organization healthier, to reward them, ultimately, with the only thing that you really can reward fans with — winning clubs.”

The Cubs still ranked 12th in all of baseball in home attendance. That put them ahead of playoff teams like Atlanta, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. And while we all know that 2.6 million people didn’t attend games at Wrigley, they did manage to sell that many tickets. And Theo knows the fans will come back (hopefully to an improved ballpark experience).

“I have no doubt that the minute we put a winning team on the field, we will have a packed park,” Epstein said. “Raucous crowds and borderline intimidating crowds and a huge home-field advantage. Up until that point, all we can ask of our fans is to trust us that we’re working as hard as we can to make it happen.

“I would never spend someone’s money for ‘em. It’s a personal thing. But I will say that I believe the experience will ultimately be more rewarding if they’re around for the whole journey. That’s why we appreciate so many of them coming out this year.”

We’ve been on this journey a looooooong time.

The kids in the AFL didn’t play this weekend, but in case you hadn’t seen, Kris Bryant and Albert Almora hit the seams off the ball in their first few games in Arizona.

Kris Bryant hit a two-out RBI single in the first, driving in Jorge Soler, who had reached on an error, and a solo home run in the seventh to lift the Mesa Solar Sox to a 7-3 victory Friday night over the Peoria Javelinas in Surprise. Bryant was 2-for-5, and is 7-for-14 in three games in the Arizona Fall League with two home runs.

(snip)

The Cubs’ Albert Almora, who is 6-for-10 in two games, will take part. Almora has hit for the cycle in his first two games with Mesa.

So there’s that.

 

16 thoughts on “Chicago Cubs Monday Headlines: Fireside chat with Theo

  1. J says:

    “Raucous crowds and borderline intimidating crowds…”

    Sounds like he expecting the return of the obnoxious, date-rapey douchebags. Can’t we aspire to something greater than that which we were before?

    1. Doc Blume says:

      I attended playoff games in 2007 and 2008…those crowds were anything but raucous and borderline intimidating. There wasn’t even much of a buzz around the ballpark before those games…completely different than the atmosphere around the games in 2003…of which I attended 3 playoff games.

      I’m guessing until the Cubs get within 27 outs of the World Series, we’ll see the same thing.

      Crowds at Wrigley haven’t been raucous and intimidating since mid-way through the 2004 season. No…I take that back…they’ve been intimidating…but not to the other team.

  2. juliedicaro says:

    I’ve already head to talk about that stupid game three times today. UGH.

    Also, a Boston fan just called me “an airhead.” That’s a new one.

    1. Doc Blume says:

      I’ve watched a replay of that game once since that night (last year it was on MLB network). I’m not sure I can actually watch anything about it tonight.

    2. FrankS says:

      Nobody is FORCING you to talk about it. You could always turn down media requests.

      1. juliedicaro says:

        Moi? Hahahahaha. I actually have turned down quite a few, but when you’re on the radio and someone brings it up, you’re kinda stuck.

        1. Doc Blume says:

          I almost called in today. But I got called away to a meeting.

  3. Doc Blume says:

    The one thing I remember more than anything else, even the Bartman and Gonzalez plays, from that night 10 years ago was the almost instantaneous change in atmosphere around the ballpark after those two plays happened. In the middle of that 8th inning, the silence at Wrigley was so eerie it still gives me chills thinking about it. The silence was everywhere. It was as quiet as you could ever get 40,000 people to be…and it pretty much continued into the next day with a short blip after Kerry Wood hit that homer in game 7. After that top of the 8th in game six, almost everyone knew the ride was over. I went back into work the next morning and people kept telling (Brewers fans, remind you) me “It’s not over. They can win tonight. Aren’t you going to go down there?” And I kept repeating the same answer…”It’s over. They can’t possibly come back from this.” I didn’t drive back down to Wrigley for that game 7. I saw no reason.

    The silence. So spooky. It haunts me even today.

    1. dabirdguy says:

      “Catching Hell” is being played at 8:00 pm tonight on ESPN2 for those that want to re-live it one more time.

      Personally I think that this single game showed Dustbag Baker to be the worst manager of all time. He could have refocused the team but instead he sat on his ass and chewed that damn toothpick. THAT is what I remember of that night.

  4. Doc Blume says:

    I’d also like to make this point…

    Outside of pretty decent starting rotation, if you look at the roster of the 2003 Cubs, they really weren’t all that impressive.

    1. J says:

      agreed. this is one of the reasons I think the rebuild deserves a closer look. Outside of a few trades, it’s been all position players. How do you build a core of sustained success when your rotation is primarily cast offs and an obnoxious WR?

  5. sloanpeterson2 says:

    To me, what happened 10 years ago, proves that intangibles do matter when people play sports. That foul ball did something to the belief in both the teams and the players, even if they want to deny it…

  6. sloanpeterson2 says:

    As I said yesterday, MLB wants sox-dodgers. Every close call tonight has gone to L.A., even balls on pitchtracks are called strikes..

  7. sloanpeterson2 says:

    Hanley Ramirez better living through chemicals- accupuncture,brace, and “painkillers”, before the game….

  8. hippy says:

    I agree with Theo, the fans will return when the team starts winning. I also agree with some of the posters that the club has no impact pitching anywhere. It’s also important to remember that in 84 the Cubs gave up their only impact prospect, Joe Carter, and got Rick Sutcliffe. If a few prospects make it to the majors and have value . . . others become expendable. If a middle or small market team is headed in the wrong direction with a quality arm about to get expensive . . . they are looking for a load of young talent. I think the team will be better next year and any of the past three . . . it’s an improvement. And that 2015 may catch some people by surprise.

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