By Eric Williams
— Like me, channel surfers everywhere may have stumbled upon the single most disturbing event in the history of television last night.
And before you guess, it wasn’t the Dancing With the Stars All Star competition or a replay of Piers Morgan's interview with a perpetually incoherent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, rather it was the fact the Chicago Cubs are still playing baseball.
Finding out the Cubs are still playing baseball is like discovering Branson actually has a Neil Diamond Tribute show. And at 59-97 it’s no stretch to say the ticket to see a fake Neil Diamond 2,000 miles from the real Las Vegas is likely hotter than anything Wrigley can offer.
In fact something tells me more people would walk across the street to see how many pork rinds Honey Boo Boo can eat before throwing up than those who would actually want to see the Cubs play.
The Cubs should do their fans, Cooperstown, all competitive sports everywhere - including Jai Alai - and the integrity of the game a favor and stop playing baseball as soon as possible. In fact maybe the Diamondbacks could play the replacement refs tonight in Arizona to give MLB ratings a temporary bump.
Since mid June the Cubs season has been dying a slow death; like a Billy the Kid has already emptied his six shooter and they’re still clinging to life with garbled groans kind of slow.
Call them what you will: a hot mess, a dumpster fire or God’s gift to perpetual disappointment, the Cubs are on a fast track to whatever the next stop beyond irrelevance is. This isn’t uncharted territory for the Northsiders of course.
But the Cubs brass better do something in the next seven months or the only thing their ticket takers will be gathering next season is cobwebs.
In fact if the Cubs don't do anything before next year I’m not sure a "Free Season Ticket Night" will be enough to get people out to Wrigley. Barring a remarkable finish, this team is going to lose 100 games which means that, instead of newspapers, people will begin associating Cubs tickets with the lining of bird cages or as a cheaper option for papier-mâché.
I'm tired of waiting for next year. Waiting for next year is the single greatest marketing ploy since Publisher’s Clearinghouse or the Doublemint Twins.
Besides there are no 40 somethings out there who are actually sitting in their parent's basement clad in Cubs garb with a copy of the 2013 schedule and calendar in hand waiting for the season to begin or Mitt Romney would have mentioned them by name during the welfare crusade he launched at his $50,000 a plate fundraiser.
But alas if we’re to raise any fingers towards the Cubs organization for their 2012 product perhaps it’s best pointed at Theo Epstein for he is the one who traded, released or reassigned almost every player the Cubs had who could hit, field or stay upright with any regularity.
The good news for Epstein is Cubs fans may be a beleaguered and oft-tortured bunch but, if anything, they’re also patient. And in the interest of being fair most will wait Epstein out. After all he is seen as the man who ended the Red Sox curse.
He better hope the “trade every relevant player you have away” philosophy he’s borrowed from the Twins organization actually pans out however because, after a 100 loss season, anything less than a World Series win will suffice. OK, so maybe we’ll settle for an appearance. Heck even after 100 years, we’re still willing to settle for baby steps.