Despite a 24/7 news and sports cycle that runs 365 days a year, MLB in Chicago is just starting to stir from a long winter’s nap that began with the final out of the 2012 regular season. And from what the Cubs are showing us so far, that nap is likely to continue, so feel free to hit the snooze alarm until at least April.
Not that team president, Theo Epstein and owner, Tom Ricketts, haven’t tried to get some attention these past few months, but for all of Epstein’s bargain shopping in free agency and Ricketts’ press releases concerning new corporate schemes to get some kickback money for the rebuilding of Wrigley Field, the off-season “fan-o-meter” has barely budged.
What about last weekend’s Cubs’ Convention, you ask? It was attended by a cast of thousands! Well, that’s what they used to say at the beginning of every broadcast of Bozo’s Circus and there were only a few dozen dutiful parents and bored children in attendance. Sort of like the Cubs’ Convention last weekend.
It’s one thing to fill up a couple hotel suites with MLB’s own take of a sci-fi convention and quite another to generate interest in a team coming off a 100 loss season when there is really no end in sight to losing at least 90 games in 2013 and finishing last in the NL Central (come back Houston Astros!).
Expect the attendance dip from last year to continue this spring and summer and tickets re-sold for pennies on the dollar on the street and on-line. Makes one wonder how the Ricketts Family ever made all that money in the first place. But they have their pile and it’s the brokers who are waiting for the next sight of water or even a decent mirage, in this Cubs’ desert.
The Cubs will soon be heading to an actual desert in Arizona to practice their skills with a bunch of guys named “Scott” on their roster, with pedestrian outfielder Hairston being only the latest of a group that already includes last fall signees, pitchers named Feldman and Baker, both mediocre, at best.
Even if any new acquisition does well this season, they in all likelihood will be flipped faster than a bundled home mortgage from the Bush era to a more serious team in exchange for players who require as much seasoning as it takes to flavor packaged meat bought at Costco. If anybody tells you that the team’s future looks bright, remember you can go blind from looking directly at the sun. But for now, the Cubs seem in the middle of a total eclipse that’s not likely to pass for a long while.