Cubs’ front office preaches future because present is as bad as it can get
BY GORDON WITTENMYER October 4, 2012 10:55PM
Updated: November 6, 2012 6:34AM
Looking back on his first year at the helm, Cubs president Theo Epstein pointed Thursday to progress behind the scenes during an otherwise “very disappointing” season, including some player acquisitions, the tone set by manager Dale Sveum’s staff and early buildup of a scouting and player development “infrastructure.”
But he couldn’t escape the sinking feeling depicted on the back page of Thursday’s Sun-Times.
“There are a lot of positives,’’ he said. “They don’t resonate right now quite as much because I think we’re all swimming in what it feels like to lose 101 games, and it’s not pleasant — or, I guess, not swimming.
“I haven’t seen [the back page], but [media relations director] Peter [Chase] told me I need some swimming lessons, quickly.’’
COST OF LIVING ON A PRAYER
Team president Theo Epstein promises no timelines or big free-agent fixes for getting this historically bad Cubs team turned around quickly, even as he acknowledges, “We’re accountable for what happens in the big leagues” during this ground-up rebuilding project.
He also offers no promises of ticket-price relief while fans paying the third-highest average price in the game ($46.30) wait for big-league results.
And indications from the team suggest the average will stay roughly the same in 2013.
101 Losses this season, third-most in franchise history behind the 1962 and 1966 teams (both 103).
58 Franchise-record road losses.
2Overall draft position in next June’s amateur draft.
613 Third-lowest run total in the National League.
759 Third-highest run total allowed in the NL.
135,210 Decrease in attendance from last year to this year’s 2,882,756, dropping the Cubs below 3 million for the first time in nine years.
53 Franchise-record number of players used.
12 Consecutive losses from May 15-27, longest skid since a franchise-record 14-gamer in 1997.
10 Uniform number of Cubs legend Ron Santo, inducted into the Hall of Fame on July 22.
141 Consecutive errorless games at second base for Darwin Barney, tying Placido Polanco’s single-season major-league record.
65 NL-leading hit batters by Cubs pitchers (three short of White Sox’ MLB-leading total).
573 NL-leading walks by Cubs pitching staff (one short of Toronto’s MLB-leading total).
108 Career-high RBI for Alfonso Soriano, third in the NL.
80Appearances by reliever Shawn Camp, tied for most in NL.
‘‘Insufficient evidence to bring forth criminal charges.’’
— State’s attorney’s office spokeswoman Sally Daly, April 19, on results of six-month investigation into sexual-assault allegations against Starlin Castro.
— Pitcher Kerry Wood, May 8, when a reporter mentioned him throwing his hat and glove into the stands after a bad outing. He retired 10 days later.
‘‘I just want to keep playing. It doesn’t matter where. I’ll pitch on the freaking moon.’’
— Pitcher Matt Garza, June 13, on rumors he might be traded.
‘‘I’m here to stay.’’
— 1B Anthony Rizzo, June 26, before his much-anticipated Cubs debut.
“It gives you chills.’’
— 1B/RF Bryan LaHair, July 1, on unlikely All-Star selection.
“I started out great, got sick and then it just went to a crap show from there.”
— Matt Garza, July 5, assessing his first half (he suffered a season-ending elbow injury two starts later).
‘‘They’ve got a new Golden Tee machine, so I went to try that out.’’
—Pitcher Ryan Dempster, whose approval was needed to trade him, July 31, on spending the final hour before his trade to Texas in the Cubs’ offices while Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer negotiated.
‘‘We’re building a young core, and Starlin’s right in the middle of that.’’
— GM Jed Hoyer, Aug. 28, as Cubs signed Castro (above) to a seven-year, $60 million deal.
‘‘Just men playing against boys right now.’’
— Manager Dale Sveum, Sept. 5, after another loss to the Washington Nationals.
‘‘Better than 102.’’
— Sveum, Wednesday, after the Cubs scored in the bottom of the ninth to finish with 101 losses.