If someone could explain to me what the Chicago Cubs are doing, I would greatly appreciate it.
You see, I've come to understand that in life, it is much more important to understand than to agree. That's doubly true in regards to sports.
Us armchair GM's are always planning and scheming our team's next move with trade scenarios, mock drafts and free-agent lists, most which never come to fruition.
As ardently as we believe in those paths to success, when the actual general mangers make their moves, we don't always like them, but we can find a way to get behind them.
As a Chicago kid, I am very used to the idea of "trusting" my general manager and finding some reason in why they do what they do. The trades may ultimately not pan out, but you can understand the reasoning behind them and continue living in a sane sports psyche.
Take the 2001 trade of Chicago Bulls power forward Elton Brand to the Los Angles Clippers.
Coming off back-to-back 20 and 10 seasons, Brand seemed to be the only link between the Jordan Bulls dynasty and some sort of basketball respectability.
Whenever the Bulls were mocked and ridiculed you could always say, "We"ll at least they have Elton Brand, he's pretty good" (for whatever that's worth).
And while it was fairly obvious the Bulls weren't headed for success anytime soon, they at least had a solid power forward, who played hard and was a fan favorite.
Then on NBA draft night 2001, Bulls GM Jerry Krause traded Brand, the No. 1 overall pick just two seasons prior, to the Clippers for fresh faced 18-year-old power forward Tyson Chandler.
The trade actually infuriated me at the time as I had just received an Elton Brand jersey for Christmas and didn't believe Santa Clause would bring me another one after witnessing the short lifespan of an NBA jersey.
Along with my Santa problems, many Bulls fan were were incensed that their already "Baby Bulls" would be getting even babier.
But after hearing the logic behind the trade, as Krause believed Brand wasn't a franchise player and the 18-year-old Chandler was thought of as the next Kevin Garnett, fans were able to get behind the "Twin Towers" of high school seniors Chandler and Eddy Curry.
As badly as the move turned out, the logic was understandable.
So that brings me back to my original question. What exactly are the Chicago Cubs doing?
In the span of three seasons, GM Jim Hendry has managed to turn a 97-win, NL Central division champion into a team destined for 100 wins and already in the hells of baseball irrelevancy as the once filled seats of Wrigley Field have turned uncharacteristically empty.
And while this all was predictable many seasons ago, as the Cubs spent frantically and irresponsibly in hopes of creating a winner (and making the team more attractive in the pending sale of the franchise) the recent moves of GM Jim Hendry, starting with the trade and signing of Matt Garza and Carlos Pena, have been beyond confusing.
Instead of facing the reality that the window for a Cubs winner closed just after Alfonso Soriano swung and missed at another spinner in the dirt, for the final out of the 2008 NLCS, Hendry has attempted to duct tape back together a crumbling house.
And the recent trade deadline deals, or lack there of, have been even worse.
Trading Kosuke Fukudome for players not even recognized by Baseball America shows incompetence, and not moving players with value such as Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Pena and Marlon Byrd shows denial on the part of Hendry.
I've never been to one, but they say the first step that must be served by anyone with an addiction is to first admit that their is a problem.
Well, I'll do it for him.
My name is Jim Hendry, and I am in denial.
If only Hendry could figure that out.
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