Can you picture Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo getting into a shouting match in the dugout? I can’t. And that’s one reason we’re lucky here in Chicago.
The dysfunctional Dodgers are in town. Sure, they’re in first place. Yeah, they have the best pitcher on the planet. But are they likable? I’m not so sure.
Yasiel Puig’s mental lapses make Starlin Castro look like a MENSA candidate. He committed one just the other night and Matt Kemp berated him in the dugout. It’s not the first time Puig has been called out by the team.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 18, 2014
Some may argue that a young player needs a kick in the pants from a veteran once in a while. I would agree, but there’s a time and a place for everything. Creating controversy by publicly airing dirty laundry does not build team unity.
And Puig isn’t the only one who has some issues. Hanley Ramirez can be described as very talented but also brooding or unpredictable. Carl Crawford, Brian Wilson, Kemp and Rihanna … let’s just say that team is a little weird.
What many of the Dodgers can also be called is rich. Los Angeles has the highest payroll in baseball at $238 million and boasts nine players making $10 million or more. The Cubs have the 28th highest payroll at $73 million, and Starlin Castro is the highest paid Cub at $5.6 million.
Many years, those stats would make me and many other Cubs fans insane. “Chicago is a major market, damn it. It ain’t cheap to go to Wrigley. Spend the money,” we’d say. But not this year.
Does it suck to lose this many games? Absolutely. But the Cubs have also spent many years throwing good money after bad. They spent decent money and still couldn’t put together a team capable of winning it all. So they started over, and now we’re starting to see the results of that plan.
Baez, Jorge Soler, Kris Bryant … we all know the names. The Cubs are building a young AND CHEAP nucleus. As fans, there are two major benefits to this. First, the players remain more accessible to everyday schmucks like you and me. They still make way, way more money than we do, but relative to their peers they are entry level workers.
Second, their lack of big league experience means they still have to prove themselves and haven’t been corrupted by riches and stardom. Like the Dodgers.
If all goes according to plan for the Cubs, they will spend some money on some established stars to augment the nucleus. I’m sure character will be a major consideration considering the young and impressionable minds in the Cubs dugout. And some of these young Cubs will develop into stars and will have different pressures to deal with.
— AP Sports (@AP_Sports) September 18, 2014
Even then, I struggle to imagine a rich and successful Rizzo publicly berating rich and famous Baez in the Cubs dugout. Rizzo wins awards for being a good guy, for crying out loud, and he’s a team leader.
In general, I think guys like Baez, Soler, Rizzo, even Castro, are fundamentally likable. We’ll see if that stays the same after they win their first World Series.
You can reach us at Cubs Fan Therapy.