Tag Archives: paper

Worth the wait: Cubs’ Bryant call smart

Cubs fans know waiting. That’s what we’ve been doing for over 100 years, some of us longer than others.

That is why any Cubs fan with half a brain doesn’t give a rat’s butt that Kris Bryant will spend 12 days in the minors before making his MLB debut. There’s just too much upside to the decision, despite all the bitching from Bryant’s agent, Scott Boras, and the players union.

See, when Bryant is in his prime in 2020 and presumably the Cubs have built a consistent winner, one of Chicago’s best players will forgo free agency for a year.

This could save the team some number of dollars we can’t even imagine now. What would a Pujols in his prime type of guy earn as a free agent in 2020, $40 million per year? Who knows? It will be ridiculous, though. For those who argue that the Cubs are putting money over winning, that savings in 2020 will mean a hell of a lot more then than 12 days now.

Couldn’t $40 million buy some combination of a great No. 2 starter, a solid veteran bat or a whole bunch of bullpen help? That money could very well mean the difference between a marginal playoff team and a legit World Series contender. Having cheap super talents under team control is a cornerstone of building a winner.

Those 12 days are not going to mean the difference between the Cubs making the playoffs or not this year either. This team has so many question marks, one of which is whether Mike Olt can play. So give him a few weeks to show what he has. When Bryant is called up, Olt either becomes a valuable bench piece or shares time at third base with Bryant, who can also play a little left field.

Hey, Aramis Ramirez and Kenny Lofton were pretty important to the 2003 Cubs, right? They weren’t on the team at the beginning of the season. Neither was Rick Sutcliffe in 1984, and he was the face of that team.

If Bryant comes up and lights it up, nobody is going to remember 12 days.

So step back Boras. The Cubs didn’t make up these service rules, but they are idiots if they don’t take advantage of them. Sure, your job is to make as much money for your clients and yourself as possible. We get that. But accusing a team of not wanting to win is ridiculous. Long-term winning requires cost control of young players. You know that. You’re just frustrated. Go buy yourself a Porsche. You’ll feel better.

What Cubs fans are concerned about is Javier Baez being sent to the minors. The alarming lack of contact that plagued him in his callup last season continued this spring. At what point does this stop being a case of adjusting slowly and become a permanent flaw? We’re not there yet by a long shot. But still …

We know Bryant’s star will rise. We just have to wait a couple of weeks. It’s not as clear if all of Baez’s talents will come together, though.

We just have to wait. As usual.

You can reach me at Patrick@CubsFanTherapy.com.

Goodbye paper All-Star ballots

So MLB is eliminating paper All-Star ballots at stadiums in favor of online voting. Now what? Is someone going to tell me I have to get rid of my cassette tapes and parachute pants? C’mon.

All right, I’m not really an old curmudgeon, so I understand that this makes sense. Bloomberg reported that 80 percent of ballots cast last season were online and that 16 million paper ballots went unused. Trees everywhere are breathing a sigh of relief.

But generations of fans are feeling pangs of nostalgia. Filling out your All-Star ballot(s) was a rite of summer. And we all had our different techniques.

I took a two-prong approach. I filled out homer ballots until my hand couldn’t hold a pencil. That meant Bill Buckner, Ivan DeJesus, Manny Trillo, Dave Kingman, even Steve Ontiveros. Yes, in 1978 I voted for Ontiveros over Mike Schmidt, Pete Rose and Ron Cey. On A LOT of ballots.

I can still picture clearly scanning the ballot for Cubs and wondering how a city the size of Chicago couldn’t get all our players into the game.

After a million homer ballots, though, I’d start to feel a little guilty. I knew some, many, most of the Cubs I was voting for didn’t really deserve to play in the Midsummer classic. So I’d sigh and I’d fill out one or maybe two ballots based on who I really felt deserved to be an All-Star that year. Hey, I didn’t want to make a mockery of the process. I must admit, however, that I skipped over some very deserving Cardinals over the years.

Worried about stuffing the ballot, I’d walk around the concourse spreading out my ballots in different collection boxes. But I was convinced that my votes would make the difference in DeJesus finally getting the recognition he deserved. He never did. But I tried. I was a real Cubs fan who exercised my right to vote. And when you’re a kid, you don’t get that many chances in life to have your voice heard.

And now it’s over. No more paper ballot, no more feel of that heavy card stock. No more stuffing an actual ballot box.

But it’s not a bad thing. Truth be told, I’ve already been voting online for years. I’ve even wondered out loud why they still printed all those ballots in an age when someone can sit in their seat with an iPhone and vote to their hearts content.

Yet I still mourn, and we all know why. It’s the same reason my dad talked wistfully of his 1956 Chevy that only started half the time. He ended up with more reliable cars, but the loss of that car meant another sliver of his youth had been carved away.

Yesterday, I overheard my wife trying to describe vinyl records, cassettes and even CDs to my 5-year-old son. You could tell the talk meant more to her, and to me eavesdropping, than it did to him. Yes, it’s way easier to download music, to get in the car and have your tunes magically crank up through Bluetooth. Sure, it’s a better process to vote for All-Stars digitally.

But vinyl albums, Pac-Man, Thriller, muscle cars and even paper All-Star ballots were the things that made us us back then. I want to make clear that I did not have parachute pants.

But hey, we had to grow up, and before we knew it, we defined our lives in different ways. Jobs, kids, houses …

But some things remain the same. We still get to vote for All-Stars. We can still stuff the digital ballot box with Cubs. It’s time to get clicking.

You can reach me at Patrick@CubsFanTherapy.com.