Someday Never Comes: The Cubs Will Have to Work to Prove Creedence Wrong

First thing I remember was asking papa, why,
For there were many things I didn’t know.
And daddy always smiled and took me by the hand,
Saying, someday you’ll understand.
Well, I’m here to tell you now, each and every mother’s son,
That you better learn it fast, you better learn it young,
‘Cause someday never comes.

I’m reasonably sure John Fogerty wasn’t singing about the plight of the Cubs fan, but I can’t help but feeling that his words describe our eternal struggle nonetheless. Wait ’til next year is the oft-repeated phrase, whether uttered as a calming mantra or mocking derision.

I can only imagine how my recent string of posts must look to the casual reader, what with all the doom and gloom. In the space of a week, I suggested (perhaps with a bit of fallacy) that Kris Bryant might want to change his approach, lamented Starlin Castro’s hollow results since going pull-heavy, and called this Cubs team a floating turd.

I pointed out just how bad the Cubs have been in two-strike counts and used poop emojis to recap one of their losses in St. Louis. And as if being labelled a fecalpheliac isn’t bad enough, I actually agreed with Gordon Wittenmyer.

But I gots to talk, I gotta tell what I feel. I gotta talk about the Cubs as I see them. And I take the world as it is, not the way I’d like it to be. That’s not to say I don’t attempt at times to present the fingers-crossed Pollyanna view to temper my Negative Nancy takes, just that I don’t always need to when the team is doing plenty of that on its own.

Take the postmortem from Sunday’s disappointing loss, as conducted by CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney. If anyone does an excellent job of presenting this team without veering too far into either screed or shill, it’s Mooney. Actually, Bruce Miles does a great job too.

In contrast, put a couple beers in me and I’m liable to stuff hyperbolic statements about the team with penis jokes and lob them into the interwebs like virtual grenades of awkwardness. In other words, it’s like my high school social agenda translated into 140 characters or less. I’ll probably make fun of someone’s grammar too.

But back Cubs and their takes on the team’s direction after having fallen back to the break-even mark with a loss in Milwaukee. From Mooney’s piece on Sunday:

“We’re a lot better than a .500 team, absolutely,” Kyle Hendricks said. “We know that. We’ve been losing some ballgames we shouldn’t have been losing and we’re all part of it. I am. The whole team’s part of it.

“That’s how baseball goes. You get in a tough patch, you got to get out of it. We know we can beat these teams. And we know we’re going to once we get rolling.”

“I’m still 100 percent confident that we’re going to bounce back,” catcher Miguel Montero said.

“I have no complaints about our group,” Maddon said. “We’re going to keep getting better in certain areas. A lot of them, they’re frustrated, they don’t want to swing at the slider outside of the strike zone, either. They’ll stop doing that. Once we stop doing that, man, heads up.”

Someday you’ll understand.

After the previous day’s 12-4 loss to the Brewer’s, the one in which David Ross had to come in to pitch, the tune was very much the same.

“Obviously, you’ll talk about things,” Maddon said. “You’ll talk about things internally and try and figure out if there’s a better way to do things, absolutely.”

“You put your guys out there until it happens. You keep working with them. You keep showing a positive message to them. The work’s good. The work’s great, actually. For some of the guys, it’s just not playing all the way through yet. But it will.”

Someday you’ll understand.

It’s understandable that the skipper would need to convey a keep-your-head-up message after a couple rough losses, but I’m starting to feel like this is becoming a bit of a trope.

“You look at what we’ve done this year. We’re still over .500. We’d be at least in pretty good shape right now if we had done a better job handling the middle part of the ballgame.”

From a couple weeks ago, after — stop me if you’ve heard this one — the combination of Hendricks, Edwin Jackson, Phil Coke, and Brian Schlitter couldn’t hold a lead:

“We’re trying to define it right now,” Maddon said. “It really comes down to a pitch now and then. We’re just not making the pitch when we have to right now, but we will.

Someday you’ll understand.

After an April 10th loss in Denver, the song remained pretty much the same:

“I just think it’s an industry-wide issue,” manager Joe Maddon said afterward. “I don’t think it’s just the Cubs. A lot of teams struggle with the same situation. You hear a lot of organizations, managers, press talk about not hitting with runners in scoring position.

“So it’s not just us. We have to do better. No question. (And) I believe we will.”

Someday you’ll understand.

Regarding Edwin Jackson’s inability to operate his car’s GPS:

“I believe that will never happen again — I really do — because he’s a great kid,” Maddon said.

Someday you’ll understand.

When it comes to Javier Baez and molding young players:

“I might be the only guy sitting around here to tell you I’m really not concerned about that right now.”

“It would be nice to get like 25 finished products,” Maddon said. “It doesn’t happen. It’s not going to happen. I am not opposed to taking somebody that’s a little bit unpolished and help them get to that final level.”

Well, I’m here to tell you now, each and every mother’s son,
That you better learn it fast, you better learn it young,
‘Cause someday never comes.

Maddon and Co. can continue to sing the same song over and over with slightly different words (hey, it’s worked pretty well for AC/DC and Nickelback), but pretty soon people stop listening to the lyrics. Or worse, they start comparing you to Nickelback.

Of course, when you’re winning you can play to sold-out stadiums on a daily basis. But start losing and the fans don’t want you no more, you’re cold product. They’ll move on to the next schmo who flows, Joe nosedove and sold nada. And so the soap opera is told, it unfolds, I suppose it’s old partna’, but the beat goes on, da-da-dum-da-dum-dada.

I guess I’m just as guilty as the rest of flip-flopping in my observations of this team, from #wearegood to #wearemediocre to #ohmydearlordweareawfulwhythehellareyougoingtoJacksonagain and back to #wearegood (sometimes in the same game). But just as a baseball season will have ups and downs, so will my portrayal of it.

Regardless of how the Cubs have looked lately, there’s time enough to make things look just as good in the coming week. And since the horse still appears to be standing, I’m going to spur it onward: I am really excited to see Noah Syndergaard face the Cubs on Tuesday. I just hope the game lives up to the hype I’m building up in my own mind.

So despite my recent overtures to the contrary, I don’t necessarily see a bad moon risin’ for the Cubs. Then again, I’m not ready to say I see some good times just around the bend either. See this comment from last Tuesday’s loss to the Cardinals:


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