Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Positive Negativity

Readers may have followed the good-natured back and forth between Al Yellon over at Bleed Cubbie Blue and this site. Al has been a frequent critic of my criticism. Case in point:

"If you don't keep the faith, then why are you here?" - Al Yellon, Aug 04, 2005

The running theme is that criticism does no good. A fan is supposed to be supportive at all times. How can you bash and bash and bash? What good can come from that?

Here is what's funny. I agree, to a point. What Al misses, as he does from time to time, is that bashing IS keeping the faith. Let me try to explain.

When people simply rant, there is no purpose or intent to the rant beyond a release of emotion. The only positive to that is to one's self. However, if one has pointed criticism, there is a positive intention and there can be a positive result. In what situation does this occur? When a organization takes its fans for granted. This is the Cubs, ALL OVER!

For years the Cubs, and the Tribune, were satisfied to take our money and put a sub-par product on the field. Jim Dowdle, ex top dog at the Trib, once slipped and said that Cubs' fans were happy if you "gave them a sniff" of contention every few years. We fans let them get away with that. I was guilty, too as I had season tickets from 1990 to 1995. Why did we finally dump the seats? The team didn't get better and they kept raising prices.

In short, I told the Trib, you don't get any more of my money until you improve the product. I've paid for exactly three games since that date out of my own pocket. I voiced my displeasure with my lack of dollars. And that is a very proper response.

The problem with that is that my dollars were easily replaced. The Trib missed my dollars for about seventeen seconds. Well, if I'm not voting with my dollars, there needs to be a way to get the team's attention. There is a way.

Public embarrassment.

Now, you may say, what can a little blog do that is read more by people looking for pictures of Lake Bell and Spring Break - Shark Attack than by Cubs' fans, and by probably even fewer Cubs players/staffers/Tribune execs? The answer clearly is, "Not much."

But the alternative is silence. Or, even worse, acceptance. I can think of nothing more distasteful than telling fellow fans to be patient and to keep believing in a team that doesn't deserve such short term loyalty.

The message THAT says is, "I'm OK with what you are giving me. In fact, I'm willing to wait and pay while I wait."

If enough of us do that, there's no incentive for the team to get better. Ever.

Two years ago, the Cubs gave us a sniff. The Trib, trusting Jim Hendry and Dusty Baker, gave them money like they've never given money before. Hell. They ate $15 million to make Sammy Sosa go away! Fantastic. More, more, more! What's the result?


We need to keep on these guys and let them know we aren't satisfied anymore with just the effort. The Red Sox did it for their fans. The White Sox are sure going to try for their fans.

Don't let up on these guys. Tell them you aren't satisfied. Bash them in letters to the Trib. Calls to WGN and WSCR and WMVP. Start a blog. Hell, go even farther. Refuse to buy single game tickets. Cancel your season tickets.

But don't accept this crap and then be upset when obvious flaws result in the inevtiable failure. We Cubs fans deserve better.

And I don't want to hear any crap that you can't bash and love at the same time. If your intention is to point out flaws and improve the team, OF COURSE you can bash.

When you have a problem child and you give him "tough love", you don't stop loving it. You give them tough love BECAUSE you love him. You want him to get better. To improve.

That's what we fans need to give the Cubs until they get better. That's our job.

I'll end this diatribe with this: The opposite of love is not hate. Hate still requires passion about something (a note for Sox fans who pay attention to the Cubs -- you actually are passionate about the Cubs). The opposite of love is indifference.

I don't think anyone reading this is indifferent to the goals of the Chicago Cubs.

Unless you only are here for Shannon Lucio.

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