Chicago Cubs: Ian Happ’s resurgence shows impatience of many fans

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Take a look at social media and you’ll see rampant hate for Ian Happ. Why? Chicago Cubs fans have become insufferable in their lack of patience.

Since winning a World Series championship, Chicago Cubs fans have taken on a whole new level of complaining and general malcontent. To be honest, I can’t stand a good 40 percent of so-called my fellow fans.

And that’s probably being conservative.

Why? Why, you ask? Because of numbskulls like with hot takes such as this.

I really, really love Twitter. Did I mention that?

Chicago Cubs continue to win in the draft

Last season, Ian Happ burst onto the scene as the next generation’s Ben Zobrist. Able to play multiple positions, his versatility and skill with the bat had fans praising Theo and Jed for their outstanding track record with their first-round picks.

Happ appeared in 115 games for Chicago, slashing .253/.328/.514 with 24 home runs and 68 RBI. He struck out in 31.2 percent of his plate appearances, drawing walks 9.4 percent of the time. In short, he was an above-average talent who forced his way onto the roster of a World Series contender.

Sound familiar? It should because that arc largely follows that of teammate Kyle Schwarber.

Including his woeful struggles out of the gate in his first full Major League season. After a dominant Cactus League showing, Happ couldn’t hit water falling out of a boat for much of April. He struck out 33 times, drawing just five walks and, at times, looks downright lost at the plate.

Still, we know how Joe Maddon is with his guys. He has their backs come hell or high water. He kept (and continues to) get Happ at-bats. And, you know what? It’s paying off.

Turning it around in May

In the month of May, the former first-rounder carries a .265/.438/.694 line with five home runs and 10 RBI. The biggest difference, though? After his 33-to-5 strikeout-to-walk mark from April, Happ has 22 strikeouts to 14 walks in May. That’s a ratio I can live with any day of the week.

As can Happ.

"“Look at the back of Tony [Rizzo’s] baseball card – it’s the same thing every single year,” he told Yahoo! Sports earlier this week. “That’s how this thing goes. You’re gonna have your ups and your downs and I’m just trying to be as consistent as I can. If I can level it out a little bit and be more consistent over a period of time, that’ll be better for our team.”"

And if the end goal is leveling things off, Happ is well on his way to a successful first full campaign in the bigs. After posting .842 OPS and 113 OPS+ in his rookie season, those numbers – yes, both of those numbers – are even better in 2018: .888 OPS and 137 OPS+.

Time to put your big boy pants on

Frustrations are part of being a sports fan. That’s hardly unique to Chicago Cubs fans. But since receiving the ultimate validation of their live-or-die approach two years ago, every single game – no, every single pitch seems to carry the weight of an entire season with it.

It has to stop.

Two bad weeks and it’s time to demote Javier Baez or after a slow start, Anthony Rizzo needs to come off the bench. Ian Happ struggled in the leadoff spot, so he needs to go directly to Iowa. Joe Maddon should be fired. Trade whatever Baltimore asks for to land Manny Machado.

Next: Chatwood's love affair with walks could hurt the team big-time

Or, and hang in there, because this is a pretty ‘out there’ idea. Fans who love to blast players when they’re not playing at an All-Star status learn to take a chill pill and relax. Now, I know you’re going to tell me I can’t tell you how to be a fan – and that’s fine.

But your antics are giving Cubs fans everywhere a reputation far worse than the self-dubbed Best Fans in Baseball. Hope you can rest peacefully tonight knowing that. No, actually, I don’t.