Chicago Cubs need to take a page from the rival St. Louis Cardinals
By Jake Misener
Five or so weeks ago, the front office ripped the beating heart right out of the chests of Chicago Cubs fans, trading not just one or two – but all three of the team’s beloved stars in Javier Baez, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo at the trade deadline.
Since, team president Jed Hoyer has repeatedly emphasized that, while the decision to send the trio packing, he believes it was the right move for the organization as it looks to re-tool and move on from one of, if not the single most successful eras in franchise history.
"“We could either hold these players for two months and have them compete for a fourth-place team or do everything we could do in our power to reset our farm system and reset our organization,” Hoyer said after the flurry of moves. “We accelerated that over the last 10 days or so.”"
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As news broke in August that the Cubs would be one of the participants in next year’s Field of Dreams game in Dyersville, Iowa, all the marketing showed the likes of Jason Heyward walking out of the corn – which, as fantastic of a human being and leader as he is, is hardly an inspiring message to send to fans.
“Hey, everyone. We’re set to play on a national stage next summer and the most household name left on our roster is a veteran outfielder who can’t hit his weight but will be paid $44 million over the next two seasons regardless.”
Meanwhile, Bryant is doing everything he can to help his new club, the San Francisco Giants, fend off the surging Dodgers in the NL West, Rizzo and the Yankees have been on a torrid pace since the deadline and Baez is, well, he’s quickly learning the grass certainly isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence in Queens.
This is all going down as the Cubs give us some one-off fun moments and encouraging individual performances in a season that’s officially a lost cause. While the standings are a moot point for us at this point, down in St. Louis, the Cardinals are once again rewarding loyalty and staying in the thick of things – right down to the final weeks of the season.
Chicago Cubs need to take a page from the Cardinals’ book
St. Louis entered action Saturday a mere 1 1/2 games out of a Wild Card spot in the National League a day after Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina logged their 300th start together – a 15-4 drubbing of the first-place Brewers in Milwaukee. Only three other batteries in baseball history have accomplished the feat.
Last week, we learned St. Louis and Molina had agreed to a one-year extension for the 2022 season, which will be the swan song for the Puerto Rican native and his 19th season in the bigs, all of which he’s spent with the Cardinals. And, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, ownership already has a standing offer out to Wainwright who, at 40, just earned NL Pitcher of the Month honors in August.
Growing up, prior to the Theo Epstein-led overhaul of the organization, the Cubs were badly mismanaged and the Cardinals were the model franchise with a seemingly endless pipeline of young up-and-coming talent that was plugged into the lineup without fail, year after year.
Now, the Cardinals are setting a very different example the Cubs should take note of: rewarding guys who have left an indelible mark on the team. Wainwright has experienced a resurgence late in his career. There were certainly points where he looked like he was done – his days as a force on the mound behind him. But St. Louis stuck by his side – and he’s showed he’s still got plenty left in the tank even at age 40.
You don’t run professional sports teams using emotion. It’s a good way to wind up burned. But especially in regards to Anthony Rizzo, who, arguably was the most meaningful player to wear a Cubs uniform since Ernie Banks, it’s a reminder that there are cases where you do right by the players and your fans – just like the Cardinals have (and are planning to do) with their iconic battery.