“We’re so young, we really don’t know what we’re doing.”
The words flew out of Kyle Schwarber’s mouth just as easily as 400-foot moonshots fly off of his bat.
Moving forward, this may be the most important quote you’ll get out of the Cubs clubhouse this season. That’s saying quite a bit when the team is managed by Joe Maddon.
But before we move forward, we have to look backward to understand why this may be the case.
It’s all too familiar on the North Side of Chicago. It’s hard to describe but when you see it, you’ll know it.
Mark Prior had it after Steve Bartman became a house-hold name for all the wrong reasons.
Alex Gonzalez had it on the error that followed the entire ordeal.
A little less than a decade ago, you could see The Look everywhere as the Cubs found themselves back in the postseason. Derrek Lee. Aramis Ramirez. Alfonso Soriano.
It’s not uncommon to look around Wrigley and see The Look on the faces of over 40,000 people.
The Look spells out a single thought.
Things are about to go very, very wrong.
It’s only human, right? The Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908 and when you’re around Wrigley, you can feel that fact. It’s hard to describe. We’re a fan base that’s so used to being kicked and beaten by results that we can sense when things are going to go poorly. As for the players? It’s impossible for that feeling, or panic, not to be translated to them.
In my lifetime, the 2007-2008 era teams were the most obvious example of this. Those teams reached the postseason with high, high hopes and it was almost like you could see the terror on the face of the players. For Cubs fans, it was like watching a completely different team.
They were swept in both postseasons and ever since, the Cubs have never returned.
When Theo started building this Super-Team of young position players, there was a thought that crossed my mind from time to time. What if these guys make an early push for the postseason and being so young, have no idea of the gravity of the situation?
Now, it seems like that’s exactly what’s happening. These are kids, all of them in the low to mid 20’s. They don’t know any better and that’s exactly what the North Side needs. The guys that do know better? Jon Lester & David Ross. I think they’ll be able to handle it.
It looks like this team will be making the postseason. If they go on a run and end up doing something special, remember this quote from Kyle Schwarber. It’ll probably be due to a bunch of kids playing with nothing on their minds but winning baseball games and having fun while doing it, not yet able to fully comprehend what a title run would mean to the North Side of Chicago.
So sure, they may not know what they’re doing. But what they may be doing is retiring The Look for good.