Friday, March 19, 2010

Oh Cubbies...

I know I should be talking about all the awesome NCAA basketball action that went on yesterday (and how my bracket is not doing terribly well, but I digress.)

Apparently the Cubs are working out a sponsorship deal with Toyota to hang a 16' x 22' sign above the left field bleachers of Wrigley Field. Here we go again with these guys.

Does the actual sign bother me? No. Does making more revenue for the team make sense? Of course. Do I really think this is a good idea? Not in the least.

Toyota, in case you've been living with the monks from the temple in Ace Venture 2: When Nature Calls recently, has been in trouble these days with many of their cars' accelerators getting stuck and causing horrible accidents. They've been making advertisements to say how sorry they are and that they appreciate people who've stuck by them during this difficult time. Sounds like a Tiger Woods-ish apology if you ask me.

Anyway, the Cubs are going to have a tough time this year. Their team has a chance to be very good, but with the Cards' combination of Pujols and Holliday, not to mention their other combo of Carpenter and Wainwright, it stands to reason that winning the division is going to be tough.

The Cubs have overpaid veterans, inexperienced youth, and depending on some of the free agent signings, maybe some holes around the field. Could the current roster provide a division championship? Yes- but only if many of the question mark players that I could see going either way trend upwards. Aramis Ramirez needs to be healthy and hit. Ryan Theriot needs to be a productive lead off hitter. Alfonso Soriano needs to not strike out every time someone is one base (he must have the most solo home runs of anyone ever.) Randy Wells needs to not have a sophomore slump (I keep hoping he pitches like last year, but I can't convince myself that this will be the case.) Carlos Marmol needs to be effectively wild rather than just completely wild. You see where this is going.

For a team that won 97 game two years ago, only to be swept out of the playoffs by the 84 win Dodgers, the Cubs have found themselves back in the middle of the pack with no clear path to a World Series. Why frustrate fans and ignite Cubs' haters by aligning a sponsorship deal with Toyota. Any other car company would be fine. Ford, Dodge, Honda, or even Kia.

I understand baseball is a business, but it gets to a point where you have to realize that the only reason the Cubs make money is because loyal, punishment accepting fans like myself. Either win in the playoffs, and then feel free to do whatever you want sponsorship-wise, or stop doing stuff to frustrate fans by reminding them that their team is nicknamed "The Lovable Losers."


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