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Thursday evening catcher, take 1!

By Chris Birge

OK, analysis after-the-fact is probably not great journalism. However, it is the nature of what follows. You have been warned. It is a struggle to find an explanation of why the Cubs decided to go as a team to the Blackhawks game Friday evening. Not only was Saturday not an off day, it was the day the Cubs played their earliest game of the year, to that point. The team is not, in all likelihood, under a heavy mental burden yet. Within the context of the four major sports as they have traditionally been considered, there may not be two more opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of where athletes need to be emotionally than regular-season baseball compared to playoff hockey. Everything must be given to win a hockey playoff series. An athlete should give it all his mental resources, and just hope enough comes back to him to allow him to recover in time for the next game. Being in that setting is, understandably, going to make a team want to act that way. However, the structure of baseball does not make that mindset, a great one for the Cubs to have, which is why it seems reasonable to question the decision.

The Cubs, over the last week, have really just been trying too hard. They look like a club that has really been forcing things, in a sense; they just need to calm down. Now, they have made a unique move in moving Zambrano into the bullpen. It seems highly unlikely that this will last for very long. There is probably already a deadline on it, otherwise, Zambrano likely would have shown more resistance to the move. Hopefully, this is enough to wake up a team. This team is obviously not as bad as they have often been playing. Furthermore, yes, it's probably true that every team will have one bad week within a season. The problem is that this one came very early in the season. It also has occurred before any major injuries have taken place. There is no standard for the number of injuries that can be overcome within a season, but whatever that theoretical number would be, the value of it for the Cubs just got decreased by about 20% for this season. They probably need to win something like 18 out of 21 games at some point during the season, and that is just never an easy thing to ask a team to do.

It is generally known that much of the Blackhawks’ current front office is made up of people who were previously in the Cubs’ front office. The origin of this idea is comprehensible when taking this into consideration. However, according to reports by CSN Chicago, it was originally Ryan Dempster’s idea. Logic would dictate that someone in authority for the Cubs must have thought this was a good idea. The amount of real harm in this can be debated, but it is difficult to discern what the positive is that could have come from this outing.

Given that this piece is almost completely opinion, your comments and rebuttals are welcomed below.

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