Chicago Cubs: World Series drought

Ricketts: Cubs will win WS in new Wrigley

April, 15, 2013
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Chicago Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said Monday that the framework for a deal to renovate Wrigley Field, which was agreed to by the City of Chicago, will bring a World Series to a fan base that hasn't seen a championship since 1908.

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In Giants, Cubs see latest blueprint

October, 29, 2012
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If a "foundation for sustained success" is what Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein wants to build, he knows where to look for the latest and trendiest model.

The San Francisco Giants just won their second World Series title in three seasons and the most recent one, wrapped up Sunday night with a four-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers, showed that titles aren't necessarily won by the organization that stockpiles the most superstars.

[+] EnlargeAnthony Rizzo
David Banks/Getty ImagesAnthony Rizzo gives the Cubs one key building block in trying to replicate the Giants' blueprint, but Chicago's pitching has a long way to go.
Where the Cubs stand the best chance of emulating the Giants is by packaging fundamentally sound players around a talented nucleus.

Buster Posey is the only superstar of the Giants' starting lineup, although Pablo Sandoval played like one in the World Series. The Giants stretched Gregor Blanco, Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence across the outfield ... hardly an intimidating trio.

They won with Brandon Crawford playing shortstop, Brandon Belt at first base and Marco Scutaro playing out of his mind in the postseason at second base.

If the Cubs can solve their problem at third base, they already have a young core ready to develop out of the infield in shortstop Starlin Castro and first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Add defensive wiz Darwin Barney into the mix from second base and the Cubs have a solid base moving forward.

Where the Cubs' young group is lacking when compared to the champion Giants is in a selfless, disciplined approach at the plate. Rizzo showed he is the most adept at the strategy, driving balls when he can and taking pitches to the opposite field when the opportunity arises.

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50 Greatest Cubs Of All Time

May, 21, 2012
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50 Greatest CubsESPN.com IllustrationIt's amazing how many Hall of Famers played for a team that has so few championships.
A panel of ESPNChicago.com experts ranked the Top 50 Cubs of all time.

Here is a gallery of our Top 50.

Who did we miss?

Did Kerry Wood belong? Randy Hundley?

Should Shawon Dunston have been left off?

For a team with so few championships, there is no shortage of Hall of Famers who have donned the Cubs jersey.

New 'Cub Way' beginning in Arizona

February, 18, 2012
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MESA, Ariz. -- In case you're wondering if Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein already has his "Reverse the Curse" game face on, well, he does.

On Saturday -- one day before Cubs pitchers and catchers begin their first official workout, five days before position players report, 15 days before the first spring training game and 47 days before the season opener at Wrigley Field -- Epstein announced, again, that the goal of 2012 Cubs "is to win the World Series."

Yes, and my goal is to need hair gel this year, but that's probably not going to happen either.

Still, Epstein had to say it. What else could he say: "Our goal is to finish ahead of the Pittsburgh Pirates"?

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Hope always strong at Cubs Convention

January, 13, 2012
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CHICAGO -- The Big Surprise was ruined when someone spotted Kerry Wood's wife up in the balcony before he was officially announced as "the newest member of the Cubs."

It was a fun moment, schmaltzy but enjoyable, when Wood, This Old Cub, appeared before the teeming masses in the Hilton ballroom to kick off the Cubs Convention.

Wood's "last-minute" signing was a seemingly well-scripted kicker to the good-vibes opening ceremony, where radio broadcaster Pat Hughes can introduce James Russell as a "blossoming star" and get away with it.

The Cubs Convention, mocked by some (me) and beloved by others (people who cheer way too hard for Todd Walker) is an annual display of renewed hope mixed with casual insanity and capped off with really boring panel discussions.

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Despite history, fans keep betting on Cubs

October, 31, 2011
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Place your bets!

The Chicago Cubs opened at 25-1 odds to win the 2012 World Series at the MGM Resorts sportsbooks in Las Vegas. That's lower than several other gambling outposts.

Did the Theo Epstein hire affect the line?

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Extreme Makeover

October, 24, 2011
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CHICAGO -- On his way out of town, Theo Epstein published a very classy thank-you letter to the rabid Boston Red Sox fans in the Boston Globe. He addressed it to "Red Sox Nation."

So that's how I'll begin yet another column/blog post/diary entry advising Epstein on how to handle his new life as President of Being an Awesome Baseball Genius for the Chicago Cubs. There is no Cubs Nation, no Cubbie Exceptionalism.

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One of the most recognizable -- and infamous -- players in the history of the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox will work as a color analyst when the teams meet on May 20.

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CHICAGO -- If Chicago has been willing to believe that a cow caused the Great Chicago Fire, maybe it will buy this one: The White Sox got the idea to throw the 1919 World Series after the Cubs did the same thing one year earlier.

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Ex-Cub Phil Cavarretta dies at 94

December, 18, 2010
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CHICAGO -- Phil Cavarretta, the 1945 National League MVP who led the Chicago Cubs to their last World Series appearance, has died. He was 94.

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Brenly: Pressure on next Cubs skipper

September, 28, 2010
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Chicago Cubs broadcaster Bob Brenly may have provided some insight into why he withdrew from the team's managerial search when he talked about the time it might take for the team to break its World Series drought, and the pressure the next manager will face if he's not Ryne Sandberg.

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Selig concerned after Colvin incident

September, 24, 2010
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[+] EnlargeBud Selig
AP Photo/Mary AltafferBud Selig was impressed with new Cubs owner Tom Ricketts on Friday.
CHICAGO -- Commissioner Bud Selig was at Wrigley Field on Friday to visit with Chicago Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts. They talked about a number of subjects, including the maple bat issue, which recently made headlines due to the injury by Cubs outfielder Tyler Colvin on Sunday in Miami.

"I have a great level of concern," Selig said. "I did talk to Tyler Colvin a day or so later. Two years ago when this [broken-bat issue] really came about, we retained people in the forestry department in the University of Wisconsin and Harvard. They have helped us. We've cut down on broken bats by about 50 percent. That's a lot of progress in a short time. Is it enough? No.

"We've got the remaining 50 percent to do. When you watch something like the Tyler Colvin incident, it scares you. All of our experts think they might have some solutions."

Selig said the players association is involved in what he called a tri-party arrangement. Selig was asked with his best-interest-of-baseball clause, if there's anything he can do to ban maple bats.

"That's pretty tough to do," Selig said. "Players want to use maple bats. I want to see this winter how it all works out."

Selig was asked a number of local questions, including what he thought of the Ozzie Guillen situation on the South Side and whether Guillen will be back with the Sox.

"That's up to the White Sox," he said. "I have enough things to worry about. I'll let the clubs worry about that. We're going to have a lot of managerial changes this year.

"In fact, by my count, it could be as many as 12. This is going to be a very interesting offseason."

Selig also talked about the Cubs' quest to end their World Series drought.

"There's no question the Cubs are one of those institutional teams," he said. "Here at Wrigley Field is a great place. There's no question about it."

The commissioner will ask if the Cubs will get an All-Star Game soon. The Cubs petitioned for the 2014 Game, which will coincide with Wrigley Field's 100th birthday. He didn't answer the question directly.

The commissioner was impressed with the way his host Tom Ricketts went through the stands greeting people. It reminded Selig of the way he talked to people at old County Stadium in Milwaukee when he owned the Brewers.

"He walked out into the main concourse, and he talked to everybody," he said. "He shook hands with people. In Milwaukee, I used to do the same thing.

"He said sometimes he'll go to a concession stand to buy something. So did I. I think that's great. I think the Ricketts ownership is off to a very good start."

Baker remembers days managing Cubs

July, 1, 2010
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In the world of former Cubs manager Dusty Baker, the past is best left in the past. However, that rule doesn’t exist when questions about the Cubs’ streak of 101 years and counting without a championship are directed your way.

“It’s tough,” Baker said. “It’s tough. And one reason it’s tough is that nobody let’s go of the past [in Chicago]. That’s why it’s tough. Everybody still is counting.

“I was here four [2003-06] out of the 100 years. You talk to most people, they talk like I was here the whole 100 years. I’m only 61 years old. Everywhere is tough if you’re not winning, I don’t care where you’re at.”

Baker was asked about the negativity that follows the Cubs.

“I couldn’t solve some of the problems when I was here,” Baker said, “and I certainly don’t have the power, wisdom or authority to do it now.”

Baker’s teams in Chicago had two traumatic incidents. In 2003, leading the Florida Marlins 3-1 in the NLCS, Baker’s teams yielded leads in Game 6 and Game 7 at home with ace pitchers Kerry Wood and Mark Prior on the mound. In 2004, Baker’s club had a 1 game lead with 9 left in the season, but the Cubs choked away a playoff chance, losing seven of their last nine games.

Baker returned to Chicago on Thursday as the toast of the NL as his team battles the St. Louis Cardinals for a division crown while the Cubs continue to flounder.

“I try not to look back,” he said. “I try to deflect forward, because you can’t worry about what’s behind you. One of my favorite books that I’m reading is “The Power of Now.” The book deals with now, instead of bringing everything back from the past. You don’t really dwell on good stuff from the past, most of the time.”

Baker was asked to reflect on his time as the Cubs manager. He was asked pointedly if they were mostly good memories.

“They were happy in the beginning,” Baker said, “kind of like a very good marriage gone bad. Sometimes it happens.”

Baker is part of a group of Hall of Fame-caliber managers on the last year of their contract.

“Why be bothered by something you have no control over,” Baker said. “You can’t hire yourself. This is the fourth or fifth time I’ve been in this situation [including free agency as a player]. You just concentrate on winning and doing the best job you can. Everything else will fall into place.”

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Jason Hammel
WINS ERA SO IP
2 3.05 16 20
OTHER LEADERS
BAE. Bonifacio .339
HRA. Rizzo 2
RBIA. Rizzo 8
RA. Rizzo 9
OPSA. Rizzo .922
ERAJ. Samardzija 1.29
SOT. Wood 19