I’m gonna draw an inelegant parallel, and you’re going to forgive me because I’ve been awake and blogging for 38 straight hours.
Among the many thoughts that kept coming to me when I considered what might go (and ultimately did go) down at the Trade Deadline, I considered what we got to experience together as fans with these players over the last five, six, seven years. We care so deeply today precisely because of what we shared. And nothing that happens now can change that. We were fortunate enough to lock that life in, and we can draw upon the memories whenever we care to, whenever we need to.
And not entirely unlike that, I want to say that whatever trades took place this week and whatever relationships part ways, that has no impact on the good you did for Make-A-Wish with your donations, and with your support as I kept on grinding (and plopped a disgusting nacho helmet on my head). We experienced a lot of sadness as the day played out, but the donations to Make-A-Wish were locked in. That’s truly meaningful, both for the mission Make-A-Wish seeks to accomplish and the families they serve. I suppose I just don’t want to lose sight of that when I think back on what the 2021 Trade Deadline was, and I want to make sure to thank you so much for that support.
The only thing standing between our shock and us knowing in advance what was coming on July 30 was denial. I can see that now, even through my bleary eyes, and with my sleep-deprived mind. If the Cubs were going to sell at this deadline, of course they were going to sell big. That was the opportunity, and they don’t come along very often.
“There was no reason to go halfway,” Cubs President Jed Hoyer explained today after the Trade Deadline, per Patrick Mooney. “The fact that we could not escape is that we were a fourth-place team. We lost 11 in a row and the Brewers took off on us. With that happening, I think you don’t let a crisis go to waste. We did everything we could today and over the last week to try to reset.”
Never waste a crisis. Obviously there exist much darker and more cynical deployments of that adage, but in this case, for an organization that had been just shy of crisis for so long, I should’ve known that the efforts to exploit it would run deep. We already knew that the extensions for Kris Bryant, Javy Báez, and Anthony Rizzo weren’t happening. So why wouldn’t the Cubs trade them now to help reset the organization in the short-term, leaving their circumstances vis a vis these players come November virtually unchanged? I think my fandom clouded my expectations. I wanted to will certain extensions to happen. I don’t really blame myself for it – fans gonna fan – but I see the naiveté, and in time, I’ll probably also see that this approach left the organization in a better spot than holding onto that trio and then watching them walk away after the season. Or, worse, not letting any of them walk away, and seeing the 2022 Cubs offense continue to suffer from the same inexplicable stagnation.
I suppose I should be careful about getting too deep into the analysis and pronouncements. I’m telling you, the Blogathon is a useful tool to raise funds for a great cause, but it definitely leaves my brain just shy of full form by the end of day two. I might not even be making any sense. Oh, plus, I’m still pretty emotionally raw about the last two days, and I find myself too quickly vacillating between extremes. HOW COULD THE CUBS DO THIS TO ME, PERSONALLY!!! BUT ALSO IT WAS TIME TO CHANGE COURSE AND BEGIN ANEW!!! AND WHY DID I PUT MY DRINK ON TOP OF THE LAMP?!?
So, in sum, let me just say: I have loved the memories I got to make over the last many years. With the Cubs as a team. Watching certain players. With my friends. With you all here at the site. We’re all a part of this era of the Cubs in one way or another, and we get to carry that with us tomorrow.
And I love that you all give me the opportunity to turn that fandom – even at a particularly challenging time – into some real good with the BN Blogathon for Make-A-Wish Illinois. Your donations have taken us up over $23,000 at last check, and I’m awed by that support. I know that the folks at Make-A-Wish are, too. And certainly the kids and families who really need to experience something special, it’s your support that makes that happen. We can all carry that with us into tomorrow, too.