Depending on how you do the math exactly (i.e where and when you choose to round-up), the Chicago Cubs are pacing themselves for 100 or 101 losses here in 2012. The 100-loss mark is the last measuring stick of a truly lost season --as if losing, say, 98 games instead might actually change a team's ultimate fate in a given season. There is something psychologically deflating about seeing those triple digits in the loss column. I can certainly understand why, but for the 2012 incarnation of the Chicago Cubs, it's not about the record. Well, of course it's about the record, but that's not what the Cubs are concerned about at this point.
Despite the lackluster record, the Cubs showed some substantial life in July -- going 15-10-- before spiraling here in August -- going 4-17. While 15-10 might not seem much to get too excited over, the Cubs were about 20 games under .500 at the time. Whenever you see consistent improvement on a team that has generally scuffled throughout the season, you take notice. The thing about the dismal record in August is that is correlates directly with the Cubs unloading a bunch of talent at the trade deadline. Consequently, the Cubs youth movement has gone into hyper-speed. The Cubs are in full-blown "See-What-We-Have" mode. That youth was on full display in the Cubs' series against the Milwaukee Brewers --where they found themselves swept right out of Miller Park. I doubt it will be the last time.
History will give value to the season based on records, but as Cubs fans who know this team needs some major work over the next few years to be transformed into the contender we want, we won't be judging this season based on the record --whether the Cubs hit the dreaded 100-loss mark or not. We'll be basing it on the youth the team acquires, shows off, and how much is learned about the talent in-house. In that regard, I like the youth assault that is going on in Chicago right now. No doubt it will be ripe with growing pains, more frustration, and certainly plenty of losses, but the compass seems to be pointed in the right direction --finally.
Brian is a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan, having lived in Illinois his entire life and having followed Major League Baseball throughout.
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