The Chicago Cubs have started the 2012 season with a 15-26 record. Following a three-game sweep by the Chicago White Sox, it is difficult for fans to see any light at the end of the tunnel. In fact, at this point, it is taking a great deal of faith to believe such a light even exists. Realistically, however, fans should not have expected much from this year's Cubs team. Despite a front office makeover which brought in Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, on-field results will likely not be pleasant for fans this season.
We hate to see our teams lose. As a Cubs fan, I am used to it and have seen some fairly terrible clubs take the field, but it still hurts every time a loss is posted. This year has been especially tough so far because the 2012 squad has some exciting players who are having good starts. Bryan LaHair has surprised everyone with 10 home runs so far; furthermore, he and Starlin Castro are each hitting over .300 with more than 20 RBIs. Castro and Tony Campana have reached double-digits in steals already, highlighting a new, aggressive base-running approach.
On the other hand, several Cubs are clearly struggling. Carlos Marmol's collapse has damaged an already fragile bullpen. Fan favorite Kerry Wood has elected to retire. Worst of all, though, might be the catcher situation, where veteran starter Geovany Soto and surprising rookie Steve Clevenger have both been placed on the disabled list. Factor in a general lack of offensive power aside from LaHair, and it is easy to see how the Cubs have ended up 11 games under .500.
Still, there is reason to believe that this team can improve. There may not be postseason baseball at Wrigley Field this year, but things can get better throughout the rest of the season. Prospects like Anthony Rizzo and Brett Jackson are not far away, and they will continue to boost the energy of the major league roster when added. Team management is addressing issues; of course, the problem is that there are too many issues to address.
This rebuilding process will be long and will take patience from a group of fans who have shown years of it. The tunnel might be long, but the light is there. For now, we can only hope the current Chicago Cubs can pull things together.
Mike Patton is a sports fan who grew up in New Orleans cheering for the New Orleans Saints, Chicago Cubs, and LSU Tigers. As a kid in 1987, he made his first trip to Wrigley Field and also slept outside of the Louisiana Superdome to purchase playoff tickets for the Saints' first postseason appearance. Follow Mike on twitter @MikePattonGBS.
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