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  #1  
Old 06-13-2012, 05:01 PM
ScatteredFrog ScatteredFrog is offline
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What's the REAL reason the Cubs haven't won the World Series in so long?

Curse? I don't believe it. Even if I WERE to believe it, the original curser allegedly lifted the curse long ago. Plus, the Cubs sucked long before the Billy Goat curse ever happened. And you can't blame Wrigley Field either.

But seriously, what has kept the Cubs from not making it since 1908?? "They suck" is NOT an acceptable response, btw, because that doesn't provide any real explanation; why is it that they make lineup changes, ownership changes, management changes, coaching changes, etc., and they still can't seem to get by. And players who leave the Cubs find great success on other teams...

Really, what does it boil down to??
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  #2  
Old 06-13-2012, 05:28 PM
AncientHumanoid AncientHumanoid is offline
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Ecclesiastes 9:11 poetically gives one possible reason. Like Kurtis Blow said, "These are the breaks."
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  #3  
Old 06-13-2012, 05:46 PM
Telemark Telemark is offline
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Poor drafts, bad trades/signings, and dumb luck.
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  #4  
Old 06-13-2012, 06:09 PM
doorhinge doorhinge is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScatteredFrog View Post
Curse? I don't believe it. Even if I WERE to believe it, the original curser allegedly lifted the curse long ago. Plus, the Cubs sucked long before the Billy Goat curse ever happened. And you can't blame Wrigley Field either.

But seriously, what has kept the Cubs from not making it since 1908?? "They suck" is NOT an acceptable response, btw, because that doesn't provide any real explanation; why is it that they make lineup changes, ownership changes, management changes, coaching changes, etc., and they still can't seem to get by. And players who leave the Cubs find great success on other teams...

Really, what does it boil down to??
They don't like playing for the Cubs.

Seriously. When you consider all of the kids who play little league, traveling leagues, high school, college ball, AA, AAA ball use realize that every player who makes it to the majors is a damn fine ballplayer. Maybe not Hall of Fame material but they all have excptional talent and skill. Some can't take the social pressure or hit 95 mph fastballs but it's a 95 mph fastball.

Cubs players have gone on to other teams and have helped them win so it's not the "individual" players. It's the fact that they don't play well as a team. You can blame the coach or the GM or the owners but if the players don't gel as a team in a team sport, they don't have a chance.

And the Cubs don't have a chance.

Bring in motivational speakers or a hypnotist or tell them that they'll never be traded until they win a championship. A team HAS to believe they will win.
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  #5  
Old 06-13-2012, 07:21 PM
Xema Xema is offline
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Just came here to post a piece of trivia: the last Cubs World Series win is closer in time to the Battle of Trafalgar than it is to the present day.

As to why, I got nothin'.
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  #6  
Old 06-13-2012, 07:37 PM
Tim R. Mortiss Tim R. Mortiss is offline
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The Cubs have a beautiful park in a beautiful neighborhood, and loyal fans who will flock to the games no matter how badly they suck. So where is the motivation to invest in higher-priced players, coaches, trainers, etc? Would there really be a return on the extra investment?

That has to be part of it.
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  #7  
Old 06-14-2012, 06:40 AM
Wheelz Wheelz is offline
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Originally Posted by ScatteredFrog View Post
And you can't blame Wrigley Field either.
I began reading this article with my eyes in roll-ready position. But underneath all the hyperbole there may be a valid point. The theory is that because Wrigley literally changes with the weather from a pitcher's park to a hitter's park, it's impossible to tailor a team of players whose strengths are a general match for the ballpark like other teams do. Thus, the Cubs' home-field advantage becomes less pronounced.

I'm not sure if this is enough of a factor by itself to keep them ringless for 104 years, but it's food for thought.
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  #8  
Old 06-14-2012, 09:01 AM
MikeS MikeS is offline
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Originally Posted by Wheelz View Post
The theory is that because Wrigley literally changes with the weather from a pitcher's park to a hitter's park, it's impossible to tailor a team of players whose strengths are a general match for the ballpark like other teams do. Thus, the Cubs' home-field advantage becomes less pronounced.

I'm not sure if this is enough of a factor by itself to keep them ringless for 104 years, but it's food for thought.
Any theory of this kind would have to explain how the White Sox were able to win the Series in '05, despite their home field being roughly as far away from the lakefront as Wrigley is.
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  #9  
Old 06-14-2012, 10:03 AM
Wheelz Wheelz is offline
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Any theory of this kind would have to explain how the White Sox were able to win the Series in '05, despite their home field being roughly as far away from the lakefront as Wrigley is.
A fair point, but of course you have to go back to 1917 to find the last White Sox championship before '05. So it does seem as if the odds are still skewed against.

Besides, while I do find this theory intriguing, I'm not entirely sold on the weight of its significance. The Cubs won six pennants in the '10s, '20s, and '30s, so they managed to do pretty well at Wrigley for a while. It may be somewhat statistically odd that they didn't win any World Series in that time, but you could attribute it to plain bad luck, or the dominance of the AL during that era (AL teams won 21 of 30 WS in those decades).

But I'd probably point to poor ownership as the major factor in the drought. Phil Wrigley inherited the team from his father in 1939 and was known for throwing nickels around like manhole covers. His tightwaddery essentially doomed the team to mediocrity or worse for the next 4 decades. He died, and the family sold to the Tribune Company, which essentially treated the Cubs as a corporate afterthought. They showed some improvement in the '80s, but the budget was still tight and management had no real direction.

Under the current ownership and management, it remains to be seen if things will change. Ricketts and Epstein seem to have the right philosophy and are starting to put some promising building blocks in place... but as John Hiatt said, it's a Slow Turnin'.

Last edited by Wheelz; 06-14-2012 at 10:05 AM..
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  #10  
Old 06-14-2012, 01:55 PM
Alley Dweller Alley Dweller is offline
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A theory that I saw in the past was that while most of the rest of baseball went to night games, the Cubs continued playing all their home games in the hot afternoon summer sun, thus exhausting their players more than the other teams as the season wore on.

Yes, I know that they now have lights at Wrigley.

Last edited by Alley Dweller; 06-14-2012 at 01:56 PM..
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  #11  
Old 06-14-2012, 04:29 PM
GrandWino GrandWino is offline
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Originally Posted by Alley Dweller View Post
A theory that I saw in the past was that while most of the rest of baseball went to night games, the Cubs continued playing all their home games in the hot afternoon summer sun, thus exhausting their players more than the other teams as the season wore on.

Yes, I know that they now have lights at Wrigley.
The high number of day games is actually a factor in signing good players. It's a disincentive for a lot of player to have to play so early in the day (they'd have to be at the park at 9a or 10a for a 1pm game.
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  #12  
Old 06-14-2012, 03:07 PM
howye howye is offline
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Originally Posted by Wheelz View Post
A fair point, but of course you have to go back to 1917 to find the last White Sox championship before '05. So it does seem as if the odds are still skewed against.
Let's add to that though, the last time the Boston Red Sox won a World Series prior to 2004 was 1918 (ending a run of 5 titles in from 1903 to 1918); the Cleveland Indians have not won the Series since 1948. Eight of the current teams in major league baseball have never won a World Series (two having made no appearance in the Series at all), so no telling how long their streaks will last.

The Cubs are notable for being the longest since a World Series win, but it was not all that long ago that you would have mentioned both the Cubs and Red Sox at the same time. Having the majority of their home games during the day may not help, but its not like they are playing in Texas. Direct causes are probably more to do with the poor ownership but still solid attendance. Although 20-30 years ago if the attendance had dropped because the team sucked, ownership would have looked to bulldoze the stadium or move the team somewhere else in Chicago or to another city altogether.

Beyond all other factors, I would guess that the Cubs Series drought is actually not all that statistically surprising. It is probably likely that somebody was going to go this long without a win, and the Cubs just happen to be that team.
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  #13  
Old 06-15-2012, 07:39 AM
kayT kayT is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wheelz View Post
...But I'd probably point to poor ownership as the major factor in the drought. Phil Wrigley inherited the team from his father in 1939 and was known for throwing nickels around like manhole covers. His tightwaddery essentially doomed the team to mediocrity or worse for the next 4 decades. He died, and the family sold to the Tribune Company, which essentially treated the Cubs as a corporate afterthought. They showed some improvement in the '80s, but the budget was still tight and management had no real direction...
Yes, management is a big factor. See, for example, the LA Clippers.
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  #14  
Old 06-14-2012, 02:01 PM
doorhinge doorhinge is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wheelz View Post
I began reading this article with my eyes in roll-ready position. But underneath all the hyperbole there may be a valid point. The theory is that because Wrigley literally changes with the weather from a pitcher's park to a hitter's park, it's impossible to tailor a team of players whose strengths are a general match for the ballpark like other teams do. Thus, the Cubs' home-field advantage becomes less pronounced.

I'm not sure if this is enough of a factor by itself to keep them ringless for 104 years, but it's food for thought.
Other teams don't seem to have any problem playing, and winning, under the same weather conditions.
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  #15  
Old 06-14-2012, 02:02 PM
hajario hajario is online now
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Originally Posted by doorhinge View Post
Other teams don't seem to have any problem playing, and winning, under the same weather conditions.
It would be easy enough to look at the home records of various teams over the years and see it there is any truth to this....not that I am going to volunteer to do it.
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  #16  
Old 06-15-2012, 10:19 AM
John DiFool John DiFool is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wheelz View Post
I began reading this article with my eyes in roll-ready position. But underneath all the hyperbole there may be a valid point. The theory is that because Wrigley literally changes with the weather from a pitcher's park to a hitter's park, it's impossible to tailor a team of players whose strengths are a general match for the ballpark like other teams do. Thus, the Cubs' home-field advantage becomes less pronounced.

I'm not sure if this is enough of a factor by itself to keep them ringless for 104 years, but it's food for thought.
Except that the Cubs' home field advantage has typically been above average, when they've been decent at least. IIRC.

[Checking those years where they were above .500, since we aren't interested in this question when there's no hope, starting with the 1967 club]

Year Home Road HFA LgHFA
----------------------------------------------
_1967 49-34 38-40 +8.5 +12.0
_1968 47-34 37-44 +10 +1
*1969 49-32 43-38 +6 +6
_1970 46-34 38-44 +9 +4
_1971 44-37 39-42 +5 +4
_1972 46-31 39-39 +7.5 -1
*1984 51-29 45-36 +6.5 +4
*1989 48-33 45-36 +3 +7
_1993 43-38 41-40 +2 +5
*1998 51-31 39-42 +11.5 +8
_2001 48-33 40-41 +8 +4
_2003 44-37 44-37 +0 +9
_2004 45-37 44-36 +0 +4
_2007 44-37 41-40 +3 +6
*2008 55-26 42-38 +12.5 +9
_2009 46-34 37-44 +9.5 +6

Cubs HFA: +102 games, 6.4 per season
League avg. HFA: +88, 5.5

And I'll note in those years when the Cubs were at or over 90 wins (* above), their average HFA was even larger.
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  #17  
Old 06-15-2012, 11:09 AM
Wheelz Wheelz is offline
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Originally Posted by John DiFool View Post
Except that the Cubs' home field advantage has typically been above average, when they've been decent at least.
I concede the point.
The article I linked quotes former team president Andy MacPhail offering up the idea, so I suppose that suggests just how deeply the "culture of losing" is rooted into the organization.
Quote:
For the Cubs, MacPhail said, every game might as well be away. Which means the front office has to build a kind of All-Star team, perfectly rounded for every kind of park. Which is impossible.
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  #18  
Old 06-14-2012, 04:41 PM
Tim R. Mortiss Tim R. Mortiss is offline
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Let's look at some statistics. There are 30 major league teams right now (I know there weren't quite so many in the past). If they were all equally good, on average, you would expect each team to win it all once every thirty years, on average. That is, the probability of winning it all in any given year would be 1/30 = 0.033333. So the probability of NOT winning in any given year is one minus that, or 0.9666666. Therefore, the probability of not winning for 100 years straight would be 0.9666666 raised to the 100th power, which comes out to: 0.0337, or slightly over 3%.

Not super likely, but not so remote as to require a curse or other tortured logic. And that's for an AVERAGE team. A team that sucks already, er, that is, suffers from chronic poor management, has an even better chance of having a bad century.

(disclaimer: while I will claim some knowledge of math, my knowledge of sports is pitifully lacking, so there may well be some logical flaws in the above argument.)
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  #19  
Old 06-18-2012, 05:16 PM
Freddy the Pig Freddy the Pig is offline
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Originally Posted by Tim R. Mortiss View Post
Let's look at some statistics. There are 30 major league teams right now (I know there weren't quite so many in the past). If they were all equally good, on average, you would expect each team to win it all once every thirty years, on average. That is, the probability of winning it all in any given year would be 1/30 = 0.033333. So the probability of NOT winning in any given year is one minus that, or 0.9666666. Therefore, the probability of not winning for 100 years straight would be 0.9666666 raised to the 100th power, which comes out to: 0.0337, or slightly over 3%.
In fact there were far fewer than 30 teams for much of the 104-year period. Doing the math correctly, the chance of a 104-year drought = only 0.44%.

However, the more telling statistic is to count post-season appearances. Taking into account the varying number of teams in the playoffs, the Cubs expected number of playoff appearances since 1908 = 16.17. The actual number of appearances = 14.

So, only slightly below average.

Why haven't they won it all? Because of an extraordinary run of 13 defeats in 14 post-season series (the exception being versus Atlanta in 2003). In other words, bad luck.
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  #20  
Old 06-18-2012, 05:42 PM
Alley Dweller Alley Dweller is offline
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Other than the World Series, I don't think there were any playoff games before 1969. 1969 was when the two leagues split into divisions, necessitating playoffs between the division champions. (There may have been playoffs if there was a tie for first at the end of the season, I don't know if this ever happened.)

Or maybe I'm remembering wrong?
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  #21  
Old 06-18-2012, 06:16 PM
Freddy the Pig Freddy the Pig is offline
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I should have said, 14 defeats in 15 post-season series. Since they won one in 2003, they played another that year. They would have won that one, too, except that their shortstop made an error and Kerry Wood pitched like shit.

Something else weird happened that year, too, but I forget what it was. It couldn't have been important.
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Originally Posted by Alley Dweller View Post
Other than the World Series, I don't think there were any playoff games before 1969.
Correct. Post-season refers to the World Series only before 1969. As many people are no longer aware, the Cubs went to the World Series--but lost it--in 1910, 1918, 1929, 1932, 1935, 1938, and 1945.

The Cubs' failure to even reach the World Series since 1945 is actually more remarkable than their failure to win it since 1908. The natural odds of the pennant-less streak are 0.18%, as compared to 0.44% for the championship.

When I was growing up (1970's), this aspect of Cubbie failure was noted more often than the championship drought. As Steve Goodman said (1983), and it's still true, "the last time the Cubs won the National League pennant was when we dropped the bomb on Japan".
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  #22  
Old 06-15-2012, 11:57 AM
John DiFool John DiFool is offline
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That last bit is nonsense. A good team will win everywhere (as in, HFA is overrated in the first place), and teams win championships all the time while not being "perfectly rounded."
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  #23  
Old 06-18-2012, 12:39 PM
Cheryl44 Cheryl44 is offline
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Former Sox fan here (don't get me started on what's wrong with baseball today) but there is a history of the team written recently the premise of which is the Cubs win when they aren't owned by a corporation. I don't know who wrote it or the title, I vaguely remember the interview on Chicago Tonight within the last 4 years.

Last edited by Cheryl44; 06-18-2012 at 12:39 PM..
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