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It's only fans who have to tough it out
By Mike Imrem | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 8/22/2010 7:38 PM

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Sunday was an emotional afternoon at Wrigley Field as Lou Piniella, one of baseball's good guys, waved goodbye as Cubs manager.

The crowd's pregame ovation was fitting, as much for Piniella's nearly 50 years in baseball as for his nearly four seasons with the Cubs.

The sentimentalism stopped right there.

Atlanta's Omar Infante hit the third pitch of the game for a home run to begin a 16-5 Cubs defeat that ended in boos.

Not much of a parting gift for one of baseball's best managers of all time, was it?

"It was a good day to remember," Piniella said before chuckling through tears, "and a good day to forget."

Piniella left Wrigley like too many others have - loving his time there but remarking how tough it is for the Cubs to win.

Last week Derrek Lee was traded to Atlanta and talked about the "negative environment" in Wrigley Field.

What a freakin' cop-out.

"Oh, no, oh, no, there are boogie men in the nooks of the ballpark" - "Oh, no, oh, no, there are demons in the crannies of the mind" - Oh, no, oh, no, there are too many day games" - "Oh, no, oh, no, there are too many oh, no's" -

Former Cubs point out how gloomy fans and media are because the Cubs haven't won a World Series since 1908.

Fellas, it's one thing to admit you aren't good enough to whip the Cub beast. It's another thing to admit you aren't tough enough.

Where are Superman, Batman and Iron Man when the Cubs need them, anyway?

No wonder the Cubs can't win a championship. When the environment gets tough, they aren't tough enough to get going anywhere but somewhere else.

Come on, guys, go out and win something and nobody will have to deal with negativity for another century.

Piniella, Lee and the others who get to leave are the lucky ones. You see, fans left behind aren't allowed to waive their no-trade contracts.

People in the Cubs' organization arrive, suffer and leave. People in the stands come, suffer and can't leave until death do they depart.

For guys like Piniella and Lee the Cubs are a contractual commitment. For fans the Cubs are a life sentence.

A couple of weeks ago a national baseball writer suggested to me that the Cubs haven't won a World Series for 102 years because they have been dumb. I told him they haven't even been to one in 65 years because they're cursed.

We decided together that the Cubs haven't won for so long because they have been both dumb and cursed.

Sorry, is that too negative?

Accentuating the bad only punctuates that tough guys like Piniella and Lee weren't tough enough to win a World Series in Wrigley Field.

If negativism is the Cubs' only problem, well, all they have to do is find tougher players to man up against the boogie men, demons, dumbness, day games, poor facilities and curses.

Now that Piniella and Lee are among the dearly departed maybe ownership should replace them with tougher guys like, say, "The Expendables."

Cubs fans no longer would have to listen to how tough it is to win in Wrigley Field.

Until then, though, I'll continue believing that the Cubs won't win anything significant in my lifetime.

That's the real sentimental sentiment permeating Wrigley Field these days.