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SportsMondayTuesday: The Bears Are So Cub

Backup quarterback Jason Campbell not playing for the Bears against the Browns in the final exhibition game may result in my bowing out of season-ticket ownership. Cubs season-ticket ownership that is.

Upon further review (NFL football begins in less than 36 hours people! Time to adopt a proper mindset), I suppose I should acknowledge that the previous correlation isn't exactly direct. But the two items in that previous sentence are potentially related and I'm happy to break down why.

I was watching Josh McCown start that ludicrous exhibition football game in Cleveland last Thursday and I was thinking, are you kidding me, NFL? Cleveland fans have to pay full price for this crap? After all, tickets cost the same for pre- and regular-season games.

And that, of course, led me to say, are you kidding me, major sports? Despite record revenues, the NHL seems poised to cancel the start of the preseason in a week-and-a-half and to lock out players for the second time in a decade.

And the feelings these news items provoked dovetail quite nicely with my ongoing outrage with the Cubs' apparent plan to not try to win next season just like they didn't try to win this season.

General manager Jed Hoyer (now owner of a $2.1 million Lincoln Park home) was clear about not caring about this campaign when he dumped top starters Ryan Dempster and Paul Maholm for mediocre minor league players a month ago, and there continues to be this weird consensus among prominent sports media types in this town that the Cubs should do the same next year.

Are you kidding me?!

Listen up! This idea that the best way for the Cubs to build a consistent winner is for them to trash a couple seasons while piling up prospects is a crock. The main thing that has been accomplished this year and will be accomplished next year (unless a bunch of fans come to their senses and decide to stop mindlessly buying tickets to watch terrible baseball) is that the team has successfully slashed payroll while the revenues continue to pour in. In other words, the Ricketts ownership group has piled up profits and will continue to do so.

I have written this before but humor me here for a second. A total of 90-something percent of successful baseball teams are mixtures of veterans and young players. All you have to do is cast your gaze all the way down to the South Side for the best current example of this truth. Some giant wave of amazing young talent isn't going to usher in a decade of winning baseball at Wrigley in 2015. It will not happen.

Of course, Cubs executives would say they will trade some of the young players for veterans or they will sign veteran free agents to augment the young core but it could not be clearer that the Cubs have the money to sign veteran free agents and to develop young players. And the best players then play even if you have to eat a few contracts. This is not complicated and it is unacceptable for the Cubs to pretend they can't start doing this next year.

Now let me point out that my wife and I make about the smallest possible financial commitment that people can make and still call themselves partial season-ticket holders. We pay for a quarter of a nights-and-weekends package in the upper deck reserved at Wrigley.

And we won't bow out unless the guy whose name is on the tickets agrees to bow out as well. He is moving to Austin, Texas, and it will be a pain for him to maintain ownership. He would probably do so in certain circumstances but for the current Cubs?

Also be aware that you can't transfer ownership of tickets in this sort of situation. If our friend decides not to renew, other members of the ticket-buying group go to the back of the waiting list.

Going back to the Bears for a minute, how on God's green turf could coach Lovie have concluded from Campbell's work in his team's first three exhibition games that the backup would be good to go should he be called upon in the regular season? When Campbell wasn't sharp during that action, he was downright ragged.

Of course he could have used another half of action against the Browns to get more comfortable in Mike Tice's offense and just to have refined his throwing mechanics.

Analyst Dan Dierdorf spent much of the second half of the Bears' third preseason game breaking down how badly Campbell was playing.

Heck, even Jay Cutler should have played at least a quarter in Cleveland. He needed more work in the Bears' offense; that much was clear from the aforementioned third game.

And that work is more valuable if it comes against an opposing defense; even if it is the Browns' backups it beats going through the motions in another practice against your own guys.

The Bears' opponent in that third preseason game, the one that dominated the first half?

Oh yeah, that was the Giants. And guess who played their starters in the first quarter of their fourth preseason game? That would be . . . the Giants. Who, if I'm not mistaken, won the Super Bowl last year.

Major sports owners are taking major liberties with fans. Calling for boycotts or anything like that never works but there has to be a breaking point, doesn't there? For me, it may have been seeing Jason Campbell on the sideline.

It was so egregious it makes me want to give up on the Cubs, too.


Jim "Coach" Coffman is our man on Mondays Tuesdays. He welcomes your comments.

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