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First it's the cold weather. Then it's the day games. Then it's Wrigley Field. Finally it's injuries. The Cubs use the same excuses every year to explain their woeful performance except the obvious one staring everyone in the face: Management sucks.
Tom Ricketts hasn't proven to be any more competent at running a baseball organization than the Tribune Company or the Wrigleys. When he said "Nothing's wrong, just injuries" earlier this month, his delusion or disingenuousness was showing.
Worse, it's part and parcel of the Cubs' annual mantra, as if each year they would be a World Series contender if not for a key injury or unusual rash of injuries that mars an otherwise perfect plan put together by geniuses like Jim Hendry.
Even Mike Quade has gotten into the act, stating that in all his years in baseball,"I don't ever remember a situation like this [with injuries]."
Really? Because I remember "situations like this" occurring every year, to nearly every team. This year is no exception. Consider what the rest of the major league baseball is facing.
"Baseball's biggest spenders are getting more than they bargained for when it comes to injuries this season," USA Today reports.
"When the Red Sox and Phillies square off in a three-game series beginning Tuesday night - one being labeled as a possible World Series preview - they'll each do so with expensive talent, including 40% of their projected pitching rotations, on the disabled list.
"Like Boston and Philadelphia, injuries have left the AL East-leading New York Yankees, the team with baseball's largest payroll, with holes that are tough to fill. The three clubs have a combined $114 million in salary on the disabled list."
Those three teams also happen to have the top three winning percentages in the league thus far this year.
And it's not like the injured players are scrubs; they have names such as Derek Jeter, Joba Chamberlain, Roy Oswalt, Brad Lidge, Carl Crawford and Daisuke Matsuzaka.
A spin around the rest of the league finds much the same.
"When it comes to injuries, the Dodgers top the list," the Los Angeles Times reported last month.
"The onslaught of injuries has forced the Cardinals to use the disabled list more through 73 games than they had all season in 2010," USA Today reported last week.
"The defending world champion San Francisco Giants had a lot of things go their way in 2010. One of the biggest advantages they had during their amazing run to glory was good health," Bleacher Report says.
"Things have been very different for the Giants in 2011, as the club has been racked with injury after key injury, making it very difficult for San Francisco to maintain its standing as one of the premier teams in the National League.
"Somehow, Manager Bruce Bochy and his club have been able to weather the storm. They find themselves in first place in the N.L. West as they approach the All-Star break."
"Right-hander Grant Balfour, one of the top candidates to be Oakland's All-Star representative this year, was placed on the disabled list Tuesday with the right oblique strain that kept him out of the series at Philadelphia over the weekend," the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The Mets have Johan Santana, David Wright and Ike Davis on the DL.
The Pirates have nine players on the DL - four more than the Cubs.
The Nationals have eight players on the DL; the Rangers have seven.
"Let's be honest here. Injuries have riddled this Braves team," the Burke County, Georgia, News-Herald reports.
"We had some key injuries early to our pitching staff," Dusty Baker says of the Reds' struggles.
A organization whose rosters are so fragile that it cannot withstand the inevitable bumps, bruises and broken bones that occur every season is not much of an organization at all.
And that's why the Cubs are, as of this writing, the second-worst team in baseball.
The worst team, the Astros, also have five players on the DL.
1. From John H. Olsen:
You are forgetting that the Cubs now have to deal with the distraction of seagulls, a new public address announcer, and a new radio color analyst. I do not believe that any other MLB team has such handicaps.
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