“That Thing The Cubs Do” hits all the right notes

There is a charming scene in “That Thing You Do,” an underrated gem by Tom Hanks. The Wonders are about to make their national TV debut and, just before the curtain rises, drummer Shades Patterson shakes his head over his buddies’ meteoric rise and mutters, “How’d we get here?”

You just know similar flashes of perspective have gone through the minds of MLB’s Wonders, the Chicago Cubs’ Fab Four of Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Jorge Soler and Addison Russell.

“How’d we get here?” indeed.

Jorge Soler, Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Kyle Schwarber (left to right)?

Cubs president Theo Epstein conveniently went along with the musical analogy when trying to interpret the breakthrough success of the young club about to play for the National League pennant.

“This is like our first record,” Epstein said. “You put that record out, and then things blow up and it’s a wonderful time of innocence and exceeding expectations, bursting on the national scene.”

I swear, sounds like Epstein could have been reading from the “That Thing You Do” script.

In Chicago, Joe Maddon plays the part of Mr. White, the Hanks movie character who discovers, nurtures and unleashes The Wonders. Maddon’s confidence in playing and trusting the kids has given them an instant sense of belonging.

“We’re good baseball players,” Schwarber said, simply. “That’s why we’re here. You can’t look at it as young. We’re baseball players. We know what needs to be done, and so whatever situation comes up, we’ll get it done.”

That’s what Schwarber says. But when the final notes of the National Anthem fade out Saturday night and the first pitch of the National League Championship Series is about to be delivered, I know what he’ll be thinking in the Cubs dugout.
“How’d we get here?”


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2015 was a very good year for our guys, but I sure wish we had a bevy of young, good hitters going into next season. According to ESPN, we now have the second oldest (overall) team in all of major league baseball.
Not only that, with the exception of Messrs. Cole and Liriano, we have to worry about starting pitching once again. (We sure better sign Mr. Happ, or we’re DOOMED.)
And the Cubbies these days, they clearly don’t waste time promoting guys to the Big Club. Soler was a Cubs’ 2012 amatreur free agent signing. Addison Russell was a 2012 first round pick (by Oakland — why they gave up on him is a total mega-total mystery). Kris Bryant was a Cubs’ 2013 first round pick. And Kyle Schwarber was a Cubs’ 2014 first round pick. Those guys might become worthy opponents for the next ten years.
As Mr. Singer so cogently writes — “Maddon’s confidence in playing and trusting the kids has given them an instant sense of belonging.
So true, so true. And for better or worse, that attitude just never (at least over recent seasons) has seemed to be part of the baseball DNA of the PBC.

Of course, that presupposes that the team in question actually has a handful of really talented young guys ready to step in and make a major difference . . . That hasn’t been a forte for the Buccos over the past few years, (Although I am a huge fan of El Coffee — and all of our outfielders — and I do expect Mr. Polanco to put up All Star numbers next year. We could use two or three more great young players, just like him.)
Oh well, life is never perfect.

The Cubs are on a roll but it’s also really exciting times for baseball in general. http://bit.ly/1GewvTe

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