CHICAGO -- In most cases, a winning team is a happy team. Go into any major league clubhouse after a victory and the music will be loud. The faces will be beaming. It’s a common refrain that winning breeds chemistry, but the Chicago Cubs are trying to disprove that theory.
“If you let a tough grind bother you, it will grind you down and it will cause problems,” Quade said. “They should be proud, this group of guys, that they haven’t let that happen. We’ve had moments that weren’t good, but we’ve bounced back and they keep competing.”
Winners of four of their last five, the Cubs have shown recent signs of turning around a dismal season. Even during the struggles, however, the Cubs' clubhouse has been full of upbeat players, seemingly all of them brimming with optimism.
Quade credited his staff and the veterans on the team for making sure none of the players dwelled on the losses.
“We show up everyday anxious to work and if we’ve been through a tough time, try and put that behind us and look forward,” Quade said. “Keep looking forward, keep being patient and optimistic and create an environment that will let us get better. Whether it’s on the field or in the clubhouse these guys have done a great job.”
A few weeks ago after a tough loss to the Houston Astros, reliever Jeff Samardzija felt that despite the teams’ inability to string victories together, they were on the verge of doing some good things. Of course the team went on to lose eight straight after Samardzija made those comments.
However, the point is that this team believes it can win. Despite not doing so, the Cubs have resisted the common pitfall of turning on one another. Outside of one small blip from Carlos Zambrano – which he quickly apologized for – the team has stuck together and made sure to keep a positive outlook.
While the team has kept up a cheerful mood through the tough times, catcher Koyie Hill did admit after Friday’s win that there have been some changes in the clubhouse atmosphere.
“The mind set has definitely changed over the last week and a half. Whether you’ve been here the whole time or just came back like [Alfonso Soriano], you can definitely tell a difference,” Hill said. “It’s between us, it’s between the guys that are in here. So we’re going to continue to move in the right direction and our agenda is something we’re going to keep between the guys in here.”
While Hill wasn’t willing to share all the details of the Cubs new ‘agenda’, one would assume that winning would be pretty high on that list. There aren’t many fans remaining who believe the Cubs can turn things around and the media seems to share in that belief.
The skeptics have every right to question the Cubs’ ability to turn it around. The Cubs are at the bottom of the league in team ERA (4.72) and second to last in errors (57), and as they say, pitching and defense wins games.
However, the players have clearly made it a point to tune out the doubters; they’ve convinced themselves that despite the ugly stats, they’re better than their 29-40 record would indicate. With a recent string of success, they’ve at least shown that they have the ability to play well. But unless they can sustain that success for more than a week, all the positive vibes won’t mean a thing and the list of naysayers will only continue to grow.