CHICAGO—Cubs players, coaches, and management expressed disbelief Thursday, questioning whether they were out of their minds for participating in another Major League Baseball season.
"Why the hell are we still putting ourselves through this?" left fielder Alfonso Soriano said during an Opening Day press conference, adding that no one on the team has ever been happy at the end of the season, during the season, or at the beginning of the season, which, according to Soriano, is when everyone actually feels the most hopeless. "We just have to admit to ourselves that the Chicago Cubs should not be playing in a professional baseball league. Can we all just do that and put an end to this misery?"
While attending his last batting practice before Opening Day, third baseman Aramis Ramirez acknowledged he has struggled to understand why the Cubs would bother playing in yet another pointless baseball season when, he said, it will be abundantly clear a month before the All-Star break that the team has no chance of getting to the World Series.
Growing increasingly frustrated, Ramirez slammed his helmet to the ground and launched into a tirade, saying that agreeing to take part in another 162 games was a waste of everyone's time.
"Another spring, summer, and fall out the fucking window," Ramirez said as several of his teammates, coaches, and team chairman Tom Ricketts nodded their heads in agreement. "I don't even know why we're here. Seriously, Ryan [Dempster], why are you here right now? Kosuke [Fukudome], what do you expect to get out of all this? Kerry [Wood], that you came back to this team after playing for the New York Yankees makes me fucking sick to my stomach for you and your family."
"Year after year we all know this is going to end badly, but here we are," Ramirez added. "It's the very definition of insanity."
Manager Mike Quade, visibly exasperated by a spring training he described as "the same old pathetic shit," echoed the sentiment of his players, admitting that the Cubs were destined to put all of their fans, family, and friends through hell in a "miserable, futile season." Insisting the Cubs would accomplish nothing special in 2011, Quade predicted the team would temporarily raise expectations after a fairly decent start, lose several key players to injuries, fall into a slump for two crucial months, and then provide a torturous glimmer of hope with a brief comeback that would ultimately be followed by complete and utter collapse.
Quade added that even if the Cubs were to somehow make the World Series, they would inevitably lose in a devastating fashion that would physically and emotionally destroy anyone associated with the team in any way for decades to come.
"There's nothing I can do as a manager that's going to make a difference," said Quade, who in between hitting ground balls to his infielders could be heard mumbling, "I hate my life." "Christ, am I really about to put myself through six excruciating months of tinkering with batting orders and pitching rotations as if we have a serious shot of ending a century of mediocrity? It's fucked up, but the answer is yes. And hearing myself say that makes me feel like I'm having a massive anxiety attack."
"Every time I walk out to the mound I just assure the guys that at least we will all be dead eventually," Quade continued.
When asked to voice their thoughts on the hopeful promise of Opening Day, several Cubs responded with "Ugh," "Not this crap again," "Thanks for ruining a perfectly nice day, asshole," "We're going nowhere," and "Please, make this nightmare stop."
Despite the rampant cynicism and despair coming from the Cubs' clubhouse, team president Crane Kenney remained optimistic, saying there was still hope that a wealthy investor would eventually buy the franchise and mercifully shut it down for good.
"Some of the folks around here say that I'm a dreamer, or that I have my head in the clouds because I believe there's somebody out there who will save us from the Cubs," Kenney said. "But if that's the case, then I'm no more deluded than those poor fucks in the stands who actually believe the Cubs will win a World Series in their lifetimes."
"I guess they're the most pathetic in all of this, because they choose to come back," Kenney added. "And pay good money to do so."