Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Curse of the Cubs Will Continue

Let's put on our imagination caps for a second, and pretend I offered to make you a deal. You've been lost in the desert for weeks, and you're tired and hungry, and you've been eating bugs and lizards with very little water to drink. In fact, a few times you thought you saw a nice, big pool of crystal clear water, but turns out it was just a mirage. And out here in the middle of the desert you and I have crossed paths at the top of yet another sun scorched sand dune, and the first thing you say to me is, "Hey, got anything to drink?"

From the tone of your voice and the look of your burnt and blistered skin, I get the feeling you're a little bit desperate, and the longer I talk to you, the more I realize that you'd give anything for just a drop of water. I'm a little thirsty myself, but I've been living in the desert for years now, and I've learned a lot about surviving in this harsh environment, including the best ways to avoid extreme sun exposure, which snakes to eat, which snakes not to eat, and most importantly the exact location of everywhere oasis in a 300 mile radius. Any one of these bits of information would be enough to get you out of the desert and safely back home, but the only thing you keep asking me is, "Hey, got anything to drink?"

At first, I feel sorry for you. After all, you didn't ask to be dropped out here in the middle of this unforgiving desert, it just happened by mistake one day and here you are. I can empathize with your plight, and really want to help you, but every time I begin to tell you any valuable bit of information, all you want to know is, "Hey, got anything to drink?"

After a while, I get the point. You don't care about anything else, you just want water. And I just so happen to have a small canteen with enough water in it to last about half a day, but if I give it to you I'll have to make the 3 hour walk to the small oasis just north of here, and I really hate walking out here in the middle of the day. So, I decide that I'll give you my water, but only if you make it worth my time and trade me some decent stuff. At the sight of my canteen, you begin to offer me every valuable item on you, including some expensive jewelry, a nice watch, a wallet full of cash, and the keys to your car and home.

This could be a really profitable deal for me, but I quickly realize that if you ever manage to crawl out of this desert, you won't have any money or valuables to buy a plane ticket home, and even worse, you won't even have a home. But you are very belligerent, and pretty soon I give in and hand you the canteen. Without saying a word, you fling all your valuables at me, grab the canteen, and proceed to pour it's contents down your throat. You can hardly swallow the water fast enough, and it pours down your face, onto your dirty chest, and into the sand, as you gasp and choke between gulps.

As I gather up your cash and jewelry, I attempt to tell you which direction to walk to reach the oasis I'll be heading to, but by then your sucking the water out of your shirt and putting wet sand in your mouth, trying to squeeze out every last drop. You aren't paying a bit of attention to me, and it's obvious you don't care what I have to say. You got what you wanted, and it's time for me to go. After walking a few hundred yards, I turn to see you on your knees, licking the surface of the dunes, desperately hoping that you can soak up just a little more water, but by now the hot, dry sun has evaporated everything you spilled, and there's nothing left but hot sand.

I shake my head, and turn towards the nearby oasis, never to see you again.

What's the moral of this story? I think you know, but it's something the Cubs obviously haven't learned yet. Don't make desperate trades, don't throw away your future, and most importantly, don't let Billy Beane know that you're willing to do both.

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