When Cubs “super-prospect”, Javier Baez was called up earlier this week, Cubs fans were, for lack of a better word, giddy. Indeed, Javier Baez, the symbol of the Cubs long awaited future had finally arrived. His debut? Well, I won’t be telling my future kids about the first time I saw Javier Baez play. Yes, I know he had a monster shot to give the Cubs a lead in the 12th innings (a game-winner), but I also know he went 1-6, with three Ks, and a defensive miscue that cost the Cubs a run. I’m not saying Baez is doomed to the fate of Corey Patterson, Bobby Hill, and Felix Pie, nor am I saying he’s a future HOFer. It’s simply too early to tell, Baez is just 21, and while you want to see immediate impact, the Cubs, no matter what, seem doomed to lose at least 90 games.
The problem with us Cubs fans, is that we get our hopes up so much that we suffocate our prospects, and if they don’t perform, we immediately disown them. I’ve seen Patterson-Mania, Pie-Mania, Hill-Mania, and perhaps most tragically, Fukudome-mania. Surprisingly, Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro have survived, and, to some-extent, thrived. But after a sub-par 2013 campaign, there were some on Twitter ready to burn them in effigy. I fear for Baez’ sake, that if he dare not perform to our high expectations, that he is condemned to the same fate of Corey Patterson. This isn’t the last we’ll see of prospect mania, when Kris Bryant emerges, expect a media firestorm that would rival that of a World Series victory.
The Baez we will likely see for the remainder of the 2014 campaign isn’t the Baez we will see down the line in 2016, and beyond. The Cubs simply wanted Baez to get some major league experience. Baez will struggle, he is not a messiah sent to lift the Cubs from their doldrums. My only hope is that the Cubs faithful realize that before his hits a cold-spell, because if they don’t they will lose confidence in the Theo plan. Cubs fans have been waiting a while, and their patience is running thin. Am I excited over Baez’ potential? Absolutely, I think he’s a prodigious talent, but you have to be careful when you’re dealing with a talent like this. With expectations this high, Cubs fans need to be aware of where he is in his career. If Cubs fans can keep that in mind, I think we can make Baez’ job that much easier.
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