CHICAGO (AP) - One thing that will not be mentioned during Wrigley Field’s 100th birthday party Wednesday: the losing.
“I don’t think I really need that kind of a reminder,” Cubs president Theo Epstein said Tuesday before Chicago hosted Arizona. “That’s not what I’m thinking about when I’m thinking of (Wednesday). When it comes to the 100th anniversary, for me, I think just how Wrigley is the epicenter of fans’ connection to the Cubs. Wrigley not only connects the fans to the team but also generations of fans to one another, fathers to sons and grandfathers to grandsons, mothers to daughters, mothers to sons.”
The Cubs have never won a World Series title at Wrigley, but more pressing for Epstein is turning a team that around has had four straight losing seasons and is off to a 6-12 record.
“The losing doesn’t ever get any easier,” Epstein said. “But it’s not like we spend a lot of time sitting around stewing about that. You just try to throw yourself into all the opportunities that present themselves that could make us better, so that we can win as quick as possible for as long as possible.”
“It’s not too late for us to turn that around,” he said. “We haven’t hit our stride. We haven’t really got into a rhythm yet.”
About this year’s club, he Epstein said:
“It’s kind of a plucky team so far. I think we’ve fought pretty hard; we’ve played pretty hard. Unfortunately, we’ve fallen to some of the same early-season trends that we’ve had the last few years. Closer issues, hitting with runners in scoring position issues and those have contributed to us getting off to a rockier start than one might expect based on the starting pitching that we’ve gotten.”
The Cubs will hold a pregame celebration for the ivy-covered ballpark before the Cubs and Diamondbacks play Wednesday.
That nostalgia will be a major part of the anniversary special, but Epstein in his third season at the helm since he left the Boston Red Sox he said hopes to begin a new tradition in the future.
“We all look forward to the day when the crowd and the energy in the ballpark is focused on that 9th inning comeback the Cubs are gonna have instead of the seventh-inning stretch,” he said. “That’s kind of the way it was at Fenway (Park) once we started winning on a consistent basis,” he said. “It’s gonna be that way here; it’s gonna be a lot better.”