by: Mauricio Rubio Jr.
email: mr@99sportsproblems.com
twitter: @MRubio52

It is said that what is called the Spirit of an Age is something to which one cannot return. That this spirit gradually dissipates is due to the world’s coming to an end. In the same way, a single year does not have just spring or summer. A single day, too, is the same. For this reason, although one would like to change today’s world back to the spirit of one hundred years or more ago, it cannot be done. Thus it is important to make the best out of every generation.

-Hagakure

When things end I become introspective and I begin to asses what I really learned from any experience I have that comes to an end. In relationships I find that at the end of them I learn more about myself than I would have expected. When a job/internship has ended for me in the past the things I take away from them always carry over to the next job.

It is this way for me in all things. And so, now that the baseball season has ended, I wonder in the aftermath of an ugly World Series sweep what did I learn about baseball this year? Are there things that we can collectively take away as Chicago baseball fans that we can carry into 2013 and beyond?

Ohhh fuck yeah there are.

As a Chicago Cubs fan I’m used to baseball failure. There have been times where I’ve hated this game, times where I’ve given up hope in ever seeing another serious title threat on Chicago’s north side.

The lesson I learned in 2012 that I feel was most important, and what I’ll carry over into 2013, is a genuine love for the game again. When Theo Epstein went up to that podium and announced a long term rebuilding that would include the complete gutting of the current team a switch was flipped in my head.

Suddenly the immediate empty wins and losses of the present didn’t matter. Sean Marshall being dealt to the Reds didn’t matter. Trading Maholm and Dempster and a host of other players didn’t matter. Instead what mattered to me as a Chicago Cubs fan was the long term health of the organization as it invests in young ball players to become contenders once again.

We aren’t talking about a short term spending spree that inhibits a long run of success. We are talking about becoming the Braves, the Yankees, the Texas Rangers even.

We are talking about a plan that is attempting to secure the long term future of the Chicago Cubs. That’s fucking awesome.

And so I let go of W’s and L’s, and I embraced the fluidity of Starlin Castro’s fielding mechanics, Anthony Rizzo’s short compact swing that projects to have genuine pop, Jeff Samardzija’s new found command and pitching mechanics.

You know what else I embraced? Paul Konerko’s approach to At Bats. Chris Sale’s wind up and how it creates positive momentum to the plate, creating odd angles and fusing it with great stuff. I embraced Bryce Harper’s violent swing, Mike Trout’s tantalizing skill set, Miggy’s bat which combines control and power in a beautiful fusion of arms and hips and legs. I embraced the Orioles improbable, stat defying run, the Oakland A’s getting white hot at the end, the Nationals rise to prominence, Mike Morse and his Hulk-like swing.

I embraced all of it, and through that I found a new way to love this game.

For Cubs fans I urge you to understand that they will not be relevant for some time. I urge my fellow Cubs fans to drop the old habits and begin to understand that they aren’t chasing short term wins, they are chasing long term trophies. We fans need to understand that we aren’t out of the rebuild yet, and it’s time to stop pining for band aids like Josh Hamilton and the like. You’re making us all look stupid and we don’t like it.

For the White Sox fans I hope you never squander another season like 2012 again. Baseball is quite an enjoyable sport in person, made even more so when you have a Cy Young candidate and a genuinely fun team to watch on the field. What they did as a collective was nothing short of impressive, and even though they did not close it out and make the playoffs they gave you 3-4 months of baseball bliss and struggled to sell out weekend home games.

And so, baseball ends. Kind of. You see, I’ll still be watching baseball in one form or another over the next few months. Caribbean ball, the WBC, all that good stuff? It’s still coming up. Over the next few months, starting in Nov. I’ll be ranking my personal Top 100 for 2013, the MLB players that I think will have the most impact in the coming year. For me, baseball will continue in a manner, but it is taking a much needed break.

The end is important in all things.

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