Last month, the bumbling Cubs made five errors, their most in six years, in a 10-8 loss to Cincinnati. First-year manager Dale Sveum said afterward: "Not the prettiest game we've played all year, that's for sure."
He noted that All-Star shortstop Starlin Castro had been thrown out trying to steal after losing track of the ball — a "lack of concentration" that has been maddening to him and to fans eager for a Cubbie hero to emerge. It was Castro, after all, who failed to throw to first on a double-play ball in June when there were only two outs and the Cubs were on their worst road skid since 1954.
Fans say that if the team continues to flounder, attendance will continue to drop. One reason, said Turow, is that when Joe Ricketts thought about funding the anti-Obama ad campaign he tested the loyalty of Cubs fans in a way it has never been tested before.
"People don't want to run out to that ball park in a powerful Democratic city and think they are funding a Republican propaganda machine," he said.
Rhodes agrees that fans are going to get angrier if they don't see improvement next season, and attendance may fall even more. But he doesn't think Wrigley will turn into a ghost town — after all, this year's team will end up drawing more than 2.8 million fans. That's more than four times the fans who came through the turnstiles to watch the 1966 Cubs and hundreds of thousands more fans than turned out to U.S. Cellular Field to see the White Sox — a team that is actually fighting to get into the playoffs.
"This town doesn't make sense," he said.
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