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Why the 2014 Cubs are like 'The Office'

Theo EpsteinJed Hoyer Travis WoodRick RenteriaStarlin CastroJose VerasRyan Howard

I'd love to have the luxury of comparing the Cubs to a show like "The Walking Dead," or any popular scripted drama for that matter. Alas, in terms of quality, drama and critical acclaim, the Cubs are more like a sitcom. A sitcom on its way up, no doubt, but a sitcom nonetheless. Sort of like the first season of "The Office."

Ricketts family = Michael Scott

The Ricketts family are the dim, well-intentioned, enthusiastic-but-utterly-clueless regional managers of the Cubs. They want you to love them soooo much. They want you to be afraid of how much you love them. They bumble around, ordering that Wrigley Field serve gluten-free food and creating pants-less mascots.

Theo Epstein = Jim Halpert

Jed Hoyer = Pam Beesly

Luckily, the regional managers have a bright, young, witty salesman who often makes fans wonder how he wound up in this job. The Cubs' Jim Halpert, Theo Epstein, even has a plucky young sidekick, who we all hope will break out of the shell of the reception desk and find his true calling, in Jed Hoyer. While the Rickettses are busy planning booze cruises and team-building picnics, Epstein and Hoyer are left to actually run the organization, and they've brought in some highly touted young talent.

Jose Veras = Creed Bratton

There's Jose Veras, the mysterious, veteran closer with a sketchy major league history and a distinct Creed Bratton vibe. No one is sure what he does, how he wound up here or what to do with him. He got his job as closer because no one else wanted the position. He may grow mung beans in his locker.

Mike Olt = Ryan Howard

On the opposite end of the scale is Mike Olt, the young, ambitious, pedigreed third baseman the Cubs acquired from Texas. He's hot stuff and he knows it. He bangs balls out of the ballpark the way Ryan Howard banged away on his Blackberry. Let's just hope Olt stays out of jail for shareholder fraud.

Travis Wood = Angela Martin

Returning to the Cubs this season is stalwart Travis Wood. Despite being surrounded by underachievers Edwin Jackson, Luis Valbuena and Darwin Barney, Wood keeps his head down, does his job and works with Angela Martin-like efficiency. Does anyone know if Travis owns cats?

Starlin Castro = Kelly Kapoor

Though far from new, the most important player on the Cubs this season is the delightfully wacky Starlin Castro. What inning is it? How many outs are there? Which base should he throw to? He's not sure—he was too busy reading about the Kardashians and trying to make plans with Mike Olt.

Rick Renteria = Andy Bernard

Last, but certainly not least, is new manager Rick Renteria. By default, Renteria is the Andy Bernard of the team. Why? Because, he's overly excited about everything, and because he's the manager. This team desperately needs someone willing to put his first through a wall. Or at least dirt on the shoes of an umpire.

Much like the intrepid crew at Dunder Mifflin, it's likely the Cubs will bungle their way through another season before being truly competitive in the years to come. But just as Scranton absorbed the Stamford branch, there is a whole cast of new characters scheduled to make their debuts soon, most likely Javier Baez, Kyle Hendricks and Albert Almora, and they promise to make The Chicago Cubs Show much more interesting.

Like "The Office," the 2014 Cubs season isn't about how much gets accomplished, it's about enjoying the ride along the way.

RedEye special contributor Julie DiCaro can be heard on 87.7 FM The Game.

 

OPENING DAY

Cubs at Pittsburgh, 12:05 p.m. WGN


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