I know I have addressed this topic before, but clearly from the things I see on social media, hear on talk radio, and even conversations with my own friends, it needs to be repeated. Consider this an open letter to all of you armchair quarterbacks and couch managers out there.

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No, you are not smarter than Joe Maddon. I actually saw on Twitter someone saying if the Cubs blow the division, it will be all because of Maddon’s misuse of the bullpen in the Milwaukee series this past week. Well, Al Bundy, I know you may have played Little League, Babe Ruth, and maybe even high school baseball, but Joe Maddon has been in professional baseball for a long time. He has access to a lot more information than you do, including, you know, actually being around the players so he can gauge how they feel, physically and mentally. He also has a lot of data; matchup history, personal history, etc. Does this mean Maddon is above criticism? Certainly not. I have been critical of some of the thing’s the man dubbed “Crazy Joe” has done. Does he do a lot of unorthodox things? Yep. He always has. The problem with most of you jerks is that you play the results. If a move works, YAY Joe is a genius. If it doesn’t work, BOO Joe’s an idiot. You do realize that regardless of what the manager does, he can’t hit, he can’t pitch, and he can’t play defense. Again I will repeat: 3 straight NLCS appearances, 1 World Series appearance, 1 World Championship. No other manager in the history of the Chicago Cubs has that on their resume. By the way, the cubs are NOT going to blow the division, so it’s going to be 4 straight trips to the post season and who knows from there? You don’t like Joe Maddon? Fine. You tell me who you’d replace him with then, smart guy. No, he isn’t perfect, but he’s the best we’ve had in a very long time.

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No, Kris Bryant does not suck. Yes, I’ve actually heard this. He should be benched and Bote should be the third baseman. Look, there’s nobody more pleased with the job David Bote has done since he’s gotten this chance than me.  I know everybody wants to put him in the Hall of Fame ever since the walk=off grand salami a few weeks ago. Can we be realistic here? David Bote kicked around the minors for 7 years. Kris Bryant has been a prodigy since he was 12. You know, that Rookie of the Year turned MVP? Obviously he’s been dealing with this shoulder injury most if not all of the season. I’m a few credits shy of my medical degree, but I’m betting he’s going to need surgery after the year. “If he’s injured his ass should be on the bench.” Yes, I have heard that too. So let’s see. He isn’t debilitated. He’s out there trying to help the team, and you don’t like it. Yu Darvish on the other hand, you criticize for NOT being available. So which is it? Do you want a guy to gut through an injury or do you want him collecting a check and not playing?

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The bullpen sucks. I’m looking here, and I see a 3.33 bullpen ERA, good for 2nd in the NL, 5th in all of baseball. I realize that is not the be-all-end all, but I guess some of you expect the bullpen to never give up a hit? Can we also remember that our closer Brandon Morrow has been hurt for over a month, and it’s his second time on the disabled list. That causes Joe to mix and match a lot, and it puts guys in some roles they may not be familiar with or comfortable with. I’m not saying the bullpen is perfect either, but I just can’t remember the pen giving away too many big leads. Most of the time it’s been situations where the offense scored 1 or 2 runs, and you can blame that just as much as a bullpen pitcher.

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Look, does this team have flaws? Yes. Does every team in the league have flaws? Yep. It just amazes me how a fan base that has been the “Lovable Losers” for 108 years, the butt of every joke,  suddenly becomes a bunch of spoiled, entitled brats after a 4 year span of success. It used to be by this time of the year, the Cubs were 30 games out, and I was on to football. Now, I have very little interest in football. I’m still in baseball mode. Are we going to win the World Series this year? Hell I don’t know. But you know what? We’re in the mix. we have a chance. That’s all I ever ask. We are relevant. Can’t we just appreciate that? Every hitter isn’t going to hit a home run every time he bats. Every pitcher isn’t going to throw a no-hitter every time he pitches. The other teams get paid too. I feel like we should be relishing in actually being a good team, but so many of us are clutching our pearls because everything isn’t perfect. Let’s just enjoy the rest of this season and go to the playoffs and hope for the best shall we?

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