Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Big Treb-Le Manager Trying to Weather Cubs' Terrible Start

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Big Treb-Le Manager Trying to Weather Cubs' Terrible Start

Article excerpt

In this, the Year of the Goat, is it any wonder that the Chicago Cubs are playing as if they had two left feet?

What more can go wrong? In a doubleheader sweep by the Pittsburgh Pirates Sunday, Cubs pitchers yielded 29 hits and 13 walks. The Cubs hit into five double plays and did not run the bases with smarts.

"Isn't that something?" said Cubs manager Tom Trebelhorn, acknowledging that it puts him in a delicate position, "because it is a shortcoming I was supposed to address."

That's Trebelhorn. He tells it like it is. He's a nice guy. He smiles a lot, and he's heard all the Cubs stories. His club is 1-12 at home and it looks as if it's going to be another of those Cub years. He's aware that it is great sport to poke fun at the Cubs' shortcomings through the decades. Where were you the last time the Cubs reached the World Series?

Trebelhorn's brow furrows. He says the talk, "Doesn't bother me. It's like, `Oh, man. Give it a rest!' "

The reality, as Trebelhorn sees it, is this: "When we do well, there is an abnormal amount of euphoria for the Cubs. When we don't do well, an abnormal amount of depression sets in. Over the last 50 years we've had a little trouble getting to the Big Dance. That frustrates people who have been Cubs fans for 30, 40, 50 years. I get a lot of letters from them."

Nobody makes a career of managing the Cubs. Not in these tough times, anyhow. The club won 20 of its final 28 games in 1993 for only its third winning season since 1972, and even that wasn't good enough for Jim Lefebvre to survive. The Cubs were hopeful in spring training this year. The rotten start means Trebelhorn walks a fine line. That's how it is in baseball. The manager is given players to win with. If he doesn't win, he's handed his hat.

"It's a problem not to perform as well as you expect," Trebelhorn said. "It's a problem to be in the cellar (of the NL Central). It's certainly a problem to be 8-20 no matter who you are, where you are and what your contract status may be.

"It's also what this business is all about. You could be knowledgeable, hard working and intuitive - have all this going for you - but we are evaluated by wins and losses. …

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