Sometimes we get so caught up in the day-to-day grind of the baseball season and we forget what it is supposed to be all about, having fun. This is true of players, fans, and most importantly unpaid professional bloggers. As such, I present the results of a group text gone sideways: the bottom third of the Cubs lineup this season as the kids from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.
This will relate to the 1971 film starring Gene Wilder. Like most people in 2019, I’ve chosen to mostly ignore Johnny Depp (sorry cuz), and his version of the story is no exception. For those who need a refresher: There’s a weird dude who runs a chocolate factory who hasn’t stepped outside for years, nor let anyone in. He suddenly decides he’s gonna let five random people inside by putting gold tickets in five candy bar wrappers as entry tickets. A flurry of sales and global pandemonium, that could only be described as the original Black Friday, takes over and we are left with four pheasants and a nice boy completely out of his element ready to enter the lair of a madman. They are Augustus Gloop, Violet Beauregarde, Veruca Salt, Mike Teavee, and Charlie Bucket.
Augustus Gloop – Carlos Gonzalez
Gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins for a reason. On the screen, young Augustus was a boy with a pre-hibernation bear sized appetite. Not overtly bad per se, but his focus on feasting ultimately led to his demise. He was so focused on the chocolate river in front of him that he couldn’t see the forest for the trees, and was lost to the abyss. In a way, Cargo had a similar fate. His Cubs career got off to a resounding start; big plays in the field, big hits…but similarly it was all for naught. Barely a month after signing with the Cubs, Carlos Gonzalez found himself pulled into the great chocolate river, and like Augustus he’s stuck in that pipe, waiting for the next team to pull him free.
Violet Beauregarde – Albert Almora
Violet is a pretty likable kid when it comes down to it, quirky with all that gum chewing, but not bad. She loves chewing gum more than anything, it’s her skillset and when she steps outside of it her value falls precipitously. Like when you take the leather glove off of Almora’s left hand. In Beauregarde’s case, her love came back to bite her in the bumby, as it was a three-course meal piece of gum that caused her to balloon into a giant blueberry and to be rolled away like an old tractor tire. Please, Albert, don’t run through a wall and end up the same way.
Veruca Salt – Addison Russell
Veruca Salt did not make a lot of friends, and who’s surprised by that. She’s conceited, self-centered, has an air of superiority and treats others like trash. It’s not apples-to-apples with Russell and her, but let’s just say he came into 2019 with a lot to prove, and most would argue it’s worse now than it was. Veruca Salt was also the only kid who’s fate wasn’t sealed by eating something against the phoned-in warnings of Willy Wonka. She stepped on a scale that could tell a good egg from bad and was promptly dropped in the trash shoot. Interesting.
Mike Teavee – Daniel Descalso
Mike Teavee was a curious character. He didn’t do much, and still, when it was all said and done there he was, just moseying around. Not unlike Daniel Descalso, honestly. Nothing against either of them, but I don’t know what they do, and I don’t know why they lasted as long as they did.
Charlie Bucket – Robel Garcia
At last, we arrive at our defacto hero of the story, Charlie Bucket. A young man in dire straights. To say luck was not on his side would be a gross understatement. When all hope of a future filled with chocolate is lost, he reaches into the gutter and unearths a glimmering coin. Foolishly spending that lone coin on candy, he hits the jackpot and finds the final golden ticket. Occasionally life reflects art, and our man Robel Garcia is the proof in the pudding. Coming from the Italian league he is the feel-good story you hope to get and want to root for. He’s still riding the high, and if you asked me, it sure looked like his bat was full of Fizzy Lifting Drink when he popped that ball into McCovey Cove. Speaking of Charlie, he wasn’t alone at the Wonka factory…
Grandpa Joe – Joe Maddon
I mean, are you surprised to see this? It was only natural we’d end up here. Joe Maddon is funny and highly quotable, just like Grandpa Joe dancing through the factory. But with the bottom third of the Cubs lineup this year Maddon has been as useless as Grandpa Joe was for those 20 years he spent bedridden. Sometimes you have to point blame at the man with the finger on the button.
Willy Wonka – Theo Epstein
Arthur Slugworth – Jed Hoyer
In Wonka we trust. The man can do no wrong. Seclude yourself for years? Eccentric. Import an army of bizarre humans and put them to work in hazardous conditions at no pay but the absence of Wangdoodles and Vermicious Knids? Business savvy. Trade away Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease for… whoops, blurred the line between the two. The fact remains that at the end of the day, it’s Theo’s chocolate factory and the product, good or bad, falls on him. As for old Slugworth, it turned out that in the end, he was really just an underling of Wonka the whole time named Mr. Wilkinson so yeah, Jed Hoyer.
I hope you enjoyed it. In all likelihood On Tap Sports Net will have the presence of mind to never let me off the leash again. Go Cubs!
Featured Photo: Warner Bros. Entertainment