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What Is It That Prevents The Cubs From Winning?

You’ll say it’s not having enough good players, and you’d be right. But with Dusty Baker — who brought the Cubs closer to the World Series than any manager since 1945 — coming to town, is there something else?

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Baker said he knows what he would do to change the culture and fortunes on the North Side — things he suggests he wasn’t allowed to do — but he’s not revealing the formula.

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‘’They didn’t want to hear them when I was there. Why would I want to tell them now?‘’ he said. ’’Ask me when I get through managing.’’

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Well, that’s cryptic. But others have also noticed:

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‘’I know when you’re struggling here it kind of snowballs to the effect of, ‘Here we go again,’ kind of,‘’ said veteran Xavier Nady, who was with the Yankees the last two seasons. ’’They have what, 27 championships, and whether it’s one last year or one a couple of years before, they feel like it’s always right there. In their minds, they always feel like they’re right in the hunt of things.’’

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Nady, however, says he doesn’t think that should be a perpetual hurdle for getting the job done.

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But does it create a different form of expectation or pressure?

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Alfonso Soriano, another former Yankee, said the desire to make history here becomes so great there’s a danger of pushing too hard when it gets close.

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‘’Sometimes when you try too much it gets crazy,’’ he said. ‘’Sometimes when you want it that bad it can make it worse.’’

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The answer? ‘’The key is to keep pushing,’’ he said.

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’’Let’s face it,‘’ pitcher Ted Lilly said, ’’there are pressures that go along with playing in this city, that I think we’re all lucky to be a part of.’’

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Every player and manager who comes here knows that if he is part of the Cubs team that does win it all, he will be legendary forever.

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But does that create too much pressure? Is it more than anyone can bear? Sometimes it seems so. How can they break this? It appears, at times, that no one has the answer.