That line is a lot shorter than it used to be.

Almost six years to the day I impulsively signed up to be on the Cubs Season Ticket Waiting List my number has been called—and I couldn’t be less excited. The Cubs were coming off a disappointing 2006 campaign, finishing last in the Central with 66 wins, seventeen and a half games back. But the exodus of Dusty Baker and his trusty wristbands (along with his mediocre 322-326 record) coupled with the hiring of Lou Piniella and huge signing of Alfonso Soriano renewed the hopes of Cubs fans everywhere—including myself.

I was somewhere around 200,000th on the list when I signed up so it was more of a joke than anything.  The line didn’t move a whole lot after consecutive—albeit horrendous—playoff appearances under Lou, so I pretty much forgot about it.

But the slow slide down to 101 losses this year and little promise of contention in 2013 has shaken the resolve of even the heartiest of Cubs faithful.  And now suddenly the gates have been flung wide open for a new generation of followers to be a part of history?  That’s going to be a tough sell.

I have to admit the compelling subject line of the email the Cubs send me this morning “Cubs Season Ticket Waiting List Update — Your Wait is Over” piqued my interest. They congratulated me on receiving their “invitation to participate in the next Chicago Cubs Season Ticket Holder Waiting List Event!” Well, thank you. Reading further I learned my “assigned appointment time based on my Waiting List number is Saturday, January 12, at 12:30 p.m.” You guys did that just for me?  You shouldn’t have.

Then it got interesting:

“Chicago Cubs Season Ticket Holders who received an invoice to renew their seats for the 2013 season had until November 12 to respond to purchase seats for 2013. Returning Chicago Cubs Season Ticket Holders had the opportunity, through Saturday, December 1, to relocate and upgrade into seating locations that were not renewed. After December 1, we identified Season Ticket inventory for individuals at the top of our Season Ticket Waiting List. Based on your place near the top of our Season Ticket Waiting List, we hope to have seating locations to offer you and would like to invite you to view and select available Season Ticket locations at Wrigley Field Saturday, January 12.”

Wow, I’m at the top of their list?!  Well, not really. As of today I’m actually still 14,097th.  That got me to thinking—they’ve sent this same e-mail out to at least 14,000 people who follow the Cubs enough to put their name on a waiting list—times must be getting really tough at Clark & Addison. The Cubs don’t release their season ticket base number, but it’s estimated to be about 25,000 so we can deduce that a majority of former holders must have opted not to renew their tickets this year. And who can blame them?  It’s obviously not difficult to get a ticket anymore as evidenced by the number of empty seats at most games and the ridiculously low prices Cubs tickets garner on StubHub these days.

So why would anyone pay full price for every game before the season starts?  Along with some ancillary bullshit like a free subscription to Vine Line and a mysterious “exclusive” gift, Theo & Co’s best answer to that is their Postseason Ticket Guarantee.  Well guys, in case you haven’t noticed, your product on the field isn’t close to making the postseason this year.  But I’ll tell you what: I’ll come see you on January 12th and let you sell me on the idea.