Lee leaves Cubs without championship

Lee leaves Cubs without championship

CHICAGO -- Derrek Lee begins a new phase of his life with the Braves on Friday. But in nearly seven seasons with the Cubs, he must have some inkling as to why the team hasn't won a World Series since 1908.

"I think, bottom line, it still comes down to getting the right group of guys together," Lee said Wednesday after he was dealt to the Braves for three Minor League pitchers. "You look at '08 and we had a great team. We just didn't play well at the right time."

That 2008 Cubs team won 97 games, posting the best record in the National League. But they went 0-3 in the playoffs, losing to the Dodgers.

"It's about putting the right team together and then playing good baseball at the right time for that four weeks in October or whatever it is," Lee said. "You start looking further than that and you make it more complicated than it needs to be."

Lee was on a World Series championship team in 2003, when the Marlins won it all. They beat the Cubs in the National League Championship Series to get there. Lee's heard about the Cubs' history. That could be the problem, too.

"Having to hear about losing, it kind of puts you in a negative environment, and I don't think that's conducive to winning," Lee said. "You want a little more positive energy going on.

"But I also think everyone understands that when they come here. That's what you're going to hear until the team wins. That's one of the enticing things about coming here. You want to be on that team that finally breaks the so-called curse."

If Lou Piniella had led the Cubs to the World Series, the city might have renamed Michigan Avenue after him. Instead of celebrating Piniella Parkway, he will retire after this season. Is it tough to win in Chicago when you only hear about losing?

"It's not easy," Piniella said. "It's not easy, to be honest with you. It's not easy."