Thursday, April 1, 2010
And what better way to usher in the new season than with a Sunday Night Baseball match up on ESPN of the New York Yankees going up to Fenway Park to challenge their bitter rivals the Boston Red Sox. While this match up makes all baseball fans salivate, and while my nose will be buried in the television set during this classic match up, my mind wanders to the NL Central to my beloved Cubs and their expectations for the 2010 season.
As an avid Cubs fan, you can assume that my anxiousness for the season to start is bittersweet: seeing as how they haven't won a World Series in over a century, the anticipation is lukewarm for success. However, there is something about this time of year...you've got your Final Four, you've got your NFL draft, you've got your NBA playoffs, you've got your Masters, you've got your first pitch...you've got EVERYTHING.
I've had my nose in all things Cubs. Ask me what's going on with other teams and I wouldn't dare speak on it because I don't want to sound like a moron. However the general consensus is that the Cubs will be lucky to come in 3rd in the NL Central. Now, while it pains me to say this, I can openly admit that the Cardinals seem to be the team to beat in the division; but don't count the Cubs out just yet; Carlos Marmol's performance this year in the closer spot is directly reflective of the way this season will turn out. Yes our bullpen is young, but if Marmol can effectively close games out like he has the capability to do, I feel as though the Cubs' offense can lead us to 88-90 wins. They are (For the most part) healthy and the starting rotation is, while not stellar, solid. Randy Wells is set to have an outstanding year and in my opinion, become the ace of the team.
Are there any superstars left on this team? If Soriano can return to form (Rangers form) and Derek Lee can continue to be the consistent hitter they need in the 3 spot, I feel as though the Cubs can compete for the NL lead in runs scored this year, and Lou Pinella reiterates this sentiment, knowing that the key to fighting for a playoff spot lies in the teams ability to manufacture runs.
This is going to be a long season. These aren't your '08 Cubs, and if this team has a shot, it's going to be in its physicality and its relentless hustle.
The city of Chicago has been waiting. Expectations are low, and now it the perfect time to surprise the baseball world. The realist in me predicts the Cubs will miss the playoffs, the optimist predicts a wild card birth and possibly a trip to the NL Championship series.
The miraclist in me...well, I won't even say it...
Enjoy the season everyone. Play ball.