What should be the Cubs’ New Year Resolutions?
How many of you woke us this morning and said to yourself, ‘Could this be the year?’ I did and have done that every New Year’s Day for as long as I can remember. Could this be the year the drought ends? My heart says yes, but my mind has doubts. Do I remain an optimist or remain a realist? These are the questions that I would imagine most of the Cubs Faithful have battled with this off-season. The New Year is a time to ‘start over’, we all know this but before we move forward and let go of 2005, I would like to look back at 2005 and look at what the Cubs can build on from last season to make the ultimate goal a reality in 2006.
2005 was a year full of many disappointments but the biggest disappointment had to be the health of the pitching staff. The Cubs pitching staff was supposed to be the best in the game for the past two seasons. The pitching staff has not lived up, or even come close, to the expectations that were set in 2003. All of the injuries in 2005 and all of the change in the staff that left Mesa could pay HUGE dividends in 2006. Yes the bullpen stunk, but most of the guys that started the year in the pen, did not finish there. Dusty had to use a lot of young guys like Michael Wuertz and Roberto Novoa that could benefit the team and the starting rotation in 2006. The Cubs found a closer in Ryan Dempster and Scott Williamson should be a factor this season. The Cubs added depth in the off-season and any improvements could lead to the starting rotation being more effective and less injury prone in 2006. The Cubs have not had a bullpen they could trust in years and Dusty has over used his starters the past 3 seasons; an improved bullpen could go a long way to 2006 being a successful year on the Northside.
Derrek Lee emerged as one of the best players in baseball in 2005. Hopefully with the addition of Juan Pierre both Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez can set new career highs for RBI’s in 2006. The team with the best batting average in 2005 must improve on its OBP in order to be successful. Ronny Cedeno and Matt Murton showed a lot of patience at the plate and if given playing time could help the Cubs improve on the fundamentals this team has lacked for the past 2 seasons. For me personally, I wish Nomar could have stayed for one more season so the Cubs Faithful could have gotten a chance to see him play….just not put on the uniform.
For years it has been ‘Wait Until Next Year’, well today is the New Year and another fresh start for the Cubs….how will they respond? In 2003 it was ‘In Dusty We Trusty’….could the ‘Cubs Get Their Series Fix in ’06’….98 years is long enough.
Happy New Year!!!