Hello again, everybody and happy Friday to you all.
We are inching closer and closer to pitchers and catchers, to full-squad workouts, and to every daily newspaper running an article about the local baseball team entitled “Hope Springs Eternal.” That article is then followed later in the week by “Such and Such team looks to Spring Forward” this year.
I wish Vegas would put odds on this. It is almost as sure of a thing as potholes in Chicago.
However, I am here to talk and about the Cubs and baseball, and as the magical day approaches, it time to get down it. That’s right folks, let’s get down to the brass tacks and get rambling.
- James Shields would have been nice, but the Cubs were right not to reach here. He has a high-inning count for his age. We don’t need a whole rotation of those.
- Also, and I know this sounds funny, but he only got $75 million. I thought he was getting $100+ guaranteed. I wonder who dropped the proverbial ball there.
- I was sitting in an airport recently while I overheard two men talking about Wrigley Field and the Cubs. One was a local Chicago guy, and the information he passed along to the non-Chicagoan was hilarious. The local was asked, “Aren’t they rebuilding Wrigley”?
- He responded, “Yea, but not sure what. They are doing something or other. I guess it should be done soon.” I laughed at how uneducated and disconnected he was.
- Then I got to thinking … is he in the wrong, or I am I just crazy. No need for any of you to answer that. I know I am a diehard, but I found it very surprising that a man who lived in the city, and seemed to know a little about sports, was so clueless to any details. This story is on the news and in the papers multiple times a week.
- The entire conversation surprised me, and it took a great deal of restraint not to pipe up and set the record straight, especially when both agreed no one at Wrigley actually watches the game.
- Here is my prediction: Cole Hamels will not be on the Cubs in June. And Kris Bryant will be on the Cubs in April … early April.
- You want Yoan Moncada on the Cubs? Sure! Why not? Let’s keep it going. Who doesn’t want another top-15 prospect? And I don’t care if we have too many shortstops or prospects. It’s a GREAT thing, not a problem.
- I saw Mike Olt’s name the other day in a well-timed snippet by Neil. Let’s hope a good deal of time out of the spotlight has helped him. Let’s hope he can get past his injuries and become the player many thought. Having too many good players is a good thing. Wait, am I repeating myself?
- Will both Travis Wood and Welington Castillo be traded? Will neither? Will one of them? If so, which one? My guess is Welington goes and Wood stays? What say you?
- Remember when Tom Ricketts was broke? Sorry, just can’t help myself sometimes.
- ONE WEEK FROM TODAY!!
- And now kids, it is time to get real. It is time to put the glass down. In fact, I want you to pour it out and rinse off the remnants of that Cubbie Kool-Aid. I am about to tell it like it is: The 2015 Chicago Cubs will be a .500 baseball team.
*Oh the horrific gasps are flying around the room*
- And guess what, that should be just good enough to be in the thick of things come September. And if the Cubs play one meaningful game in September, this season will be a success in my book.
- On September 1, 2014, the Pirates and Royals were five and seven games above .500 respectively. Now one year does not a trend make, but if the Cubs are .500 or just around that mark on September 1, it could get very interesting.
- And as Best Pal Stats, Inc. reminds us: The Cubs were 70-66 and 1.5 games out of first place on September 1, 2003. They were 69-65 and 1.5 games up on September 1, 2007.
- However, BPSI also wants to remind everyone the Cubs were 85-53 on September 1, 2008, but only 4.5 games up on the Brewers. What was I saying about one season not being a trend?
- The key is that being around .500 on September 1st means that a team is one hot month from the playoffs, which also can be described as “still being in it.” And that is all Cubs fans should be hoping for at this point … a chance for the post season on September 1st.
- Sorry, I should never tell anyone how to feel or think, but this is what I am telling myself.
- As the saying goes, you cannot win the pennant in April, but you sure can lose it. Well, if that is not the saying, the Cubs are proof that is should be. They were 12 games out by mid-May last year, and 9.5 games out by mid-May the prior year.
- A good start is what this team needs. A good start is what we, as fans should hope for. A good start heals what ails you. And a good start should make us feel hopeful.
There I go again telling you how to feel again, so I will stop now. This will be an interesting Spring Training and an even more interesting April, but fun times are ahead for the Cubs and their fans.
As for those horribly cliché baseball-article headlines above … I have used both, more than once. So I must now force myself to stop writing, and let you get on with your day, but not before I say:
And as always …
Stay Classy Cubs Fans!!