With pitchers and catchers reporting today, Spring Training is finally upon us. While the old saying is that “hope springs eternal”, I am noticing there is a lack of optimism with my fellow Chicago Cub fans. I honestly cant say that I blame them for feeling as they do though, because looking at what has transpired the past 16 months could get anyone down. We haven’t exactly had anything to get excited about recently.
In 2008, the Cubs had the best record in the National League, and were looking unstoppable. Until they were stopped by the Los Angeles Dodgers that is. After leading the league in wins, runs, and just about every other offensive statistic, the Dodgers dismantled them with ease. This was the beginning of the disappointment for Cub fans as everything seemed to be falling into place for them. However, they were swept out of the playoffs for the second straight season.
With the Sweep, Cubs Manager Lou Piniella felt that there needed to be some changes made. More specifically, he wanted to get more left handed in the batting order. Doing what any good General Manager should do, Jim Hendry gave Piniella exactly what he wanted. Unfortunately, that meant the departure of two fan favorites, Mark DeRosa and Kerry Wood. The changes also meant the arrival of Milton Bradley, who quickly became one of the most despised players in recent memory for most Cub fans. The 2009 Cubs eventually faded down the stretch and missed the playoffs.
Every Cub fans knows about those bleak memories, and that is what is obviously weighing them down. When you suffer through a massive disappointment to end one season, and that is followed by a season which is nothing but disappointing, why would you even consider getting excited about the new season. Nothing has taken place since the Cubs won the division in 2008 to give us any hope for the future.
However, that was then, and this is now. One year has nothing to do with another. While the team in 2010 is almost exactly like the team from last year, keep in mind that this years team is almost exactly like the team from 2008 as well. There haven’t been many serious changes to the core of the team since 2008. Outside of DeRosa and Wood, the main players have stayed the same. Whether or not we have upgraded at second base or closer is up for debate. Especially after watching how the two players performed for their new teams in 2009.
Over the next 48 days, or there about, I will go around the horn giving my thoughts and opinions on the Cubs at every position, including the bench and bullpen. I will start with the positions that are currently set in stone, and finish up with the ones where there may be a question as to who may or may not get the nod. This is done to give enough time for them to settle on who will have earned the starting gig, so I am able to give a better thought analysis. After all that is said and done, I will give my predictions for the year. Spring is here, and hope does spring eternal. With the new season, comes new hope, and a new dream. With the 2010 season, everything begins again.
The first player up will be the catcher, Geovany Soto.