Tomorrow, Easter Sunday, the Chicago Cubs will lead the charge in the 2015 baseball season as they take on their long time rival St. Louis Cardinals. The bleachers might not be ready, Kris Bryant might be in Iowa (or where ever the Iowa Cubs are at the moment), but dammit, baseball, baseball is back baby; and now the games count.
While we had fun following the Cubs as they played their way through Spring Training, all those Bryant home runs were meaningless. So meaningless in fact that they were not enough to change Theo Epstein’s mind that he was going to start in the minors. After all, not once in his 13 years in baseball has he ever had a rookie open the season on the big roster. Of course, this decision disappointed Bryant, his agent Scott Boras, hoards of Cub fans around the world, reporters and some players, but that was, and still is the right decision for the Cubs future.
There are several reasons why Bryant was sent down, most importantly to get that seventh year of team control, but also for him to work on his defense and be retrained on how to play the outfield. Will he be able to fully accomplish either in two weeks? Probably not, but that still does not mean that sending him down for a couple of weeks was not the right decision. After all, if the Cubs cannot keep their heads above water without Bryant for two weeks at the start of the season, then the team is not good enough to get to the playoffs anyway; even with him on the team.
With or without Bryant, tomorrow is going to be an exciting day and an exciting game. Jon Lester will be on the mound facing the Cardinals, trying to out duel Adam Wainwright. I am not sure that I have ever been this excited about the start of a baseball season, other than maybe in 2004 when they were coming off an NLCS game seven loss, and had put together an amazing starting pitching staff.
This year though, the Cubs might have put together a team that is even more exciting than that of 11 years ago, and they have a manager who might be one of the best in the game in Joe Maddon.
Tomorrow cannot come soon enough. Let’s start off the season right. With a shot and a beer; as well as a win over the Cardinals. Much like Christ rose from the dead on Easter Sunday, the Cubs shall rise from mediocrity.