Over the past two rollercoaster decades, perhaps no one has witnessed the Cubs' operations as closely as Cubs WGN radio broadcaster Pat Hughes.
Hughes, entering his 17th season in the booth, spoke about his thoughts on the upcoming 2012 season.
In a phone interview conducted last week, the veteran broadcaster voiced his approval of Theo Epstein and Co.'s moves during the offseason:
"So far so good. But the real test will come once the games start in April. It's one thing to make changes, but you never know how the changes will work out until the games begin."
Hughes particularly discussed the December 21st trade that sent Sean Marshall to the Reds for pitcher Travis Wood and others.
"On the surface right now, it looks like Cincinnati got the best deal because Marshall is a proven pitcher, one of the best ones we've had in recent years. But in years to come, it might be that the Cubs got the better deal because they got a younger player in Travis Wood, and Marshall is going to be a free agent next year."
That's the key words, Cubs fans, and it always has been... NEXT year! Only after a few years will we be able to tell how effective Theo-logy really is. The consensus around Cubbie Nation seems to favor a mediocre season on the North Side, with the Cubs coming into playoff and championship contention in the next two to three years.
"With any trade, you have to give it a little time."
Hughes went on to address his opinions on possible changes to Wrigley Field:
"I think the experience is already pretty special. It's quite a remarkable atmosphere. Any ballpark will eventually fall apart and you need to keep it safe. Ball clubs do whatever they can to raise revenue and compete with other teams, and that's just what they're doing."
Just one of the many things I love about Pat: he isn't afraid to speak his mind. In a sports society where athletes and employees are regularly fined for saying how they feel about franchise decisions, it is refreshing to hear unrehearsed thoughts about a team's operations. Though those weren't exactly rebellious comments coming from Mr. Hughes, it also wasn't the usual "Insert line here."
In a time where the future of the Cubs organization remains a mystery, Cubs fans have to be patient. Although I personally feel that the Cubs still have a chance to contend in the division thanks to the departures of Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols, the Cubs are still a few years away from being a championship contender.
As Pat always says, "Fasten those seat belts, Cubs fans!" It's time for another season of unpredictable and emotional Cubs baseball.
Jason Parini is a Contributor for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand or from official interview materials.