It’s almost baseball time in the Windy City and, as an admitted Cubs fan who drove by Wrigley Field every morning on my way to middle school, no matter how disappointing last season was, it is always overshadowed by the excitement of the season to come.
We all remember what happened the last two seasons, after battling it out in the surprisingly good NL central, the Cubs came out on top, only to be man-handled in '07 and '08 playoffs, by the D-backs and Dodgers respectively. But it’s 2009 and the Cubs have a new secret weapon…swagger.
Beyond just batting averages and bullpens, anyone who has ever played baseball knows that it is a game of confidence. And as much as I respect guys like Derek Lee, Ryan Dempster, Kosuke Fukudome, and Geovany Soto, they don’t always seem to have that fearlessness, which wins championships.
Now I am not saying that every player on a team should be brash and bold, but I am saying that the addition of guys like Milton Bradley, who would wrestle a Rhinoceros if it looked at him the wrong way, and Joey Gathright, who has to worry about putting himself into orbit when he jumps up for a fly ball, have the swagger and hunger of guys that wear big obnoxious diamond rings that say “World Champions.”
Be afraid NL Central, the Cubs are better than ever before.
The one thing I am interested in most is how General Piniella will deal with this leadoff man situation. I’m going to let the Eli Wallach classic western film help me with this one…
The Good: The Cubs now have three legitimate leadoff men in Gathright, Theriot, and Fukudome.
The Bad: None of them will leadoff because of Alfonso Soriano and his big ego.
The Ugly: Wannabe leadoff man Derek Lee, with his .291 batting average, 181 hits, and a meek 20 home runs, needs to stop hitting into double plays and be a legitimate three hitter.
Okay, so fan favorite Mark DeRosa will be missed, but you can’t tell me that Mike Fontenot, the pride and joy of Louisiana state baseball, hasn’t spent two years dieing to see everyday action. Furthermore, the Cubs Micah Haufpauir, reigning AAA MVP, is a legitimate future all-star.
This is how I see the line-up shaking down:
Oh I almost forgot, how about the resigning of Paul “the brickwall” Bako behind the plate?