Chicago Cubs: 5 Things to Watch for During the Season
Opening Day is finally here.
Aside from the beautiful smell of fresh hot dogs and sausages simmering on an open fire, it is the mark of another calendar year where the Chicago Cubs have another shot at ending their 102 years of championship futility.
Every team is hopeful that this year is their year.
But for Chicago Cubs players and fans, this slogan has been said so much, that it has lost all of its meaning.
However, anything is possible in the crazy wild, wild, National League Central and if the Cubs can put it together, they could raise some eyebrows.
Here are the five things you should watch for during the Chicago Cubs 2011 season.
5. Alfonso Soriano
Soriano is getting his own category because there are so many story-lines that surround one player.
Will his knee's give out on him again this season?
Will he forget where the ball is?
Will he learn how to catch a fly ball?
Will he bat lead-off?
Will he bat sixth?
Will he bat seventh?
Will he bat third?
Where will he bat?
Will he get traded?
Will he play 162 games?
Will he stop looking at the fans in the left field bleachers?
So many questions for a player who at times, is one of the best Cubs hitters in their lineup.
4. Aramis Ramirez's Laziness
For every fan who watches Chicago Cubs games religiously, we all know Aramis Ramirez is a player you do not think of when the word, "Hustle," formulates in your head.
Fans were not too pleased with Ramirez's lack of concentration during games where at times it appeared he was sleeping over at third base.
To add insult to injury, Ramirez's zombie-like walks to first base also stirred criticism from the media and fans too.
This may very well be the last season Ramirez will sport a Chicago Cubs uniform, as he can opt out of his contract after the year is over, but he may be too lazy to even do that.
3. Second Base
I'm not sure things can get any uglier, but they can for the Chicago Cubs at second base.
It is going to be a carousel for the Cubs at second base and it will be a constant headache all-year long.
Jeff Baker is not the answer and Darwin Barney certainly isn't either.
2. Will Carlos Zambrano Lose His Cool?
During the off-season, Carlos Zambrano proclaimed his fiery attitude was cured from the mandatory anger management classes the Cubs had him go to.
Zambrano indicated he was a new and renovated man.
He explained how he felt embarrassed watching himself on television during the scuffle with former first baseman Derrek Lee, especially while his daughter was watching the game.
We have heard this story numerous times from Zambrano after he loses his steam, but a promising spring may suggest he did actually evolve into a mature player.
However, time will tell; an error here or a missed strike by an umpire there, will show if Zambrano is really cured.
After the Evanston native was named manger over a Hall of Fame inductee and the fan-favorite pick, the skepticism started to mount about Jim Hendry's decision.
Mike Quade has a lot to prove this season after not only winning over his players in September, but most importantly the management and ownership too.
Quade has to prove his team's performance in the last month-and-a-half under his watch was not just a mirage.
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