As much as I would love to…I can’t bring myself to pick my favorite baseball team to win the 2016 World Series. It would be the first title since 1908.
That’s right. I am a Chicago Cubs fan!
I know what you’re thinking. How does a guy from South Carolina (whose only experience with the Windy City are delays at Midway Airport) get to love the Cubbies?
The answer is simple. I like baseball..but in Charleston..the only teams you would regularly see on cable were the Atlanta Braves (on Superstation WTBS) and The Cubs (on Superstation WGN). The late Harry Caray called Cubs games. Harry’s son, the late Skip Caray, called Braves games. Quite honestly, I liked Harry more than I liked Skip. In my eyes, who wouldn’t have?
So I became a Cubs fan. I like a Bud every once in a while, too.
Before last season…when the Cubs hired former Tampa Bay skipper Joe Maddon to lead the team, I said..if he sticks around..it will be about four or five years before they contend. But they won…and kept winning. They finished with the third best record in baseball.
Surely..that was a good enough first season for Maddon.
It wasn’t. And don’t call me Shirley.
They vanquished the Pittsburgh Pirates (who had the Majors’ 2nd best record) in the Wild Card Game. Then polished off arch nemesis St. Louis in the divisional series. The Cardinals finished the season with the best record in the bigs.
Only a New York Mets buzz saw stopped the Cubbies from reaching the Series.
Turn the page to 2016…and expectations are high. Names like (Cy Young winner) Jake Arrieta, (Rookie of the Year) Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Schwarber, Jon Lester and new additions Ben Zobrist (from the World Champion Royals) and Jason Heyward (formerly of the Cardinals) give hope that this will be the year.
Already this year…some adversity. Schwarber has been lost for the season injuring his ACL and LCL in an outfield collision. Ouch!
But the usual early-season joke — about the Cubs already being mathematically eliminated from the playoffs — isn’t being heard. Hope is running rampant in Chicago.
But I still can’t pick them to win it all.
Oh but if they do! One of these flags that fly after Cobs victories at home..and sometimes away..will find a spot in my office.
I can dream…can’t I?