Let's pump the fucking brakes a bit here.
I admire my colleague Rich's optimism about the Cubs this season, I really do. I think they've set themselves up for success. But after his glass half-full with puppies and rainbows outlook he posted on Monday, what better way for me to jump back into the Saloon with a cold dose of some god damn reality. The Cubs won't win the World Series this year. I'll say it. I'm not happy about that but sometimes reality isn't all free beer and nachos.
Last season was amazing, but holy shit did we outkick our coverage when it came to expectations. Our team got hot at the right time and was fueled by a tremendous youth movement and a starting pitcher that had the best second half of a season literally ever. But youth run into hiccups along the way. And it's pretty damn hard to follow up perfection by pitching.... more perfect?
But that's not the only thing. Here's some other reasons sure to ruin your morning coffee.
1. The Cardinals are still unfortunately the Cardinals, which means they're good.
This is a team that won 100 games last year when their roster was scotch taped together for long stretches. Yeah they lost Jason Heyward (Where did he go? I haven't heard anything about that.) and Lance Lynn. But the rest of that team is still very much in tact and is ran by, I hate to say it, pretty smart baseball people. As much as we can dream about World Series rings, let's think about maybe winning our damn division first and it's gonna require getting through these assholes.
2. The Pirates are also good.
I mean..... I uh..... BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I'm sorry. Fuck the Pirates, Whatever bullshit Satan pact they made to do this well has to be expiring soon. Their outfield is a solid trio of dudes and Gerrit Cole certainly has Cy Young qualities. But we're talking about an infield that offensively scares nobody, and their upper management still act like shade-tree mechanics, making upgrades with scraps they found rather than actually spending money on talent. Sorry Pittsburgh, your door is closing fast.
3. Following up a great season hasn't been our strong suit.
Hey remember this?
That's right. The last time we had back to back postseasons was also the last time we won a god damn World Series. I know, I know, "but this time it's different." Folks, every time it's different. 1989 we had a nice looking youth movement. Mark Grace, Greg Maddux, and two guys that actually both were in the running for Rookie of the Year in Jerome Walton and Dwight Smith. Is it an apples to apples comparison to now? Of course not. But even the best laid plans... something something, I didn't read much in high school.
"Remember that season everyone stayed healthy? Man that was great, right?"
Amazingly you could probably say that about last season with the Cubs. But the fact remains, dudes get hurt, and it's important to have the depth to cover that. Do we have that? If Arrieta or Lester went down and missed a month, how confident are you in the rotation filling the gap? If Addison Russell tears something in his leg, are you feeling good about Javy Baez jumping in and covering short with no problem? If David Ross can't play any more... wait. Not everything would be bad.
I'm not trying to be pessimistic here, I'm trying to be pragmatic. I love the Cubs and some day if they win a World Series I'll probably laugh, cry, and piss my pants all at the same time. I'll be an embarrassing heap of human being and the Terrible Cubs Wife will probably disavow any relationship she has with me, if just for a little bit. I guess I just want to sit back and enjoy this ride. This team is good. I know they are. You know they are. My god damn dog knows they are and she doesn't give a shit about much of anything these days. I don't need to anoint them the champs to be confident in their chances. Let Yankee fans play that nonsense game. Hell I don't even like my original claim that they won't win the World Series this year. The fact is I don't know. I can definitively tell you that I don't know what they'll do this year.
How's that for going all in? Yeah, I was never much of a gambler anyway.