Baseball season is upon us! Well, actually it's just spring training, but it is so close that we can taste it. The unique smells of clean-cut bluegrass, chewing tobacco, and ballpark franks are in the air and frankly, baseball fans could not be more excited about it. After an extremely entertaining regular season and playoffs in 2015, the 2016 season is shaping up to be nothing short of spectacular. The season is set to start on Sunday April 3rd with a World Series rematch between the Mets and the 2015 World Series championship-winning Royals. Although the Mets and Royals are well equipped to have stellar seasons in 2016, many predict they will not reap the same success they enjoyed one year ago. In fact, many are predicting that a team founded in 1903 from Chicago will take home the trophy this year. This team and fan base, which has experienced Steve Bartman-size heartbreak year after year for 107 years, is ready for a championship. In 2016, Cubs fans, those who have known losing all their lives, will be able to rejoice and pop some champagne. Here’s why:
1. The Cubs made huge Offseason moves
The Cubbies were able to sign Outfielder Jason Heyward, Second Baseman Ben Zobrist and right-handed ace John Lackey this past offseason. Along with superstars like Kris Bryant, Jake Arrieta, and Jon Lester, the current Cubs roster is a powerhouse.
2. The NL Central will not be as competitive as at it has been in the past
Arguably the NL Central is the most competitive and exciting division in baseball. The St. Louis Cardinals are almost always a shoe-in to win the Central (they have done so 11 times) and the Pittsburgh Pirates as of late, behind the bat of Andrew Mccutchen, have been playing great baseball. However, this year there are more questions than answers with these two. The health of the Cardinal's best player, seven-time All-star Yadier Molina, is uncertain. The loss of A.J. Burnett to retirement, J.A. Happ and Charlie Morton to free agency presents serious issues for the Pittsburg Pirates. The Cubs will be able to take advantage of a less competitive division by winning more games and clinching home field advantage come playoff time.
3. The Cubs have Joe Maddon
If you are familiar with the game of baseball and great managers, then you surely know whom Joe Maddon is. The three-time manager of the year has already taken the Chicago Cubs from a team with a losing record (73-89 in 2015) to a National League Championship Series appearance in 2016. Not only is Maddon a winner and a fantastic manager, he is probably the funniest dude there is. During spring training, his antics are hysterical. He has hired a clown to come perform, a mime to come lead stretching and even allowed a man to jam out on a guitar for an entire practice! Recently, in an effort to keep his players loose, Maddon brought real bear cubs to practice. Who wouldn’t want to play for this guy?
4. The Cubs have nothing to lose and everything to gain
Let’s face it, the Cubs have not won a World Series Championship since 1908. Even if analysts, reporters and fans believe the Cubs have the best shot to win, it means absolutely nothing. What is of the utmost importance is what the players believe. For the first time in my lifetime, it seems that the Cubs organization believes in what they can achieve. For that reason, more than any other, I believe in the Chicago Cubs.