Monday, March 31, 2008

Common Threads

The Chicago Cubs start another season today. This season will be something special. The 2008 season will share something with only a few other seasons. High expectations.

In most seasons, smart Cub fans approach the season hoping to see something fun but not really having any plans for success beyond finding a seat at Guthrie's Pub post-game.

Once in a while, a team comes along that we all expect to do well. Included in that list would be 1985 and 2004. That's about it. Ok, you might get 1970 as well, but that's really it.

As has been noted in many places, this team that takes the field today is markedly improved from the team that took the field a year ago simply because of the players that are no longer with the team. If you have a team that wins a division and you can replace Cliff Floyd, Ceasar Izturis, Jacque Jones and Michael Barrett, you are a better team. Say hello to the 2008 Cubs.

Now, if you look at the common years, you also will note another thing. The 1985 and 2004 teams all underperformed. Will this team? HARd to say. Lou Piniella inspires a great deal of confidence. Sam Zell's willingness to open his pocket book and $650 million debt payment due December 4th suggests he will do what he can to maximize that value of the team by spending more money. And Jim Hendry is a good in-season general manager.

Expecting a division championship is something every fan should do, Kool-Aide drinker or bitter realist. Now, if only the 2008 edition will not live up to their compatriots.

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