A little bit about me. I am 28, born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago. Growing up in Chicago, I have had the privilege of having two professional baseball teams right in my backyard to follow all season long. To set the record straight, I am a big supporter of the Chicago Cubs. (The finger pointing and laughing can begin.) Coming from a Cub family, they are the team I grew up with, and they are the team on my credit card. As a side note, it is so much fun using that thing at the South Side park for the in game hot dogs and drinks.
Obviously, I have never seen a Chicago Cubs World Series Championship. Putting it gently, it has been a really long time since they have won one. Instead of looking at 100 plus years without a title, Cub fans need to look at it like celebrating birthdays. We all reach that age where we just do not want to count the numbers anymore. But it will happen eventually, honest. The reason being quite simply is summed up by the word Theology.
I have a t-shirt that reads Theology: The field of study and analysis to build a world championship baseball team at Clark and Addison. It is in honor of the current Team President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein. Mr. Epstein is entering his second season on the North Side. Season number one was not always the prettiest on the surface, but the way Theo works, you always have to look deeper. I have followed Theo since his early days in Boston. In the end, he brought the Red Sox two championships, and before he vanishes, he will raise a banner at the Friendly Confines as well, and that is not just crazy talk. Theo is a baseball Jedi ninja.
The 2012 Cub’s season was not the best. They flirted with setting the record for most losses in a season by a Cubs team, and if it were not for the Houston Astros, things could have been a lot worse. Sadly, the Astros are gone now. But the true season was never about wins and losses; it was about building a plan and foundation for the next few years. It was the start of a culture makeover. That type of talk is foreign around these parts. The Cubs have never really had a great farm system. Theo and his crew are changing that. They are using words like develop and growing talent. Jed Hoyer is a good General Manager. Dale Sveum is a good baseball guy, and on down the line the culture is changing.
While the Cubs the last two seasons have not signed the big time Free Agent, like an Albert Pujols, or Josh Hamilton they have made some ninja moves that are helping the process along. Last season they made a trade for first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo will be a star, and has a great chance at starting the All-Star game this July. This year, they nearly had Anibal Sanchez, but instead signed starting pitcher Edwin Jackson. Having a pitching background myself, Jackson has a make up about him that is solid. Yes, he will have a few stinkers but he will also have games that will make him look awesome. Jackson will be a phenomenal compliment to pitchers Matt Garza and Jeff Samardzija.
In addition, Ninja Theo made a great draft pick in outfielder Albert Almora and signed another young outfielder out of Cuba Jorge Soler. The two kids crushed the ball in their first year in the organization. The next division championship the Wrigley faithful will celebrate will have the starting outfield of Soler, Almora, and Brett Jackson which is very promising.
All of a sudden, the Cubs have actual young talent. The prospect list looks very good, and this will all compliment the arguable face of the team, shortstop Starlin Castro. Castro is a young Derek Jeter just scratching the surface of his prime. I just ask that he is in that Cubbie blue for the next decade or more.
I was at the 2012 Cubs Convention when Theo was first introduced. I got goose bumps hearing the overcrowded room chant Theo, Theo. While, Epstein has a history of making head scratching trades and signings, he also gives a city and Cub faithful a bounce in their step and belief. While the product on the field ultimately will decide wins and losses, changes are being made to the ballpark and surroundings as well. Wrigleyville has proposed renovations that will make it seem like the park is actually in the 21st century.
By no means will the Cubs be confused with the 1961 Yankees or even the 2004 Red Sox but they will be better. If healthy, they will be in the hunt for one of the 2013 wild card spots. On the horizon, if the plan continues on course they will be contending for much more. The future is promising on the North Side of Chicago. Theo Epstein is changing a culture one calculated move at a time. It is a very difficult thing to have, but Cub Nation needs to have a few more summers of patients and let Theo work his ninja magic.
Patience is a virtue, and it will pay off soon for the Friendly Confines. Spread the word, within the next few summers, Cub fans will have one heck of a birthday bash!