Cubs face low expectations, Sox boast strong rotation
By S.C. Zuba
Baseball season is here.
It has been a long, cold winter in Illinois, and the weather is finally beginning to turn around. The snow has melted, the trees are beginning to bloom, and it finally feels like spring.
There is nothing quite like the start of spring—or the start of baseball season, for that matter. Baseball fans in Rockford will finally get to make the trip down I-90 to either Clark and Addison, or 35th Street, or for some, up to Milwaukee to cheer on their favorite team.
So, what will this 2010 baseball season hold for fans in Chicago?
For the Cubs, expectations are lower than they have been in years, and that might be a good thing for this struggling ball club. Before the start of the 2009 season, experts had the Cubs winning the NL Central division by more than 10 games. The sad reality was the Cubs ended up losing the division to the St. Louis Cardinals by 7 1/2 games. With lower expectations, a great deal of pressure will be taken off Lou Piniella and the Cubs.
This season, the Cubs will go as their ace, Carlos Zambrano, goes. Reports indicate Zambrano has shed his old ways (along with a few extra pounds) and is looking forward to regaining his dominance on the mound—and maybe even having a positive attitude in the clubhouse. However, whether Zambrano is telling the truth remains to be seen.
For the Cubs to have success, Zambrano needs to lead his team. He is the franchise right now. As sad as that may sound, the Cubs will go as Zambrano goes.
Traveling about 10 miles south on I-90, reside the Chicago White Sox.
This will most definitely be an interesting year for the South Siders. Their starting rotation is the best it has been in years—probably the best since 2005, when their pitching carried them to an 11-1 postseason record and ultimately a World Series championship.
With their pitching locked up, the Sox look to be serious contenders in the AL Central. After what seemed to be their toughest competition, the Minnesota Twins, lost their closer, Joe Nathan, to a season-ending injury in spring training, the Sox are poised to take the AL Central crown.
Baseball is tricky a sport to predict—it’s a long, 162-game season, and with injuries, anything can happen.
One thing is for sure, though, baseball season is here, and it is about time.
Share your thoughts with S.C. Zuba via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the April 7-13, 2010 issue
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