At 61-101, the Chicago Cubs amazingly weren’t the worst team in Major League Baseball last season. That honor went to the 55-107 Houston Astros, but since they are already on pace to finish this season 162-0, the With Leather Worst Team Watch is focused solely on the Cubbies for the time being. Wait, that’s not fair. Let’s throw the Miami Marlins, Colorado Rockies and Minnesota Twins in there, too, just so we have a little balance and wiggle room.
But team president Theo Epstein doesn’t want us counting the North Siders out just yet. And maybe, this blogger writes with a partially serious face, we should take the Cubs just a little more seriously this year. After all, people thought the ’67 Cubs would suck just like the 59-103 ’66 team did, and we all remember what happened with them right? Of course not, so remind us, Chicago Tribune.
Those ’67 Cubs led the National League with 702 runs, finishing 87-74 and breathing new life into the organization.
“That ’66 season was a transition year,” left fielder Billy Williams recalled. “After that, the young players all had another year under our belt, and we started to jell by ’67. Then, boom — there we go.”
Is it so far-fetched to believe that the Cubs could give the NL Central favorite Cincinnati Reds, the pesky comeback kid St. Louis Cardinals, the up-and-coming Pittsburgh Pirates or the usually-decent-enough Milwaukee Brewers a run for their money this year? Yes. But that’s not stopping Epstein from talking fans down from the ledge before the first mark is etched into the L column.
“We have a chance to be good this year,” he said. “There are some talented players here. We’re going to be better down the road than we are now. That’s just the bottom line.”
Keep your heads up, Cubs fans. And as always, remember your battle cry: “Maybe we’ll trade Alfonso Soriano this year.”