This Valentine’s Day I am thinking of my first love. She breaks my heart – truthfully, on an annual basis. And she leaves me every fall, only to return in the spring claiming to have “made a lot of changes”.
You know her. It’s our Cubbies.
Let’s be honest. Is there any doubt that there are plenty of reasons NOT to look forward to the 2014 baseball as a Cub fan? It’ll be 106 years and counting by June, right? Most likely.
But there are plenty of reasons to feel the love for our very own “Lovable Losers”, too.
I love the fact that the Cubs have two rising stars of the game in Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo. When the Cubs are 20 games under .500 they make me want to tune in.
I love that they are both signed to be with the team until 2019 and 2020, respectively. Cornerstones? You bet.
I love that the Cubs are in the toughest division in baseball, a division coming off a season with three playoff teams. It means Cub games in September will most likely be meaningful to at least one of the teams on the diamond each day that month.
I love that the Cubs go into 2014 with a new closer in Jose Veras. Closers, in my opinion, almost get a free ride in their first year filling that role with a new team. How many times do you think one of us will say, “At least it’s not Marmol” or “At least it’s not Mitch Williams” this season?
Which reminds me, I love that “Wild Thing” is retired from the game – and that it’s been a while. In fact, if he’d just retire from his horrific work on the MLB Network we’d all be in a happier place. Seriously, he’s awful.
I love that we are still in the “rebuilding window” afforded to Theo Epstein and his crew when they came to town after the 2011 season. Once we’re outside that window we won’t be able to say things like, “We know he can do it because he did it in Boston.” Once we’re outside that window, all that hope Epstein brought to Chicago with him will be exactly that – out the window.
I love that Ryne Sandberg will get to manage at Wrigley Field this year – even if it is from the visitor’s dugout.
Even though the Cubs will be on or near the bottom most of the year, I love that my innate affection for this team will drive me to post the NL Central standings on a chalkboard in my kitchen each and every day of the season.
I love that I – and hundreds of thousands of others in “Cub Nation” – will not want to miss an inning this season. Not because the realist in us doesn’t really know the end script for the Cubs this year. Because when the Cubs are able to drop the word “losers” from their moniker, it will most likely happen in a season that, at this point, feels just like this one does. Every season does after 105 years.
I love that it only has to happen once. The year that it does happen, on Valentine’s Day, we will be once again searching for reasons to love our Cubbies.
Most of all, I love that we will never know when that year is until it’s here. It’s part of what makes the game so great – you never know.
You. Never. Know.