The Chicago Cubs do not have an official mascot, but if you were to ask any Cubs fan they would say that Ernie Banks is the closest thing to a mascot for the Cubs than anything else related to the Cubs organization. The Chicago Cubs introduced a new Cubs license plate this week, and Banks was there for the announcement. Banks also talked about the 2011 Cubs with the Chicago Sports Guru. Here is a recap of what Banks had to say as the Cubs enter the 2011 season.
On the Cubs off-season moves…
"“They made a lot of good trades and we’ve got new leadership now, and everyone’s looking forward to getting to spring training and getting started, on with the season. We got some strong pitching, good defense and some hitters like Carlos Pena, who’s a very good ball player and we got our friend Kerry Wood back- a great relief pitcher and a fine person,” Banks stated. Chicago Now"
Unlike Banks, I don’t really think the Cubs got new leadership. Obviously, new Manager Mike Quade will be a different tune then what we were accustomed to from Lou Piniella. The thing that I think Quade will bring unlike Piniella, is accountability. As he alluded to multiple times in his appearances with the media, Quade will not be afraid to bench a veteran player if he feels someone on the bench deserves an opportunity. However, I do not think that the Cubs got any new leaders for their clubhouse. Ryan Dempster will still be recognized as the unofficial team captain, but they do no have many players like him. It will be interesting to see if Kerry Wood regains his status as a leader, as he did when he was previously with the Cubs.
On New Addition Matt Garza…
"“Everyone talks about his competitiveness, the way he throws, and he pitched a no-hitter. So we’re looking forward to having him and we’re looking forward to him being here,” Banks said. Chicago Now"
Banks essentially mirrors what most of the Cubs fan base is thinking about Matt Garza. A lot of times I think people take the wrong perception from Garza as his competitiveness at times makes it looks like he is too emotionally invested. I liken Garza to Carlos Quentin of the White Sox-albeit Garza is more quirky- because both of them have a passion for the game and succeeding, which sometimes may get overlooked.
On The Passing of Ron Santo
"“Most of all, we’re going to have a statue of my friend Ron Santo. Santo’s in heaven, so we’re going to win in ’11,” Banks exclaimed, evoking memories of his famous “the Cubs will shine in ’69” saying. Chicago Now"
I do not think I have met a Cubs fan who does not look forward to Bank’s sayings before each season. Hopefully the Cubs will be able to win in 2011 in honor of the late Ron Santo, who is in baseball heaven.