We’re going to put on some rose-tinted glasses this morning. In spite of all the ill will the Chicago Cubs have generated between the Ricketts family bidding on a soccer team, failing to land Carlos Correa and lingering bitterness over last summer’s sell-off, all while the team made record profits, there’s something to be said about the fun factor this 2022 team brings.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you not to be furious or melancholic about what’s transpired with this organization. That’s fine. I’d be the biggest hypocrite in the room if did that. Rather, I merely want to offer some solace as Opening Day nears and we have a new team to watch. These Cubs are not the competitors of years past, but the personality and play coming together will make for some great moments at Wrigley.
The 2022 Cubs ooze personality and fun factor as an underdog
There’s been a real injection of life into the clubhouse with the big additions of Marcus Stroman and Seiya Suzuki, two big personalities that look to gel with the new-look Cubs. Stroman is unapologetically himself, fired up over every out and unafraid to speak up for what he believes in. Nobody will gas this team up like he can with supreme confidence that makes him a sparkplug within the clubhouse. He’s also really good, to boot, with a stellar 3.02 ERA last year.
Suzuki is exciting for so many reasons. For one, it’s hard not to get excited about the projections. If he’s even 75 percent as good as he was in the NPB, he’ll be All-Star caliber, but as he gets acclimated to MLB, he has the potential to blossom into a true five-tool superstar. He’s also just a good dude, making time for fans and meshing with the clubhouse through a good sense of humor. He’ll get top billing for many Cubs fans this year and for good reason.
Beyond those two, we have the team’s cult heroes of last year in Patrick Wisdom and Frank “The Tank” Schwindel, the latter of whom completely won over the city of Chicago with an insane second half and a childlike excitement to be playing good baseball. Truly, he’s a man of the people. Wisdom, meanwhile, hits MASSIVE dongs which is always fun. Seeing these two alongside fan-favorite Willson Contreras (hopefully) and the ever-charismatic Ian Happ will be a treat.
Looking at the rest, there are great stories to keep an eye on this season. The Clint Frazier hype is becoming real this spring as he looks to turn the page on his Yankees tenure. Local kid Michael Hermosillo is finally going to get a longer look in the outfield. We get to see the oddly compelling double-play tandem of Nico Hoerner and Nick Madrigal for the first time. Jonathan Villar adds some baserunning aggressiveness the Cubs had lost with the departure of a certain shortstop.
This is all before we even get to the obsessive Brennen Davis watch. Inevitably, the Cubs’ top prospect will arrive on the North Side and truly herald in a new era for the team. With him comes a massive amount of hype stoked through a meteoric rise through the minors and a showing of his prodigious power in spring training. His promotion, regardless of where the team is, will be a moment Cubs fans won’t want to miss.
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Really, these Cubs are our Diamond Dogs. They have the unenviable task of following one of the greatest cores in franchise history. They won’t shy from that though and through their unique personalities on and off the field along with their potential, they’ll prove themselves worthy of our attention. It’s hard to call them an on-paper contender, but this season will be a worthwhile ride, even if it doesn’t end in playoffs. Oh yeah, they basically bought a new bullpen too, so that’s cool.