Determining the “Face of the Franchise” for a team can be really tough, especially when that team is disinterested in giving players long-term extensions.
In the last decade, it’s looked like the Cubs may have had candidates for that title with Starlin Castro, the 2016 team had the Bryzzo connection, and even more recently they chose to back up the Brinks truck for Yu Darvish only to see those players move on to other organizations.
This might not come as a huge surprise considering the amount that we’ve discussed Crow-Armstrong’s importance to this team in 2024 and beyond, but he’s being mentioned on the same list as players like MLB The Show cover athlete, Vlad Guerrero Jr. of the Blue Jays and newly loaded shortstop, Bobby Witt Jr. of the Royals. Not bad company.
The point that I would argue though is that while Crow-Armstrong could be a special player, there are other players that align to what fans in Chicago like to see more than he does.
Many fans still remember the hype and expectation associated with the great pitchers that have been on the Northside in the last twenty years:
Kerry Wood struck out 20 Astros. Mark Prior was the second overall pick in the draft. Bobby Brownlie was supposed to pair with Prior to form a 1-2 punch. Carlos Zambrano was always willing to literally 1-2 punch someone.
Beyond pitching, Chicago loves power.
Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, Kyle Schwarber, and even Jorge Soler all had light-tower power (literally in the case of Schwarber) and that is one of the most beloved teams in recent memory.
Aside from that team, the 2008 squad had guys like Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano, and Geovany Soto who all enjoyed a good dinger as well, and that doesn’t even mention one of the greatest power hitters of all time: Sammy Sosa.
So what about a power hitter? Someone like Christopher Morel who has already endeared himself to fans and shown some improvements at the plate (if not in the field), or even someone like Owen Caissie?
I understand why Pete Crow-Armstrong would be the choice for the face of the Cubs moving forward. However, even if we remove the fact that, much like a Real Housewife of wherever, the Cubs seem unwilling to keep the same face around for more than five years at a time, I think there are other options to represent this team going forward.