Thursday, April 20, 2006

Tough Break for Cubs

I have a confession to make. I used to be a Cubs fan. I never liked them more than the Sox, but I did root for them in 84 and 89. A combination of things happened in the nineties - interleague play, the glorification of Sosa who pretty much represents everything I don't like in a baseball player, and the rude dismissal of Mark Grace, one of my favorite players - that turned me into a Cubs hater.

But the current team is hard to dislike. They seem like a nice bunch of guys and for the most part they play the game the right way. I even started to feel kind of sorry for Cub fans when the Tribune Company was too cheap to make the necessary moves to take control of their division this offseason.

They still had a decent chance to make the postseason with a good offense, a revamped bullpen, and a potentially good starting rotation (if Prior, Wood and Miller could contribute). But now Derek Lee is out for 8-10 weeks and their playoff chances just took a big hit. It has to be rough for Cubs fans right now and my sympathies are with them.

I still wouldn't count them out. Walker can move to first while Hairston takes over at second. They can be productive enough for the Cubs stay above .500 until Lee comes back in July. I think the bigger worry is whether Lee will be the same hitter when he returns. The Cubs just spent $65 million on Lee and they better hope that wrist is able to get back to 100%.