Wait ‘Til Next Year…..Or The Next

With Spring Training now fully underway, we are inching closer and closer to Opening Day. For us who love baseball, there may not be a better day of the year than Opening Day. It is a day of new hope (especially for Cubs fans) and total optimism. However, Opening Day on the North Side this year is going to feel a little different than it has in recent years past.

Cubs fans never expect the Cubs to win the World Series, but in the back of our minds, we always believe they might be able to pull it off. This year I think it is fair to say that we have no hope whatsoever. Since bringing in Theo and Jed Hoyer, the Cubs MLB roster has been pretty well dismantled. We’ve seen Marshall get traded to the Reds, Zambrano to the “new look” Marlins, Ramirez has signed with one of our biggest rivals up in Cheeseland, as well as a handful of other moves. In recent years, us Cubs fans have gotten used to them spending a lot of money in the off-season to try and build a team that could win it all that year. This off-season has been the first one of its sorts in a long time. A complete overhaul of the team. As disappointed as I am that the Cubs will have no chance this year, I am still looking on the bright side of things.

Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer brought 2 World Series titles to Boston in a span of 4 years after the Red Sox had gone since 1918 without winning one. This gives me total confidence in them, at least for now, that they know what they are doing in trading away half of last year’s roster. It might take 2-3 years until they put a winning team on the field, but when they do, we can be certain that Epstein and Hoyer will have done everything in their power to make it a World Series caliber team. Yes, they obviously took on the job of bringing a World Series to the Cubs because of their love for the game, but also because of their egos.

If Theo Epstein (especially) and Jed Hoyer are able to bring a World Series title to the Cubs, just imagine the feat that they would have accomplished… They would have completed the 2 most difficult tasks in baseball by leading the Red Sox and Cubs to World Series victories. This would make each of them instant legends around the baseball world. So while they are in this for the sake of guiding the Cubs to a ring, they are also in this for the possibility of becoming 2 of baseballs biggest legends off the field.

This year is the year for all of us Cubs fans to sit back, relax, and just watch baseball. We don’t need to worry about the standings or the playoffs, and we don’t need to judge what we see on the field every afternoon at Wrigley. This is our time to watch baseball without being on the edge of our seats for once, with the hope of doing the exact opposite in next few years to come.

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Oduya Is Not Enough

The NHL trade deadline has come and gone, and the Blackhawks did little to improve their chances at making a deep playoff run this year. Their only moves were the acquisition of defenseman Johnny Oduya from Winnipeg, and the departure of enforcer John Scott to the Rangers. That’s it. Many, myself included, thought that the Hawks might trade for a top 4 defenseman and a top 6 forward. Unfortunately, neither of which happened.

Oduya is a number 5-6 defenseman and will most likely be paired with either Sean O’Donnell or Sami Lepisto, whomever is in the lineup on any given night.  By trading for Oduya, Stan Bowman added a little more depth to the Blackhawks’ defense. The common belief around the NHL heading into the trade deadline was that the Hawks needed to trade for a top 4 defenseman that could kill off penalties as well as play on the powerplay. Johnny Oduya is not a top 4 defenseman, as previously mentioned, and is mediocre at killing off penalties. Odds are that we will not see him on the powerplay. If I had to guess, I would say that Johnny Oduya was not the number 1, or maybe not even the number 2 most wanted defenseman by the Hawks’ front office heading into the trade deadline. However, with the lack of available defenseman at the deadline, it is tough to get too disappointed with Stan Bowman for making this move. He had to trade for one of the few available defenseman, and he did. As for his failure at acquiring a top 6 forward, that is a different story.

While Nashville, one of the Hawks’ biggest rivals and toughest competitors, was strengthening not only their defense (trading for Hal Gill), but their offense as well (acquiring Andrei Kostitsyn and Paul Gaustad), the Blackhawks sat on their hands, it would appear, and did nothing. Yes, Bowman went out and traded for Brendan Morrison last month with the hopes that he could fill the number 2 centerman roll, but that has not worked out thus far to say the least. Since joining the Hawks, Morrison has played in just 7 games and has yet to register a point. I am sure that Bowman made offers at the deadline for players such as Gaustad, Derek Roy, and Jeff Carter, but clearly his offers were not good enough. It sounds as though Stan Bowman and the rest of the Blackhawks’ front office were too reluctant to trade away any top prospects or draft picks to get a top forward. This is what aggravates me and the rest of us Blackhawk fans. If they wanted to, the Blackhawks could have traded for one of the previously mentioned forwards, which would have greatly improved their team and better prepared them for a deep playoff run. Instead, they are going to be battling it out with Phoenix, L.A., Dallas, Colorado, and possibly a couple other teams for a playoff spot.

The Blackhawks are basically the same team today as they were 48 hours ago; a team that is fresh off of a 9-game losing streak, and currently in the midst of a 3-game losing streak. This is going to be a tough and grueling next 2 months for the Hawks. Hopefully when it’s all said and done we will be watching them in the playoffs.

Thanks for reading.