opening dayI mulled this post for the last couple weeks, and I struggled with what I wanted to say, never really landing anywhere profound.

In recent years past, I always felt like the story in this space – this “here we are at the start of another Chicago Cubs season” – kinda wrote itself. With honesty, we all knew where the Cubs were in their decline and then in their rebuild. I may have given voice to the feelings, but we all felt them. It was obvious.

The thing is, that’s true this year, too. Maybe even more true this year than in any year in the last 20. We all know the story with this Chicago Cubs team on the day the 2016 season opens up.

And yet I don’t know what I want to say. Because it’s a story I’m afraid to tell. Maybe, deep down, you’re afraid to hear it.

This team … is a freaking juggernaut.

I’ll give you the “on paper” caveat that you’ll only barely hear: the season still has to play out, and we know that injuries happen, surprising struggles pop up, bad sequencing luck can cost a team a ton of wins, and so on and so on – baseball gonna baseball.





But, on paper, this Chicago Cubs team is so loaded as to make any pundit who refuses to acknowledge it look foolish. The front office took a team that was clicking on all cylinders in the second half of 2015 and added to it considerably. The Cubs had some good fortune to land at 97 wins last year, but they were still a very good team. The team that takes the field tonight against the Angels is better. Much better.

That’s the story I’m afraid to tell. To breathe life into. To commit to print and to memory and leave hanging in the air before a single pitch has been thrown.

It’s not so much a matter of worrying that the Cubs will fall victim to a pride-goeth-before-the-fall situation. Instead, it’s more of a the-bigger-they-are-the-harder-they-fall situation within the fan side of my mind. The more I allow myself to see this team propped up as so damn good, the bigger punch in the gut it would be if they struggle and fail. I let me tell myself things about last year’s team late last season, and I wound up so very burned instead of simply enjoying the ride.

So, then, I’m going to try and take the lesson of that October experience and remember how freaking amazing April through September were. No, this year’s Cubs team won’t have that mildly surprising element added into the mix, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still be a hell of a lot of fun to watch. That’s where I’m going to try and live – right there in the fun – and not get hung up on the expectations.



Now I know why the song that’s been rattling around in my head the last few days, without having heard it any time recently, is the Beach Boys’ ‘Don’t Worry, Baby’. I looked at the Wikipedia page for the song, because I’m a very cool person, and I was pretty blown away to see the description of what the song’s about: “The song, as originally performed by the Beach Boys, is sung from the point of view of a teenager who reluctantly agrees to a challenge to race a rival after rashly bragging about his car, and is reassured by his girlfriend’s plea to take her love with him when he races.”

Whether it’s “rashly” bragging about this Cubs team or not, they’ve got an awesome car. They can win this race. Heck, maybe you’d even go so far as to say they should win this race.

Well it’s been building up inside of me
For oh I don’t know how long
I don’t know why
But I keep thinking
Something’s bound to go wrong

But she looks in my eyes
And makes me realize
And she says, “Don’t worry baby”
Don’t worry baby
Don’t worry baby
Everything will turn out all right




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