Okay, before I get into this thing, let's all have a good laugh.
"Cubs Win" MLB 12 The Show Full Length Commercial (via PlayStation)
You're going to die alone in that shitty apartment, crying. And without ever knowing love ... because you spent all your time playing a damned video game. Loser.
The 2012 Chicago Cubs
OK, on to the equine excrement -- TO THE JUMP!
Obviously the biggest change for the Cubs in 2012 is not on the field but in the front office with the acquisition of Theo Epstein as the Cubs' new President of Baseball Operations. Yes, Theo, the man who brought the once-"cursed" Red Sox a pair of World Series titles last decade is now in charge at Wrigley. All hail him!
LOOK AT HIM! LOVE HIM!! Love the man that's supposed to finally lift the "curse" of the billy goat, or of the Bartman, or of whatever other stupid thing you imbeciles love to blame poorly-played baseball on!
There's your God, worship him, you sheep.
Oh and what a wonderful team he's been handcuffed into running out there in his first year in Chicago. Years of bad contracts and blown revenue leaves Theo with a team projected to win 74 games. (According to the last PECOTA projections I saw.) Woooooo!!!!!! It's a team that's so "meh" that one of Chicago's hometown papers -- a former owner of the team itself, mind you -- wrote that "this Cubs team is going nowhere and quite possibly could be the worst team in baseball." As well as: "The only thing stopping this team from the cellar is the fact that they play in the NL Central with the Houston Astros, amazingly a team that might be even worse than they are."
On to the actual team.
One of Theo's first moves in the offseason was signing everyone's favorite Jesus -- David DeJesus -- to a two-year deal that more or less guaranteed David the starting right fielder role. He will be joined by holdovers Marlon Byrd (CF) and the aforementioned Soriano (LF). Compared to the infield, the outfield trio forms the club's AARP crowd. (Ha! See, I can make lame jokes about age too, Rick Reilly! Haha! I'm so funny and relevant! Now to pen another golf column.)
Career minor leaguer, Bryan LaHair, is expected to start at 1B for the Cubs. (And by expected, I mean he will, since the Cubs are going to start wunderkind, Anthony Rizzo, in Triple-A to begin the season.) LaHair inherits a position that was vacated when Carlos Pena realized playing for the Cubs was all kinds of awful, choosing to go back to Tampa after one year at Wrigley. Darwin Barney will be back at 2B to continue to piss off people who are threatened by either evolution or purple dinosaurs. Or both. Starlin Castro is once again at SS and Geovany Soto is back behind the plate. The Cubs' other big position-player move of the offseason was sending Tyler Colvin and DJ LeMahieu to Colorado for Casey Weathers and Ian Stewart. Stewart will be the Cubs' everyday 3B since Aramis Ramirez decided Chicago fat people weren't fat enough and thus signed a three-year deal to play baseball in front of fatter people -- Milwaukee.
The biggest question mark for the Cubs in 2012 will be their starting pitching. Matt Garza and former Red, Ryan Dempster, aren't terrible and make a decent front end. After them it's a pair of new Cubs in Paul Maholm, who signed a one-year deal in the offseason, and Chris Volstad, whom the Cubs took from Miami just so they could get Carlos Zambrano the hell out of Chicago. Of those four, Garza is the only one with a lifetime ERA under 4. After them, it's a crap shoot. Jeff Samardzija has had a decent spring, while former Red, Travis Wood, has been a mess. This club has little-to-no-depth at starter, unless they start trading guys like Garza and Maholm to get better depth. HINT: They will trade guys like Garza and Maholm.
This is the section where I'm supposed to gush over Carlos Marmol and Sean Marshall and how they're the best one-two duo in the game. Well guess what? MARSHALL'S NOW A REDLEG, KISS MY ASS CHICAGO!!!! KISS IT! KISS! MY! ASS! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! AND YOU AIN'T GETTING HIM BACK!!!! MARSHALL'S OURS!! SUCK IT!!!
Take it away Whitney!
Marmol's pretty good, though.
I'd go in-depth here but all you really need to know is that the Cubs' bench is going to be filled with guys like former Red, Dave Sappelt, and ALSs like UC grad, Tony Campana. That's pretty much all I need to say for you to understand what's not starting in Chicago.
The Cubs are going to pretty much suck. Again. But in order to help some of those Cubs fans reading this come to that realization in a much more calming way I leave this preview in the very capable hands of a son of both our cities. A man that reached his zenith in our respective towns during both cities' greatest sports dynasties -- the Big Red Machine and the Jordan-lead Bulls. Take it away, oh wise one.
"Ya know, fandom is an essential part of the human experience. We're raised on it, nurtured by it and we even pass it down to our children and grandchildren. It's powerful. It can make us say mean things and act in ridiculous ways. It might even cause us to hurt those that mean the most to us. But what has to be remembered is that fandom, like all of life's pleasures, can't be a one-way street. There has to be a give and take in order for it to work. That's why, when I see a franchise that treats its fans so poorly I must take pause. For over 100 years it has cheated, backstabbed and mocked its fanbase all while providing very little reason for that fanbase to stay loyal. That's hurtful, but in reality, who truly is at fault here? Sometimes we must take a hard look at ourselves and ask, 'Who's more guilty: Those doing the victimizing or those allowing it to continue to happen to them?'
"Until next time, take care of yourselves and each other."
/throws Jerry beads
///gets eaten by GWAR