If you had any doubts after the Cubs hired former Tampa Bay Rays coach, Joe Maddon, the signing of former Boston Red Sox and Oakland Athletics pitcher, Jon Lester should clear that up. For the first time since Lou Piniella quit on the Cubs, the next season has a lot of hope.
I talked about it back in June and July. Things felt different. Theo and Jed started bringing up some young talent. The Cubs got some great pitching from Jake Arrieta and Kyle Hendricks. First baseman and slugger Anthony Rizzo got back to form and showed glimpses of a future MVP type player. Starlin Castro righted his ship and made the All-Star team. Then in August the flood gates of young talent really opened up. In addition to Arismendy Alcantara, Javy Baez and Jorge Soler were brought up. The excitement factor went to 11 at times.
It’s been quite a crazy second half of 2014. Cubs fans (myself included) are quite used to being the bridesmaid and never the bride. We lost out on Joe Girardi and Tanaka. For the first time in a while, the Cubs landed a top manager and the top free agent in the same season. All of a sudden there is talk about how guys want to come to Chicago and play, and hopefully be the ones to finally end the drought. It’s been a long time coming.
There are no promises. There are no guarantees. When 2014 is counting down, and you have that glass of champagne in hand Cubs fans, hold it up high and smile. 2015 will be for real. Really real.