Now that the “James Shields” sweepstakes are tied up, we can focus on Spring Training.
Nine days to go, baby! To tell you the truth, the Cubs didn’t need James Shields. Not to take anything away from him, but the Cubs are in good shape as it is. It would have been nice though.
It looks like the Cubs are chomping at the bit to get the ahem, ball rolling. Jon Lester is all ready trying to get the boys together for some Cubs brotherhood sessions.
“Baseball’s such a weird sport, where you have nine individuals playing for a team. And if those nine individuals pull the same direction on the same rope, then you’re good. And that’s all we’re going to try to do, is come to Spring Training, mesh together and bond and become brothers and hopefully that takes us to the end, and if it doesn’t, we’ll keep busting our butt to get to that prize.”
This I like. He’s got a point. Look at hockey, if that guy isn’t on the receiving end of a one timer, that puck ain’t going into any net. Hockey is very much a team sport. Same with football as witnessed in the Super Bowl we just saw.
Yeah, it’s different. The pitcher is alone on the mound. Those three guys standing far back on the grass? Unless they run with their eyes closed, it’s just them and the ball. Keep your eyes on the ball. That’s what baseball’s all about.
So, what about the World Series champions? What do they do that is different from what everybody else is doing? I’ve noticed throughout the years that it boils down to the little things like not relying on the Ace for the strikeouts. Asking the right questions like,”What if our pitcher doesn’t get him out? How do we react?” In other words listening to each and every player on the team and compensating for their weaknesses.
San Francisco got it done, but it could have been Kansas City’s ring to get. Each team capitalized on those little things. Baseball isn’t won entirely by hitting the home runs. The best part about baseball is getting those guys on the bag home.
Sounds preachy but going forth this season, there’s a lot of energy in the Cub’s clubhouse and probably a lot of egos. The players have to remember that Joe Maddon is the manager, not the players. Anthony Rizzo is the team captain and has to lead by example. Starlin Castro has to put that hot dog attitude back in the cart and Javier Baez must realize that superstars aren’t born on talent, but patience and listening abilities.
It’s going to be an incredible season. Some might say a magical one, but if expectations fall short(and it probably will) fans and players have to take it in stride. Because there’s one saying that every Cubs fan has come to know and live by:
There’s always next year.