John: Now that the weather is getting nicer outside one can hope that spring is coming and that is something that I am excited about. Another thing to be excited about is the Cubs and White Sox. They made key improvements in the offseason but, will those moves be enough to make it to the World Series? We will see sooner rather than later. I am thinking about the White Sox because they didn’t make any big moves this offseason but they are very similar to the ones in ‘05, when the Sox got Scott Podsednik. No one heard of Podsednik but he became an important part in of the Sox organization because he was the lead hitter for the Sox in ‘05. He was important because the Sox were not all about hitting home runs but about playing small ball. What also made the Sox great that year was the starting pitching.They had Three or four starters who went 7 to 8 innings and gave the bullpen a much needed rest. Also having a guy like Ozzie Guillen who knew what buttons to push.
Sam: I am looking forward to seeing when the Cubs are going to get the stadium done and what the reaction to it is going to be.
Bill: Yeah, that is going to be big and particularly the people living in the rooftop houses because it is going to block their view of the games. The big electronic scoreboard is supposedly going to block the view of most rooftop seats. The thing I am looking forward to, being a Sox fan, is Melky Cabrera. We have three guys competing for 2nd base and any one of them can easily turn into a star. There are 3 first basemen, which is interesting. We have a new DH (Designated hitter) and potential superstars like Jeff Samardizja and Jose Abreu. I believe we are in better shape than last year and my expectations are that the Sox are going to be competitive. Being an all time Sox fan I don’t expect too much but I expect better than last year.
Russell: I am looking forward to going to the game. I went to a lot of games last year and I really enjoyed them. I am a Sox fan and sometimes a Cubs fan and so I think this Sox team is going to be pretty interesting. They have made a whole lot of improvements with new pitchers and base runners. I am looking forward to all of that and beating the Detroit Tigers, Cleveland (Indians), and Kansas City.
Vince: Piggybacking on Russell, on the other side I am looking forward to the Cubs beating the Cardinals because it is like the Bears beating the Packers. We always have hopes that the Cubs will beat the Cardinals. We say “maybe next year” but this is next year so will next year finally be here? In 1906 the Cubs and the White Sox went to the World Series and the Sox beat the Cubs. I’d loved to see this happen again. We have a guy here at StreetWise, we know him as “Ronnie Woo Woo,” who I think would internally combust if the Cubs won the World Series just like “Woo..BOOM!” You know I would probably blow up with him because I wouldn’t believe it. This season does look exciting. So guys, if you had to pick one person this season who was the key to the team who would you pick?
John: Jeff Samardzija from the White Sox.
Sam: Jorge Soler from the Chicago Cubs.
Bill: I pick Jose Quintana from the White Sox.
Russell: I have to pick my guy Alexei Ramirez, because I always love watching him play.
Vince: The guy that is on my mind is Jon Lester because he is the guy they paid a whole chunk of change. So now lets talk about predictions for the Cubs and Sox.
John: The Cubs, I think, are still not as good as the St. Louis Cardinals or Pittsburgh Pirates. Yeah the Cubs made improvements but that makes them the third best team in the division. The one Achilles heel for the Dodgers and the Cubs is the St. Louis Cardinals because how do you beat the Cardinals? I am not a Cubs fan but what Cubs fans and Dodgers fans have in common is finding a way to beat the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals are like the National League representation of the evil empire. For the White Sox though I think they win a Wild Card spot because Detroit is still the team to beat.
Sam: I think the Cubs have vastly improved but I still think they need a little seasoning. The Sox I don’t really know but I am pretty sure they will do better than last year.
Bill: To me I don’t think the Detroit Tigers are the power of the American League Central division because everyone in the AL central is a powerhouse. The Tigers, the Indians, and the Kansas City Royals are all great teams. About four years ago the division was a dog but know I think it’s the toughest division out there. I think the White Sox might have a chance for a Wild Card spot but not for the division.
Russell: In the National League Central I have the Pittsburgh Pirates, in the NL West the Padres, in the NL East I have Washington. In the Wild Card I have the Cubs and St. Louis. In the American League Central I predict the White Sox will win the Central. In the East, Boston and in the AL West, Anaheim. My Wild Cards are Baltimore and Detroit.