As pointed out lovingly by a woman whom I’m sure has many other positive traits to be named in a future posting, the Chicago Cubs have gone a bit without a World Series title. Very magnanimous of them to let everyone else get a shot first, I say; after all, hoarding all those aught titles wasn’t very thoughtful.
Still, it appears the Cubs are ready to dominate the best division in all of baseball… ‘s centrally located teams… in the National League. Baseball Prospectus predicts another tight race between the Cubs and Brewers, with the Cubs prevailing by a slim margin. As the prognosticators get a closer look at the new layer of grit Ryan Theriot has coated himself with in the offseason, more predictions of Cubs regular season glory should pour in.
Thankfully for Cubs fans, Bud Selig’s wife is a very happy woman. (Between sparring matches, of course.) Allan H. Selig is very good about remembering anniversaries. He knows when Jackie Robinson’s wife should be trotted out. He blows out a single candle on a cupcake every year on the anniversary of the loss of innocence for the game to the scourge of performance enhancing drugs. And he knows how long it’s been since the Cubs have won the World Series.
As the Cubs reach that magical hundredth season as eventual losers, MLB schedulers have been coincidentally set up what might be the easiest schedule in all baseball for the National League team in Chicago. The Cubs play in the weakest division in the weakest league. In the unbalanced schedule, this allows the Cubs to play the worst teams the most often. Of course, this is true for all NL Central denizens.
For interleague play purposes, the NL Central plays the AL East this year. However, the Cubs only play Baltimore, Tampa, and Toronto. (The Brewers get Baltimore, Toronto, and Boston. That’s no way to treat Bud’s former team.) Of course, this is for the benefit of the home-and-home White Sox series, but that’s quite an acceptable trade if one is looking for a softer schedule.
The arrangement of the schedule doesn’t hurt, either. The Cubs fatten up on the NL Central early in the season and don’t hit their worst stretch of games until mid-to-late September, when six games are left against the Brewers and four away games in Shea make up roughly half of the seven-game road trip to end the season. By that time, the Mets will likely have wrapped up the top-heavy NL East and be working on rotation setting and resting their starters. That only leaves a Brewers squad that will possibly be out of it by then.
Sam Zell should really consider sending Bud some kind of gift for this accidental assistance in possibly helping to raise the sale price of the Cubs with a World Series trophy to throw in. Maybe Selig Park?