Ah, Opening Day — the best day in a Cubs fan's year. A day marking the true return of spring. A day of hope. A day when Wait 'Til Next Year comes to fruition.
There are many days that aren't so good to Cubs fans. The day you realize your team is fielding essentially a Triple-A club. The day the Cubs lose to the St. Louis Cardinals – again. The day the season comes to an end – whether during the regular season or postseason – when the cycle of eternal Wait 'Til Next Year begins once again.
But Opening Day is the best because none of the other days have come about yet. At least not this year.
I know this year is a rebuilding year. I know there are no expectations for this Cubs team. I know Opening Day is probably going to be the best I get as a Cubs fan all year.
But – stupidly I suppose – I hold out hope for a World Series championship anyway. So, we're going bold, we're going best-case scenario and we're going most probably crazy with this year's predictions for the Cubs.
So without further ado:
1. Jeff Samardzija will win the Cy Young award: I warned you we were going to go crazy here. But I'm going to believe in Samardzija, mostly because my other options are Edwin Jackson, Travis Wood, Scott Feldman and Carlos Villanueva. Samardzija has always had the potential. And last year we saw more than a few glimpses of what can happen when he puts it together. So, I'm choosing to believe he's going to take another leap this year. I also love his last name and believe it should be included in the next Scripps National Spelling Bee.
2. Anthony Rizzo will join the likes of Mike Trout and Bryce Harper: It's not like I'm hoping for much for Rizzo – just to join the ranks of maybe the two most exciting players to join the MLB in decades. That's all I'm asking for. It's admittedly a long shot and probably an impossible shot that Rizzo joins their ranks, but I do see a big year for him with more at-bats under his belt.
3. The Cubs will make the postseason and – after that – who knows: Sure, just about every other team in their division is better than them on paper. But are they better than them in their hearts? Yeah, probably. But crazy stuff happens sometimes and I've got no problem with laying my hopes on crazy stuff.
4. Third baseman Luis Valbuena won't completely suck at the plate: Might be a bit too far out on a limb with this one. We'll see.
5. The Cubs and Wrigleyville will come to an agreement that will be beneficial to everyone and will keep all parties happy going forward: Miracles do happen.
• Going for Gusto is a blog by Joe Grace that looks for the awesome in life. Please support Going for Gusto by liking the Facebook page at Facebook.com/GoingForGusto.
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