The Major League Baseball 2013 season has begun and, for Cubs fans, this means two more years of waiting for what has turned into the self-appointed Championship season of 2015. By then, all of the talent acquired by Theo Epstein and co. will have blossomed into glorious on-the-field production, and fans will be waiting to storm the streets in celebration. That is the plan at least.
So, why watch in the meantime? Aside from the simple sentimentality ushered in with the renewal of baseball, believe it or not, the 2013 season does have something to offer fans of the Chicago Cubs. Here are the top five reasons you may still want to watch the Cubs in 2013:
5. Jeff Samardzija
4. The Trading Deadline
3. Starlin Castro
1. Anthony Rizzo
While Samardzija's outstanding opening-day performance may not be the norm for him over the course of 2013, it certainly provided hope that the Cubs' one-time prospect may pan-out. After a solid full season of starting last year, Samardzija's development over this season could be key to any hopes the Cubs have for seriously contending by 2015. Aside from his development, any dominant pitching performance is always aesthetically-pleasing, so you may want to circle Samardzija's starts on your magnetic Cubs calendar.
Obviously, with the team focused on the future, the plan is for some of the veteran players currently on the roster to bring in young talent come the trading deadline. Cubs fans want to root for the health and success of players such as Matt Garza, Carlos Marmol, and, with a little luck, Alfonso Soriano. Hopefully, the trading deadline shall prove to be a busy and interesting time for the Cubbies.
Although waiting for 2015 is the new focus of Cubs fans, there is some exciting young talent developing on the roster already. One of the two standouts is Starlin Castro. The Chicago Cubs have a 23 year-old All-Star shortstop. If you haven not exposed yourself to many Cubs games in the past two years, trust me; he's worth watching.
September should be another specifically interesting time of the year for the Cubs. After a month following the trading deadline, the roster will likely be in some need of filling-out, and the potential call-ups include some of the team's top prospects. While it is far too early to speculate on specific promotions, its clear that the team should have a number of different names on the roster in September than the ones you see now.
The most clear reason to watch the Chicago Cubs in 2013 is more obvious than the fact that "Go Cubs Go" needs to go: Anthony Rizzo. Again, while his opening-day performance may have hyped Cubs fans up more than what is safe for them, Rizzo provides a real reason to be excited to watch Cubs baseball. Entering his first full year as a starting major leaguer, the first baseman has showed plenty of promise since donning the Cubs jersey, and his two-run shot to debut in 2013 could be the first of many in the upcoming months. Although first base generally has many candidates, look for Rizzo to make a push for the National League All-Star roster.
If these reasons do not suffice, allow me to recommend bitterness. If nothing else, and you buy-in the notion of near-future glory, being able pull out your undying devotion to the Cubbies during their path to righteousness will come in mighty handy while fending off masses of band-wagon jumpers in October of 2015.
They won't stand a chance, and shall flee in shame as you recite Castro and Rizzo's 2013 stat lines, and reminisce about Wellington Castillo's ability to knock-in insurance runs throughout the year, as well as Marmol's knack for getting pulled for the Japanese-coming of Mariano Rivera; Kyuji Fujikawa. Who knows- your 2013 interest may even pay dividends in 2014: "The Hunt to Be Above .500."
Die-hards will watch no matter what, but sometimes we may be wondering why. For the die-hards, let this list reassure you that your sickness is not completely fantasy-based. For those of you struggling to find the value in the 2013 Cubs, consider these above attractions, and perhaps you can enjoy the diamonds in the rough as well.