Curious as to how last year’s reigning champs have been fairing in spring training? You’re in the right place.
The Chicago Cubs’ spring training facility, Sloan Park, is located in Mesa, Arizona. Unlike birds, the cubbies fly south for the spring to raise their young. The facility was established in 2014, allowing the Chicago Cubs to move away from their previous spring training location: Hohokam Stadium, which they used from 1997 to 2013.
Included in the mix of potential cubbies is pitching prospect Dylan Cease. Capable of hurling 100 mph lightning bolts, this 21 year old could be a 2017 season starter. Cease was nabbed up in the 2014 draft after enduring a Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow. Despite the setback, Cease has returned confidently to the field and focused greatly on improving his mechanics.
Another top prospect is Eloy Jimenez. Unfortunately for the Cubs, a bone bruise on the batter’s right shoulder has left Jimenez shelved for the next three weeks, unable to swing a bat. This will result in extended spring training for him and a later start to the season.
The Cubs still have an incredibly strong roster. The history making magic that brought them to the top last year is, at least in theory, still contained within the team. The Cubs are at the top of lists everywhere with projected winnings. SportsLine projections have them miles above their competition.
The question is: will the Cubs be able to secure their dynasty?
Back to back World Series Championships are no guarantee, even if your roster is locked up tight with very little changes. You can look at the team on paper and see a solid, championship taking, dynasty shaping, organization. However, humans aren’t robots and the system is filled with too many dynamic moving parts to be sure of anything.
On top of that, the mysterious disembodied threat of World Series Hangover Effect is all too evident. The last time we saw back to back wins was with the New York Yankees years 1998-2000. Just getting back to back appearances in the grand finale alone is a difficult feat. The Kansas City Royals are a remarkable example of this, being the losing team in 2014’s World Series and the winning team in 2015’s World Series.
Of course, the best part about all of this is the beloved game itself. Its nature breeds diversity of outcome and unpredictability. Its nature serves to elevate underdogs and celebrate come from behind victories. As a society, we love to see what appears insignificant and unsuccessful rise up and overcome