By Grant Gierhahn ‘20
March is just around the corner, and every baseball fan knows what that means: spring training, the first step towards regular season ball.
With the MLB offseason coming to a close and players set to put their nose to the grindstone for another grueling campaign, the Cubs and White Sox are headed in strikingly different directions.
Suddenly, after just a single free agency period, the Chicago White Sox have swiftly snagged the momentum from their rival to the north. The White Sox, a chronic loser for the entire 2010s decade, were a justified afterthought in Chicago’s cutthroat baseball landscape.
But not anymore.
Through the signings of All-Stars Yasmani Grandal, Dallas Keuchel, and Edwin Encarnacion, the Sox sent a firm signal to both their fanbase and the rest of the MLB: a commitment to winning.
The White Sox are undeniably on the come up. With a young nucleus surrounded by elite veteran talent, Southside’s team is a legitimate threat to make some noise in the AL Central division.
On the contrary, the Cubs are due for a steep decline from their 2016 glory days. Following two consecutive stagnant offseasons, where the team acquired virtually no talent, the Cubs not only missed the postseason last year for the first time in four seasons, but they, in all likelihood, will fail to qualify once again.
Accompanied by an incompentent management structure and no evident organizational direction, the Cubs are stuck in no man’s land, even contemplating trading star 3B Kris Bryant to clear salary cap space.
The Cubs’ sole offseason move in 2020 was to downgrade at manager, electing to fire Joe Maddon, unquestionably the most successful manager in franchise history, in favor of the inexperienced David Ross, who will more than likely serve as a mere “puppet” for the front office’s directives.
Given Cubs’ fans unwavering enthusiasm, Cubs brass’s refusal to improve the team’s on-field product due to financial “constraints” is frankly an outrage.
And precisely why the White Sox are the talk of the Windy City.
Southsiders now have all the energy and, more so, the ambitious expectations that come with it.
Clark and Addision is in shambles; whereas, 35th St. is in a state of renewed optimism.
Oh, how the tide has turned.
Buckle up, folks. The start of the decade is sure to encompass many surprises in the baseball world.