By Travis Stahl
Spring has sprung and baseball is in the air. The Major League Baseball season kicked off last week across the country to the delight of many fans. Some teams like Detroit and Arizona have looked really good already this season. Then there are those teams that fans hoped would be competitive but the doom and gloom has already begun. The Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs are two of those teams that have faltered. It’s only a week in to the new season but it’s almost time to panic for Red Sox and Cubs nations.
Boston was hoping this season would erase the horrible memories of last season. The Sox chocked their way through September in one of the biggest collapses in history to miss out on the playoffs. The incredible fade down the stretch brought out some stories of players drinking beer and eating chicken in the bull pen during games. As it turns out, all those losses last year weren’t from a lack of effort so much as they were from a lack of talent.
Boston was thought to be the bully of the block last year and now that everybody has figured out they aren’t as good as advertised the team just looks bad. The Sox got swept by the Tigers in Detroit to start the season. Pitcher Josh Beckett looked horrible in his start and Kevin Youkilis looks like he is swinging a tooth pick at the plate. Boston fans shouldn’t be too surprised by the early season struggles; the team did nothing in the off season to get better.
At least for Cubs fans the early season losses can’t be too surprising. The Cubs are 1-2 to start the season which means they are operating under Plan B of the playbook. Plan A for the Cubs states that they race out to lead the division through the all-star break only to fade down the stretch and miss the playoffs. Plan B states that the team struggles all the way to the all-star break only to turn it on in the second half o the season to narrowly miss the playoffs.
Chicago’s bull pen is horrible. Any time Carlos Marmol enters the game you can put two runs on the score board for the opposition right now. And perhaps the most disheartening part of the way the Cubs have started the season is that they have now officially been passed by the Washington Nationals. Ouch. With Theo Epstein in as GM the Cubs do have some light at the end of the tunnel, but that light isn’t going to be seen this season.
Don’t feel too bad for Sox and Cubs fans. The teams are still going to sell out every game, they will still lead the league in merchandise sales and they still have thousands of fans in every major city across the country. There of course is still plenty of time to turn things around, but it’s not looking good out of the gates.