Wednesday, June 22, 2016


So once again I was watching my favorite series of the week; not America's Got Talent; not Blue Bloods or American Ninja Warrior.  ESPN Sunday Night Baseball is my favorite series.  This week featured a battle between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the first place Chicago Cubs, arguably the best team in baseball with a record of 47-21.  I watched guys like Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Jason Heyward take these aggressive, nasty swings against a Pittsburgh team, who held its own despite their record, which is slightly below .500.  As I sat gazing adoringly at the Cubs, I came to the realization that I am jealous... of the Cubs.

I actually take my envy one step further.  I am jealous that Joe Maddon is the Cubs Manager and not the Yankees' skipper.  I would like to trade for Joe Maddon and fire Joe Girardi.  Now, I am not alone in this thought process.  My son, agrees.  He agrees so much that he has decided that the entire Yankee veteran squad just take a bus from the Port Authority to Scranton and stay there.  Here's his idea of an ideal lineup:  If he was not injured, Greg Bird would take his rightful place at first base, Starlin Castro would remain at second along with Didi Gregorius at short stop.  At third base would be Rob Refsnyder and the outfielders would be one of two veterans allowed to stay, Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury and young stud Aaron Judge in right.  Behind the plate would be Austin Romine and on the hill, Nasty Nate Eovaldi. According to Chris, he would be the only starter he would keep and Dellon Betances, and Andrew Miller would head the pen. Carlos Beltran could stay also, simply because he is anchoring the team's offense. Other Scranton Yankees would fill in as needed in field, on the hill and behind the plate.  As for the other has-beens, Mark Teixeira and Co., good riddance. Maybe then, I would not be so jealous of the Cubs.

Before the 2016 season started, the Cubs were destined for greatness.  "Fourteen of 31 experts surveyed by ESPN had the Cubs winning the championship. The optimism came despite the team’s star-crossed history, including a 107-year stretch without a championship and a sweep by the Mets in last year’s National League Championship Series," reported the New York Times in April.  So my jealously is clearly not unfounded.

According to ESPN in November, "Young teams simply don’t win often in baseball. The grind is too long and the learning curve too tough. But the young Cubs thrived under Maddon. It was never just about the message he delivered to his team; it was about how he delivered it, right down to the vocabulary he used."  That's the same formula he used in Tampa Bay back in 2008. Another good reason to be jealous of the Cubs.

I guess when it comes down to it, the Yankees are just disappointing and the Cubs are up lifting. Watching them thrive after so many years of cursed baseball, is encouraging.  I will always be a Yankees fan but the Cubs are giving me something to envy, to believe in as we approach the final days in June.  I guess if I squint really hard, the C could turn into an NY.  It's a stretch, I realize but I blame it on jealousy.

--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Senior Staff Writer
BYB Hot Stove Columnist
Twitter: @suzieprof

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