This past weekend, the Chicago Cubs held their 30th annual Cubs Convention. This year’s opening ceremonies had an obvious buzz and a certain kind of energy among the fans and attendees. The vibe was at a level of excitement that would have rivaled the 2012 convention, which was the first year Theo Epstein was in attendance. On Friday night, the Cubs launched their 2015 campaign which is simply “Let’s Go.” Following that, they welcomed past legends, the current roster, and several newcomers, headlined by the loud ovations for Joe Maddon and Jon Lester.
Maddon’s resume certainly speaks for itself, and he will waste little time in putting his special touch on this Cubs’ roster. He has a knack for blending veterans and rookies while squeezing out every ounce of fundamental baseball from every guy on the roster. Maddon will not shy away from the expectations that have been put on this Cubs team. In fact, he will likely do the very opposite and relish in the opportunity to make history in Chicago. After every win this summer, there is a possibility of Maddon telling fans to “Let’s Go and get a shot and a beer.”
Lester will have a slightly different approach when the lights will shine bright on him every fifth day. Lester will be all business between the white lines and aim to carry the club to anticipated new heights. He will bring with him a gamer’s attitude, experience and a will to win that the rest of the roster will easily adapt to and follow. The personalities of Lester and Maddon are each unique views, but they both lead to the ultimate goal of a franchise longing for a championship. This winter, a perfect storm was created. Both guys really are the perfect fit and more importantly the right fit for this roster and the plan that Epstein has sculpted. Fans, based on the roars Friday night are already on board with both guys and ready to go on this journey.
In 2012, when Epstein was brought into the Cubs’ family and made his first appearance in front of the faithful fans, it was a moment that was building to this point. It was at that time that the plan was first put into motion. Three years later, the future is arguably now for the Cubs. The future of 2015 will have in store an uncharted anticipation, and a level of expectation not seen too often on the North side of Chicago. Plus, there will be that element hanging over the team of emulating a certain scene from Back to the Future II.
To open the festivities, owner Tom Ricketts spoke about how successful the 2014 season was for the Cubs. When you look back at the standings, one can ask how can that be? But beyond the standings, the Cubs had several high marks. They opened up a new state of the art spring training facility, and broke all types of records. They are in the process of renovating Wrigley Field, and while that element has been a grind at times, the end project will only help the team and city. The Cubs have also landed new radio and television deals, continue to sell out games and have the top rated farm system in baseball. Chicago now has their ace, their manager and still money to spend if need be. Combine all of those elements, and it is hard to argue against the potential that this franchise finally has after years of anguish.
Each year at the convention, still one of the loudest cheers is for former player Kerry Wood. A fan favorite, Wood was once the ace that vowed to take the Cubs to the promised land. The city embraced him for that will to win and devotion. Fittingly, his old number 34 will now be on the back of Lester in a symbolic passing of the torch. Unlike the past few seasons, baseball will be back on the map in Chicago, and for the first time ever, Opening Night will be hosted on the corner of Clark and Addison. The anticipation and expectations will only continue to grow until then. At that time, all of the elements will come full circle, and it will be “Let’s Go” time for the Cubs.