The mantra of every single non-Cubs fan in the world is the same heading into this postseason, and it couldn't be more misguided.
If you really don't think the Cubs are going to the win the World Series, that's fine. It's neither offensive nor outlandish, as long as your reasons are rational. If your reason is something along the lines of "because they are the Cubs" or has anything to do with any circumstance outside Lou Pinella and his 25 troops, however, you have no idea what you're talking about. Wake up.
Let me lay it out for you. Jerseys and logos don't cause winners and losers. Players and managers do. The Cubs franchise hasn't won the World Series since 1908. That's as much a coincidence as anything else. There's been bad management, what some would call bad luck, and plenty of bad players ... none of which have been inflicting the team during this 2008 season.
If you think teams need postseason experience to excel -- you better not look at last year's Rockies -- then the Cubs have plenty of it. The team was in the playoffs last year. They got swept, but as Ryan Theriot said, "sometimes you have to lose before you win." It's a learning curve.
As I mentioned, though, the Cubs are not full of a bunch of wide-eyed rookies, who are simply happy to be in the postseason. Let's check out some of the offensive guys ...
- Geovany Soto hit the only Cubs home run last year in the NLDS.
- Derrek Lee has a ring, and he came up with the big blow in game six against these Cubs in 2003.
- Ryan Theriot won the college world series and played in all three playoff games last year.
- Mark DeRosa has played in 16 playoff games, in which he's hit .357.
- Aramis Ramirez has played in 15 playoff games.
- Jim Edmonds has played in 61 postseason games, hit 13 homers, and has a ring.
- Alfonso Soriano has played in 41 postseason games, including two World Series.
As you can see, they aren't exactly lacking experience in the postseason.
The pitching staff has far less experience -- though all the starters have had postseason tastes -- but they do have what wins in October: power arms. Between Carlos Zambrano, Rich Harden, Jeff Samardzija, Carlos Marmol, Kerry Wood, and even Neal Cotts ... the supply of mid-to-high-90s fastballs is seemingly endless.
This team is built for the postseason. Plain and simple.
You don't think they can do it. I know ...
Peyton Manning, Roy Williams, Larry Brown, Bill Cowher, John Elway, Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, Philadelphia Phillies (went nearly 100 years without a championship), Phil Mickelson, Ray Borque ... what do all these entities have in common?
People claimed they'd never win the big one. Just because you haven't won the big one yet -- or in a hundred years -- doesn't mean you never will.
With all this being said, the Cubs are my pick to win the World Series ... with both my heart and my head. They don't have a weakness (good starting pitching, good bullpen, best lineup in the NL, good defense, deep bench, good manager, etc.), they have confidence, and they are as tired as I am about all this absurd curse crap.
Feel free to disagree, but make a baseball argument about this current cast of characters. Be better than the laziness and unsound "anniversary" arguments (and use "centennial," please, it's much more accurate).
Not one of these players was alive when the 100 year streak began, and only three were even on the Cubs for the 2003 debacle. Live in the present, not in the past ... because the past just doesn't matter. Ask the Red Sox or White Sox.