Around The League: Chicago Cubs Edition

Hey. I did say it would be Mostly Mets. Not ALL Mets.

So I thought it would be cool to go around the league and check in on the fans.

The idea is to get 2 fans of each team and ask them the same 10 questions.
Seeing as how this is the inaugural edition of “Around The League,” I threw in a little extra.
3 fans. 11 questions.
 
I met these 3 Cubbie fans in a baseball group on Facebook called BASES LOADED.
I included the link above. Great page filled with fans of virtually every team. Non-stop conversation.
Feel free to come join us.
 
Let’s meet the fans.
 
Billy Krebs
Billy is a 43 year old Cubs fan living in Illinois.
Here’s what he had to say.
 
MOSTLY METS BLOG: First things first. Your initial reaction when Rajai Davis hit the Game 7 homerun? 

BILLY KREBS: When he crushed that ball my heart sank. I was so upset that Maddon used Chapman the game before when we won handily and didn’t need to use him.  


MMB: During that final game of the World Series there was an infamous 17 minute rain delay. That must have felt like an eternity. What was going through your mind at that time?

BK: I was praying for a miracle because we had lost the momentum and Cleveland clearly had it up until that 17 minute miracle.  The rain delay was a blessing I hoped it would be enough to let us regain the momentum and it was.


MMB: Could you try and put into words how you felt when Bryant threw over to Rizzo, ending the World Series? You witnessed something that entire generations of Cubs fans can’t say they did. Bartman. The goat. It goes on and on. How important was that championship for Chicago?

BK: I was with my mother watching the game and we both immediately started to cry. I started thinking about my family members like my grandfather and uncle who were die-hard Cubs fans and didn’t live to see them win it all.I thought of my brother, who took us all to Wrigley Field one last time through the Make-a-Wish foundation before he passed. It was a very emotional moment for us. 


MMB: How much of the Cubs recent success do you attribute to Theo Epstein?

BK: Theo is the curse Killer. He ended the 86 year curse of the Bambino in bean town and ended the 108 year curse of the Goat in Chicago. We owe all our success to Theo Epstein! 


MMB: What’s the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry like nowadays? St.Louis has been pretty active this off-season; do they worry you going into this year?

BK: The rivalry is alive and well and it kills Cardinal fans to see us on top. Honestly, I love it.  I am always concerned about St Louis. I thought in 2016 if we let them slip into the playoffs we would lose to them and our magical year would be over. Thankfully we were able to beat them at the end of the year and keep them out.


MMB: What is one area in which you feel like the Cubs need to improve?

BK: The Bullpen.


MMB: Who’s a player that you feel is really gonna turn heads in the future? He can be in the minors or already on the big club.

BK: Wilson Contreras will be the man I see turning heads. He’s a beast and is the most athletic catcher I’ve ever seen play.


MMB: Your thoughts on Joe Maddon?                                                                                BK: The Madness of Maddon. He has a very unconventional style and keeps other managers guessing. It’s both a blessing and a curse lol. He’s a players coach. He’s been a player’s coach in Tampa and here in Chicago. Our guys love him and he did bring us a trophy.                                                              


MMB: Give us your 2018 Cubs prediction.                                                                   
BK: 2018 we make it back to the World Series to win our second in three years.



MMB: Finally, a two part question. Who is your favorite Cub ever? 
Must win game. Which Cub, past or present do you want on the mound?
BK: My favorite Cub ever was Jody Davis. He was my favorite player growing up. He was an awesome catcher.
In a must win game, give me Rick Sutcliff or Ferguson Jenkins. Either would work for me.
 
AWESOME!


Moving right along, let’s meet our 2nd fan.



Christopher Schleyhahn

Christopher is a 24 year old Cubbie fan living in Illinois.
Let’s get into it.


MOSTLY METS BLOG: First things first. Your initial reaction when Rajai Davis hit the Game 7 homerun? 

CHRISTOPHER SCHLEYHAHN Here we go the Cubs are a cursed team.


MMB: During that final game of the World Series there
was an infamous 17 minute rain delay. That must have felt like an eternity. What was going through your mind at that time?
CS:  Are we gonna be the same sorry losers like we have been for the past 108 years or are we gonna pull off the impossible? My nerves were shot and I was biting past my fingernails into my skin during that rain delay.


MMB: Could you try and put into words how you felt when Bryant threw over to Rizzo, ending the World Series? You witnessed something that entire generations of Cubs fans can’t say they did. Bartman. The goat. It goes on and on. How important was that championship for Chicago?

CS: Well, I thought it was gonna be a throwing error because it looked liked Bryant slipped. When Rizzo caught it though, it felt like time itself stopped; like did that really just happen? I cried for a minute; I was so happy. No more Bartman jokes, no more goat jokes, and no more 108 year jokes. We are champions! It was so important. All the fans who spent hours,money and energy to watch them earned it the moment Rizzo caught it from Bryant.


MMB: How much of the Cubs recent success do you attribute to Theo Epstein?

CS: A lot. He pulled the strings and put the pieces together. Jed Hoyer deserves credit too, but without Theo we wouldn’t have some of my favorite Cubs: Rizzo,Bryant,Lester,Maddon etc.I say he’s a God to Cubs fans.


MMB: What’s the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry like nowadays? St.Louis has been pretty active this off-season; do they worry you going into this year?

CS: It’s great. The Cubs have owned the Cards the last 2 years. No, they don’t worry me. It should be fun going to down to Busch this year. It’s a good atmosphere when the Cubs are in town, because half the fans are Cubs and it makes it fun.

MMB: What is one area in which you feel like the Cubs need to improve?

CS: The bullpen mainly. There are some questions about the bottom of the rotation but time will tell.

MMB: Who’s a player that you feel is really gonna turn heads in the future? He can be in the minors or already on the big club.

CS: Albert Almora. His glove is amazing and his offense has a lot of potential. I say he has the potential to be a 5 tool player.

MMB: Your thoughts on Joe Maddon?

CS: He’s the best in the MLB. He’s had a 97 win, a 103 win and a 93 win season. He’s had 3 nlcs appearances and a WS title.

MMB: Give us your 2018 Cubs prediction.

CSI think we will win our 3rd consecutive N.L central title. Our bullpen has to be better than last year. We ran out gas against the Dodgers. Overall, we should be a good team.


MMB: How cool of an experience is it to watch a game at Wrigley Field?

CS: For a Cubs fan, it’s Heaven on earth. It just makes you feel happy inside.

MMB: Finally, a two part question. Who is your favorite Cub ever? 

Must win game. Which Cub, past or present do you want on the mound?
CS: Anthony Rizzo! I grew up on Sosa but he crushed me when he got caught with a cork and I haven’t liked him since.
Must win game? This is a tough one. I’d go with Jon Lester. He’s been lights out for the Cubs and Red Sox in crucial situations. He doesn’t fold under pressure.

This is fantastic.

Ok. Last but not least..

Jeff Osborn

Jeff, like Christopher is a 24 year old Cubs fan. Jeff is a great baseball mind and knocked these questions out the park.


MOSTLY METS BLOG: First things first. Your initial reaction when Rajai Davis hit the Game 7 homerun? 

JEFF OSBORN: For game 7 I was at a bar in Wrigleyville on Clark street, which is about a block from Wrigley Field. I got there around 5 and paid $40 to get in,
the atmosphere was electric. I remember the hitter before Davis hitting a double and I was freaking out because the tying run was coming to the plate. When he tied it with one swing I was in complete shock and I thought, “here we go again.” To this day, I have not rewatched that home run.



MMB: During that final game of the World Series there was an infamous 17 minute rain delay. That must have felt like an eternity. What was going through your mind at that time?

JO: The 17 minute rain delay felt like 2 hours and I kept thinking that work the next day was going to be the worst. There was no way was I leaving the bar though. I also thought the rain delay was going to help the Cubs regroup because all the momentum had swung to the Indians.


MMB: Could you try and put into words how you felt when Bryant threw over to Rizzo, ending the World Series? You witnessed something that entire generations of Cubs fans can’t say they did. Bartman. The goat. It goes on and on. How important was that championship for Chicago?

JO: At first, I thought it was going to be a hit, but then I saw Bryant scoop itup and almost air mail the throw. The first thing I thought about was my mom who’s a life long Cubs fan and I couldn’t imagine how she felt. Beer was
getting thrown everywhere and I was
soaked in it, but it was the greatest shower I’ve ever taken.
People were climbing light posts
outside and there were so many people walking to Wrigley Field to get a picture of the marquee that said 2016 World Series Champions. Everyone was honking, waving the W flag and jumping in excitement. The party lasted all night and I got maybe 2 hours of sleep.

MMB: How much of the Cubs recent success do you attribute to Theo Epstein?
JO: The person I give the most credit to is Tom Rickets. He bought the team in 2009 and changed everything. He’s a lifelong Cubs fan and even met his wife
in the bleachers so he knows the fans 
pain. He developed a plan and got Theo in October of 2011. Besides Tom Rickets, Theo is the reason for the success of the Cubs. He has completely changed the culture of the organization. It’s
going to be sad when he leaves because I don’t know if I’ll ever see a run like this again. He truly is a genius when it comes to running a baseball operation.

MMB: What’s the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry like nowadays? St.Louis has been pretty active this off-season; do they worry you going into this year?
JO: The Cubs-Cards rivalry is a lot different now because the Cubs
have had their number the last 3 years. I honestly don’t think Cardinal fans
know how to handle the Cubs’ recent success. The roles are definitely now
reversed. I’ve had a number of their fans tell me the Cubs will fall soon and I
think it’s just wishful thinking. The Cards are a first class organization and
will be better this year but am I worried about them? Nah, not at all. The
rivalry should intensify even more this year which will be great for baseball.

MMB: What is one area in which you feel like the Cubs need to improve?
JO: The Cubs definitely need to improve their pitching. The one
struggle for Theo has been developing pitching. He’s made great trades for
pitchers, (Arrieta, Hendricks, etc) but he’s only had one drafted pitcher make
it to the majors. He’s made great strides and has put most of his focus on
pitching. Most of their top prospects are pitchers so I think it’ll turn around
soon.

MMB: Who’s a player that you feel is really gonna turn heads in the future? He can be in the minors or already on the big club.
JO: My favorite Cubs prospect and the one who I think has the
most upside is Jose Albertos. He’s a 19 year old pitcher that the cubs signed
out of Mexico 2 years ago. He’s relatively unknown because he’s only pitched in rookie ball and short season. The Cubs have also been very careful with him and even shut him down in 2016 after 1 start due to forearm soreness. At age 17, in his first start for rookie ball in Arizona he sat 95-97, had an advanced change and shows the ability to spin a breaking ball. He also has good size so
durability shouldn’t be an issue. He should begin the year in Low A so I expect
the word about him to get out.

MMB: Your thoughts on Joe Maddon?
JO: I love Joe Maddon, and I think he’s the perfect manager for
this Cubs team. He’s great with young players but can also relate to the older
players. He keeps things lose and fun. He gets a bad rap for some of his in-game bullpen decisions, but I think that’s blown out of proportion. He could improve on that, but there’s not another manager I’d want for this team.

MMB: How cool of an experience is it to watch a game at Wrigley Field?
JO: It’s honestly the best place to be. There’s nowhere better
to be on a hot summer day then the bleachers at Wrigley. If you’ve never gone
to a game, I’d recommend a Friday or Saturday afternoon game in the bleachers
and definitely stop at the bars on Clark street. With the renovations going on
it’s made the ballpark even more fun, but it still carries all the history of
the 100+ year old ballpark. When there’s a Cubs game going on, it’s a huge
party in Wrigleyville.
MMB: Give us your 2018 Cubs prediction.
JO: I think the Cubs will win over 90 games and take the NL
Central for the 3rd straight year. Anything can happen in the playoffs, but I
expect another deep playoff run with a World Series Championship. Pitching will be the key, but I think some of these young hitters could really take off.
They’re starting to gain some much needed experience and the new addition of hitting coach Chili Davis should only help.

MMB: Finally, a two part question. Who is your favorite Cub ever? 

Must win game. Which Cub, past or present do you want on the mound?
JO: My favorite Cub of all time is Kerry Wood. I was a pitcher
myself when I played in my younger days and Wood was my idol. I’d pick him in a must win game. That 20 strikeout game is the most dominant pitching performance I’ve ever seen. His upper 90’s fastball and knee buckling curve was unhittable. It’s unfortunate injuries derailed his career. Kris Bryant is my favorite Cub now. Besides his talent, he’s a great role model for kids and is a fantastic person to have as the face of the Cubs.



Ok. You heard it here first.

If these guys are right we will see the Cubs playing deep into October.
Also keep an eye out for Wilson Contreras, Albert Almora, and Jose Albertos.


I just want to thank Billy, Chris, and Jeff again. This was awesome.

Hope you enjoyed this trip to Wrigleyville.






 
 


 

 


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