Spring Training 2020 has officially started Cubs are looking to make a statement this season. While the offseason was frustrating with no huge free agent signings, no Castellanos extension, goodbye to WGN, and all the attention on the goddamn Astros scandal; I still remained positive that 2020 will be a completely different Cubs teams than last year. We have a bit to unfold as Opening Day approaches. Here's my big takeaways for the 2020 Chicago Cubs.
1. David Ross taking over as Manager.
It was tough saying goodbye to Maddon but the team needed a change, especially in the clubhouse. I love Maddon just as much as the next Cubs fan except his only flaw is that he's too laid back. The clubhouse atmosphere wasn't the same as it was the past 4 years. David Ross is changing all that. The Cubs struggled in the beginning of games because of players not being loose or not ready to actually play baseball. It seemed like every game towards the end of the 2019 season that the Cubs would let up runs within the first 3 innings. As we heard from his introductory press conference, Ross talked about accountability (which I would say is one of the team's main theme for the 2020 season). Ross will make the clubhouse better than what it was in 2016 and make the team fun again, all while putting in the work and actually being a contender for the World Series.
2. Goodbye WGN.
All my life I've been watching Cubs games on WGN and Comcast Sportsnet. Whether it was right when I got home from school, the night games, or even when I was at work in the break room at 2:00. WGN was the best provider the team have ever had for over 70 years, and the Cubs decided to part ways and start their own network.
Marquee Sports Network, which officially launched this month, is providing Cubs baseball moving forward. I for one am not a big fan of this, mainly because they still haven't cut a deal with my cable company. Until then I'm either gonna have to find the games online, or listen to my guy Pat Hughes on 670 The Score. The only thing I do like about the new network is that Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies. Len and JD are the goats and are the best voices for the Cubs since the late great Harry Caray. I also appreciate Ryan Dempster and Lou Piniella being a part of Marquee Sports and giving their takes on the team. Two great Cubs giving insights and analytics is the content I need from this team. That and the new Office-style show "Cubs 162" providing the behind the scenes action and clips from inside the clubhouse.
3. Lastly, 2020 season predictions.
We all know that the 2019 season ended in a shit show and everyone thought the Cubs had a for sure spot in the playoffs in August. Things got messy and we basically shat the bed, but the 2019 season is over and we've moved on. I'd be lying if I said the Cubs are not making the playoffs. I'm putting down that we get 85 wins and sneak into the playoffs, I can totally see the Cubs making it to the NL Wild Card and being a favorite in September.
Plus on the upside, things are going to be different, one thing for sure is that there won't be any bullshit from David Ross. He came in knowing that he needs to be the one that changes the clubhouse atmosphere and the attitude of the team. One of his first moves is putting Kris Bryant at the top of the batting order, I for one like that move and to be honest I'd rather have KB than Jason Heyward batting the leadoff spot. Bryant averaged .282 had a OBP for .382 and SLG .521. He's the perfect guy to leadoff in 2020 and will make a huge difference for the team at the leadoff spot this season.
The final thing I have to say is I real hope Marquee Sports figures out a deal with the cable companies soon (Particularly Xfinity). It's already tough not having access to watch the spring training games and I can't imagine some sort of deal not being made before Opening Day.
Also I know the network cut a deal to stream games on Hulu but I sure as hell am not paying $55 per month for that shit.