Looking ahead to this year’s Cubs baseball, last night I once again participated in a roundtable podcast discussion of the NL Central with Ivie League Production, hosted by Daniel Shoptaw. A Cardinals fan, he assembles a fan from each team making up the division every year and it’s always fun to share expectations of your own ballclub as well as field questions from the other fans and kick around division expectations among the group.
Included below is an embedded version of the podcast which you can play here. Highlights include the impact of Theo Epstein, the debate as to whether Pujols and Fielder’s absence will make the division grow tighter in 2012, my thoughts on Dempster as the Opening Day starter, expectations regarding the final standings of the Central and overall storylines to look forward to this coming season.
I see the bullpen as a weakness, I’m behind the ‘year of the Cubs’ numbers coming down despite the fact that it directly correlates to my URL, I believe Theo is going to make a huge difference (who doesn’t?) and I believe aside from the Astros, the rest of the division will be decided in a tight race with only 89 wins needed to claim the division title. Also, given the extra wild-card in each league, while I feel the Cubs have a lot of work left to do, I could see them coming away with that extra wild card spot.
Watch out for the Pirates in 2012 to be the surprise team of the division and potentially not in the way you would expect. We discuss how the Cubs are slowly getting younger and what to expect with Soriano and Ian Stewart this season among other subjects. The guys involved are fun to listen to and it was a blast to talk about the upcoming season with them.
Here is the podcast. Press play and check it out! (You don’t have to wait long to hear my thoughts on the 2012 Cubs as I am the first writer out of the gate.)
Go Cubs Go! Opening Day is only 10 days away!