Beautiful Sloan Park in Mesa, Arizona, pictured above, is getting ready to welcome pitchers and catchers next Wednesday to start spring training 2020. The full squad is scheduled to report the following Monday February 17th. Weather is awesome, as right now it is a whopping five degrees warmer there, than at O'Hare Airport. Nothing says spring, like 33 degree temps.
There is going to be, and in fact, already is, many new things to keep an eye on and discuss this season. Today I wanted to get you primed for camp by bringing you a thumbnail overview of what we should be expecting this season, and what to watch for as camp rolls on.
I will be writing a complete 2020 Cubs preview later this spring, after the dust settles and the team becomes clearer. I will also be making my first trip to camp in early March, and will report back on how that went, and what I saw, during the fourteen minutes I wasn't hammered on the trip. And that fourteen minutes may be a generous guess.
In no particular order, here are some preliminary storylines to keep an eye on this season.
*A new manager and a staff reshuffle.
*Player moves so far and what to expect going forward.
*How has the division changed over the winter?
*New rules this season and how will it change the game.
*Umpires wearing mic's.
*I can't find the Cubs anywhere on TV, where the hell are they?
*The Marquee Sports Network and who is who.
* Who is playing where and can the Cubs make it back to the World Series in 2020?
There are plenty of meaty stories to think about, and to discuss, and the season hasn't even gotten started. The experts have already made their feelings known, and the Cubs are projected to finish somewhere between third and fourth in the Central Division. I think they'll be better than that and we'll get into all this later this spring.
Since the 2019 season ended baseball has been rocked by gigantic free agent signings, a major cheating scandal by the Houston Astros, surprise firings, and the commissioner doing everything he can to wipe out minor league baseball in hundreds of small towns across America. Why? Nobody but him knows and he isn't saying.
I'm still trying to figure out which of these stories is the biggest, and which one should I start the baseball season writing about. They all have their intrigue and interest. Normally a new manager and staff changes would be a lead story, but it seems like the fourth most important story right now. I feel like I need a couple more days to get things organized in my mind before diving into any of them.
Here at In My Opinion we also have some news for baseball fans this year and that is the addition of Tom Barnicle as our resident White Sox expert for 2020. The White Sox are positioned to be a serious factor in the American League Central Division this year and Tom's insight will be helpful in following what is going on over on the Southside. Look for his occasional reporting on these pages.
So, plenty of interesting things going on already, and I need to start getting into all of them, while still covering the Blackhawks playoff push which is ramping up, much to everyone's surprise. For many of us, spring training is the unofficial end of winter and start of spring. Everybody line-up for some soft toss to loosen up your arms.