Vince: It’s getting warmer and you can hear the crack of the bat! Baseball is coming back! The Chicago Cubs are getting ready to repeat, or try to defend that championship. The biggest question, which gave me warm thoughts this cold winter: can the Cubs repeat?
John: No, they will not repeat. The Cubs have become such a target that when a lot of tourists come to the park, let’s face it, it’s a distraction. Wrigley Field is not quite the homefield the way let’s say Dodger Stadium is. From an objective standpoint, don’t be surprised if the Mets sneak in this year and play the Boston Red Sox. To me the National League is where it’s at. The Mets are not only going to represent the National League but they will be the Wild Card. The Boston Red Sox have got it loaded. They picked up many key players in the off-season. As far as the division, the Cubs will probably win it again, but I don’t think they’ll win the World Series this year. They lost Dexter Fowler, who was the table server for the team this past year. I think they got rid of the wrong guy, if you ask me. Fowler can steal bases and field. I think the Cubs will have more errors this year. It won’t be pretty to watch. They could get someone new as a table setter, but as of right now I don’t see the Cubs as World Series Champs.
Russell: I’d like to see them repeat, but it’s hard to repeat. They are a nice team, but it’s hard, especially in the National League. You’ve got Washington, New York and St. Louis; it’s not going to be easy. No team has repeated in quite a while. It might be like John said, the New York Mets. When the Cubs played the Mets, the Cubs couldn’t beat them a couple of years ago. Teams like St. Louis are really angry and Washington is really mad because Bryce Harper wants his MVP back from Kris Bryant. I think it’s time for a change. I’ve got the Astros winning. Dexter Fowler was a big, big loss. He could run and steal bases. [Kyle] Schwarber doesn’t do a lot of that. That’s a big gap to fill. That’s how I feel now, what about you, Vince?
Vince: I’ve got the Cubs repeating. Dexter Fowler is unfortunately gone, but I believe Kyle Schwarber in the lead off space will change things a lot. Schwarber swings a mighty bat. Just watching the highlights of the World Series you can see when he came to bat a lot of magic happened. He will be a great leadoff, but in the field you’ve got to close your eyes because it’s not going to be pretty. I also believe that [right fielder Jason] Heyward is going to bounce back from a terrible offensive season. He’s going to contribute. I think there will be a dip in production from Bryant and [Anthony]Rizzo a little, but I think Heyward will make up the difference. A lot of guys will be coming after the Cubs. The Cardinals have revamped, they’ve got Fowler and they are going to come hard at the Cubs. The Pirates are not yet dead. The Reds are still in. You’ve got the Mets, who can go lights out and threaten the Cubs. The Dodgers are still strong, but remember the Cubs went 2-1 at Dodgers Stadium. With all those teams and all those threats, I think the Cubs are going to push through and repeat. I’ve got the Cubs to win it all, but in the American League I’m going to take the Boston Red Sox. Theo Epstein has the formula that can’t be beat for a while. He’s driven the Red Sox to the championships and even when he was gone they still won in 2013. Now that he’s here, he’s used the same formula and they’ve won. I think in the World Series we’ll have Boston Red Sox, Theo’s old team, and the Chicago Cubs, his current team. It’s going to be Theo Epstein’s past versus Theo Epstein’s present team. Boston will come against the Cubs and the Cubs will smoke them like a Cuban cigar. That’s how you do it!