By Matt Abbatacola-
CHICAGO (WSCR) With the 2011 season coming to a close and the Cubs hosting the first place Milwaukee Brewers, there seems to be a relaxed almost enjoyable mood in the air that surrounds Wrigley Field today.
It could be a sense of relief – happiness that a long difficult season is ending. The best the Cubs can finish this season is 76-86. That would require winning their final eight games of the year. Even if that happens, why the light-hearted mood?
The rise of young shortstop, Starlin Castro, or the emergence of Matt Garza at the top of the Cubs’ rotation isn’t enough for even the most casual Cubs’ fan to feel good about this season.
Maybe everyone involved with the Cubs knows something that I don’t.
The final home games of a team’s season brings everyone to the the ball park. From the “numbers guy” to the newly hired PR guru to the former general manager. The cameras were flashing and the smiles were bright.
When this team entered the 2011 season, they weren’t picked by anyone of a high baseball IQ to finish any where near the top of the NL Central (except me … yeah I’m the idiot). For once, the Cubs will actually meet expectations and finish around 70 wins.
Again, why am I picking up on all the good vibrations rattling through the nearly 100 year-old stadium/museum?
For a team entering the off-season with so many questions, the excitement level is so high today that one would think that the organization is making travel plans for the first-round of the playoffs.
Who will be the next general manager?
How will the funding process go to renovate Wrigley Field?
What baseball role with Tom Ricketts play for the future?
Will Crane Kenney remain with the organization?
If Mike Quade isn’t retained, who will be the next manager?
What if the GM is hired so late into the fall that his choice for manager isn’t available?
What is going to happen with Aramis Ramirez and who will make that decision?
Will Carlos Pena be back next year?
How will the Carlos Zambrano “issue” be resolved?
The one person that I didn’t see today was Tom Ricketts. Hopefully he was in his office trying to answer these questions or in the process of hiring the “right someone” who will.
Or maybe Tom was in his office wondering what he got himself into and no one told him there was a party going on at Wrigley today.
I guess the rest of the Cubs organization is happy that they don’t have to answer those questions – just when’s the first flight outta here?