Major League Baseball is losing one of the best players to ever play the game this season in Derek Jeter. Jeter, who is set to begin his 19th season in pinstripes, announced this offseason that this would indeed be his final year in baseball. During his time, the New York Yankees have won five World Series Championships. He is looked at as one of the best shortstops of all-time, and arguably one of, if not, the best Yankee of all-time. Derek Jeter’s first game came on May 29th, 1995 which seems like forever ago. This was before the steroid age started in baseball, and before Barry Bonds broke Hank Aaron’s home run record. This was also right around when the Yankees started to dominate baseball. From 1996-2000, the New York Yankees won four World Series Championships. Along with being a huge contributor to those rings, Jeter is probably most respected because of his clean image. Playing in an era where steroids was dragging the sport down with all of the athletes who used it, Jeter was never involved with biogenesis or HGH. He was a clean player that was respected by all, yes even Red Sox fans!
As for the Chicago Cubs, things were a little bit different back in 1995. For one thing, Chicago didn’t and still doesn’t come anywhere close to the success level that the Yankees have had. The Cubs in 1995, just like today, were searching for their first World Series title since 1908. The curse of the billy goat was in full force, but thankfully Steve Bartman didn’t happen yet…. The Cubs finished the 1995 MLB season with a record of 73-71 which was good for a third place finish in the NL Central. Two very familiar players who played for the Cubs during this season were Sammy Sosa and Luis Gonzalez. On May 29th, 1995 the Cubs were playing a home game at Wrigley Field against the Atlanta Braves and they lost by a score of 2-1.
— Nick Konotopskyj
USA Today photo
Chicago Cubs starting shortstop Starlin Castro is out seven to 10 days with a right hamstring strain. It is a minor strain which shouldn’t keep him sidelined for the start of the regular season.
Castro had a very similar injury around this time last year, the only difference being this time it won’t keep him out as long. Castro had to be carried off the field last year when he was hurt and it was an injury that didn’t fully heal until the end of spring training.
This time around, he is expected to make a full recovery in about a week and get back onto the field before the end of spring training.
Cubs manager Rick Renteria said in an interview regarding the injury, “It’s seven to 10 days, and we’re just being cautious with him.”
Since Starlin Castro is one of the most important players on this team, it only makes sense that the Cubs medical staff waits until he is fully ready to come back. The injury occurred in the first inning on Sunday after he tried to steal second base. Current second baseman Darwin Barney and prospect Javier Baez will get more starts in place of Castro while he is sidelined.
The Chicago Cubs are a team that has been in the rebuilding phase for a few years, and this year is no different. They made positive steps last season by getting younger and developing the players who were in the minors. A last place finish in the NL Central at 66-96 certainly is disappointing, but that was expected.
The Cubs hired a new manager in Rick Renteria and now have Theo Epstein as their President of Baseball Operations for his second year with the club. Epstein is famous for turning around the Red Sox organization and ending their long World Series drought. The Cubs have had an even longer drought of 106 years without a World Series Championship, and it looks like that drought will continue at least one more year.
Some players to keep an eye on this season include top prospects Starlin Castro, Junior Lake and Anthony Rizzo. These guys will be the focal point to a Cubs offense that was ranked 28th out of 30 teams last season. Another area in which the Cubs will need to improve on this season is the starting rotation. They don’t have someone like Verlander or Kershaw who can carry a team; they do it by committee headed by Jeff Samardzija.
— Nick Konotopskyj
The Cubs will play in Mesa, Arizona for spring training this year. There are 452,084 people who live in the city of Mesa. Some of the main attractions in the city outside of baseball include the Arizona Museum of Natural History and Apache Trail. This is the first year of the new stadium, Cubs Park, and the stadium seats approximately 15,000 people. Cubs Park opened in February 2014 and the overall cost of the stadium was $99 million.
Nick Konotopskyj is a Sophomore Journalism and Mass Communications major at St. Bonaventure University. He is from Williamsville, N.Y. and is a graduate from Williamsville North High School. Nick continues to pursue a career in Broadcast Journalism. Nick also does work for SBU-TV.