Faceoff: Cubs, Sox chatter

Chicago White Sox’s Paul Konerko doubles against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the second inning of a spring training baseball game, Friday, March 16, 2012, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

By Sean Anderson and Matt Hopkinson

Matt Hopkinson: Well, Sean, baseball season is around the corner. Opening day hope springs eternal for Cubs fan, and mistrust and skepticism from White Sox fans. While I watch both teams, to avoid a Capulet/Montagues situation, we’ll go with I’m a Sox fan and you’re a Cubs fan. I think the Sox have more talent on paper, and that their level of performance will trump the Cubs in their rebuilding stage this year. Where do you stand?

Sean Anderson: I’m a die-hard Cubs fan, and all Cubs fan say next year is the year, but I know it won’t for three to five years just to make the playoffs. I feel the Cubs have quite of bit of talent, but of course, it all matters if they can produce. One good thing the Cubs have going for them is that Carlos Zambrano is gone.

MH: I agree that the long-term view of the Cubs franchise appears to be much more successful than the White Sox. The Sox have no farm-hands of note to speak of. Cubs fans will probably still show up no matter what, but Sox fans want results, and they will need to produce this year and produce well for their attendance to back their bloated pay-roll. I think that the Sox have more weapons at their disposal to find success, and are in a much more pressing need of doing so than the Cubs. Where do you stand on your team from it’s leader to it’s 25th bench man this year?

SA: For the leader for the Cubs, it has to be Marlon Byrd since they really don’t have anyone else with much experience. That is one thing the Cubs will be missing from last year with Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena gone. I am jealous the Sox have Paul Konerko; he’s one of the best leaders in all of baseball. It will be very interesting with the Cubs under new manager Dave Sveum.

MH: I think the absence of Ozzie Guillen and the presence of a seemingly more even-keeled manager will only benefit a club consisting of largely veteran players who don’t need the stress Ozzie brought with him. I think Robin Ventura is an interesting hire with no coaching experience, but a very successful major league career. Unlike someone like Sveum who was more of an every-man player. I think with the improvements of the Reds, the Cubs will be fighting just to be competitive with the Pirates. So what’s the factor that allows this year to be the year?

SA: The factors that can allow the Cubs to do anything has to be pitching. I thought the Cubs made a terrible move by trading Sean Marshall to the Reds of all teams. Last year, the Cubs lost two starters for almost all the season. We were one of the last placed team in pitching. Another thing that the Cubs need to do to win is getting key hits from everyone.