"Baseball season's under way...."

...Cubs gonna win? Well, not today!
Hey, Chicago, ain't no way,
But 2015 will come some day!

Go, Cubs, go!
Go, Cubs, go!
Hey, Chicago, what'dya say?
2015 will come some day!

The 2013 season marks a milestone for my Cubs. By my reckoning, it will be the last true rebuilding year for the Men in Blue. Next year will be the equivalent of 1968- the year the wrinkles are shaken out, a few pieces are put in place, and things are readied for a return to what- contrary to what many seem to think- has in fact actually been the normal state of affairs in recent decades: one in which the Cubs contend for a division championship. And it will be one heck of a year for those of us here in Des Moines, where the Cubs have their Triple-A team!

Trey McNutt, Arodys Vizcaino, Chris Villanueva, Matt Szcur, Brett Jackson, Jorge Soler, and Javier Baez may not be familiar names right now. But they will be in 2015. I see Starlin Castro moving to third (unless Villanueva surprises everybody, in which case Castro may be traded or moved to the outfield). Baez- a better shortstop prospect than Castro- seems destined to be the Bruins' shortstop of the future. Some combination of Soler, Szcur, Jackson and Castro seem likely to compose a pretty effective young outfield. While there's nothing much wrong with Golden Glove second baseman Darwin Barney, Villenueva might take his place, ceding third to Castro after all.

Nothing much wrong with Anthony Rizzo, either. Wellington Castillo has yet to make his bones behind the plate, but the Cubs are deep there, and I'm not worried. McNutt will be a pretty darned fine closer.

The pitching staff will need work. That's where the free agent signings will come in. Since the Cubs are pretty much set at literally every other position, the Ricketts family fortune can be concentrated there, too.

This year, we ascend to the level of mediocrity. Next year, we turn a few heads.

And in 2015, we make our move with a young, solid, dynamic team which, for the most part,  has been brought up through the organization- and who knows? Theo Epstein may get another notch on his curse-breaking belt.

In the meantime, the prospect of success in the not-too-distant future will make watching the Cubbies this season a whole lot easier.

Scoff while you can, snide Cardinal fans and jealous Sox fans. The Cubs are coming for you!