As usual, the Chicago CUBS won't win many games—not as long as they are unproven on the mound and lack punch in the lineup. But there's hope for the future with the arrival of club president Andy MacPhail, who assembled two World Series champs in Minnesota, general manager Ed Lynch and manager Jim Riggleman. Having had five managers already this decade, Chicago needs stability more than anything else.
Lynch is a personable, engaging guy—the exact opposite of predecessor Larry I limes, who alienated many of the players. Riggleman is a sturdy, hard-nosed manager who will bench a player for not hustling.
The Cubs won their first six exhibition games, thanks in part to the inspired play of centerfielder Brian McRae, whose salary the Kansas City Royals unloaded for two minor leaguers on April 5. Chicago, though, won't score enough runs to finish over .500—it has done that only three times since Leo Durocher was manager in 1972—so be patient, Cub fans.
The same goes for followers of the near-penniless Pittsburgh PIRATES, whose rotation is so green that the lour most experienced starters have 55 major league wins combined. However, Pittsburgh expects new centerfielder Jacob Brumfield, 29, to provide a spark from the leadoff spot. He batted .311 in a part-time role last year with the Reds and was acquired in a trade for a minor league outfielder.
Brumfield, whose last name is pronounced Brumfield, is believed to be the first major leaguer to go by the given name Jacob. "I get letters from Jewish people all the time," says Brumfield, who is not Jewish. "People want to know where I'm from, where my family comes from. Its funny."
His former general manager, Bowden in Cincinnati, believes Brumfield can hit .270 with 40 steals as a regular. While Brumfield will be a key starter in Pittsburgh, he would have been only the sixth outfielder in Cincinnati. That tells you all you need to know about the Pirates—and the Reds.