Cubs Hall of Famer Billy Williams surveyed the newest edition of the team from the dugout before Sunday’s opener, taking in the massive new video board and perhaps an even bigger buzz around the team.
“I like what’s happening here,” said Williams, referring to the young hitters starting to come through the system and the veterans added over the winter.
Asked if it reminded him of any past Cubs teams, he said, “I would say the ’84 guys. When we got [Rick] Sutcliffe. That’s when things got going. We had the pitching, Rainbrow Trout, Scott Sanderson. And of course, you had [Ryne] Sandberg, [Leon] Durham, Jody Davis.”
One of the big similarities with that division winner and this team, he said, was the addition of a leadoff-hitting center fielder in Dexter Fowler.
“That team had Bobby Dernier in center [and leading off], that’s why it’s so important. …
“And another thing,” Williams added after a brief pause, “We got the best damn manager in baseball. Look at his history in Tampa Bay – he won every year, like that football coach in Miami who won every year [Don Shula].”
Of course, Joe Maddon’s no Jim Frey.