Our Pledge To You


Real (and imagined) pessimism abounds for Cubs, White Sox

The Sox hope Chris Sale and Ken Williams don’t have any run-ins. | Jeff Chiu/AP

Like a bulldozer without a driver, the baseball season approaches. Nobody knows if it will plow a road to the World Series or grind off into the wilderness. Herewith, some concerns for the Cubs and White Sox:

Cub who will have a sophomore slump: Ben Zobrist. Oh wait, he’s a freshman.

Past gimmick that will come back to haunt the Cubs: Bill Veeck planting ivy along the outfield walls in 1937. Addison Russell will hit a ball into that thicket, and his two-out triple will be declared a ground-rule double, sending runner Dexter Fowler back to third in the ninth inning of the seventh game of the World Series, a 1-0 loss to the Blue Jays.

Future Joe Maddon stunt that will go horribly wrong: I know my colleague across the page, Rick Morrissey, would love to see more mimes. But let’s say Joe calls on the Jesse White Tumblers and they bound over home plate during practice, with the super-springy guy who goes last cannonballing into a seated Anthony Rizzo, who is playing with a pair of muzzled zoo hyenas. The bruised kidney plus fang lacerations, caused when a muzzle comes loose, puts Rizzo on the disabled list.

Weird injury that will do in the Cubs’ season: I would have said multiple bee stings to a star outfielder, but that already happened to Jason Heyward. So let’s go with a hot-foot to Kris Bryant’s pivot shoe, lit by a mischievous, recovering Rizzo. The resulting inferno fuses Bryant’s second and third toes as if epoxied.

Weird injury that will do in the White Sox’ season: Obviously, Adam Eaton will attempt a flying belly slide many yards from second base, skid over the bag and suffer a sports hernia as well as a painful ‘‘manhood’’ bruise.

Jon Lester has a bone chip in his (left) throwing elbow, so, yeah, nothing to worry about there: No problem. Lester’s home-run swing should be unaffected.

Date when the full implication of the Drake LaRoche leadership vacuum will hit the Sox: When it occurs there is nobody around to fix their Xbox settings, nor is anyone small enough to crawl through the ceiling vents and retrieve Todd Frazier’s rumored-to-be-corked bat from the locked umpires’ room.

The Drake LaRoche Curse — laugh through your uneasiness, Sox fans: This will haunt the Sox when only single men with no known offspring or only those with vasectomies and unwilling to adopt will play for the team. Plus, all children who enter the Sox’ clubhouse will be cursed with rotator-cuff tears before puberty.

Weakness for Cubs that could derail season: Slugger Kyle Schwarber not having the fielding chops to be a major-league catcher or left fielder, and the National League, sadly for Schwarbs, not having a designated hitter.

Weakness for Sox that could derail season: Ken Williams and Chris Sale meeting by accident in a dark pizzeria.

Future Donald Trump statement that will shake the Ricketts family to its core: ‘‘I was a terrific player at my prep school. There was nobody better, just ask my recently indicted-for-assault campaign manager. I’ll force these Nebraska cow farmers to sell me the Cubs and install myself because I am richer than them, and then build a wall from Chicago to Omaha. And make them pay for it!’’

Next new-age quote from Maddon that will have a fed-up Jon Lester and John Lackey tuning up their bow-hunting equipment: If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.

Muscle or tendon most likely to be torn on one of Schwarber’s mighty swings: The groin of a passing Uber driver, who dives from his or her car in pursuit of the ball that just shattered the Honda Civic’s windshield.

Pilates-loving Cubs pitcher most likely to come back to earth after Cy Young season and why: I don’t know why my fellow columnist thinks things such as Pilates and Richard Simmons and Shake Weights are funny. But if we’re talking Jake Arrieta, yes, I worry he will be returning to earth. Due to gravity.

Skinny Sox pitcher with the funky motion whose arm will finally give in to the laws of nature and fall off, probably in the ninth inning after 125 pitches: Drake LaRoche?

Strange occurrence that will unsettle the Cubs: Collector Grant DePorter successfully bids on Hector Rondon’s brain in mid-August.

Pitcher fielding fundamental that will cost the Cubs Game 7 of the World Series and bring darkness over the land: Lester throws toward first; ball ends up buried for years in right-field vines next to Russell’s ‘‘triple.’’

Act of God that brings down the huge video board at Wrigley Field: Trump’s orange hair is lifted off by a tornado that causes a rain of frogs to destroy all.

.176-hitting catcher who will cost the Cubs a title: I can’t figure which Cubs catcher is hitting that high.

Uber-talented Jason Heyward on a huge stage for the first time; you’re right to worry: Naturally.

Follow me on Twitter @ricktelander.

Email: rtelander@suntimes.com