Besides the bevy of new faces on the 2007 Chicago Cubs, the club is also reported to be sporting a little swagger.
Now swagger is usually the by-product of accomplishment, and if the Cubs do have or plan to have it, it has to be more than lip service.
A good sign that the Cubs are doing more than flapping their gums are reports from the desert of the work ethic being exhibited. It seems that Piniella and his charges are of the attitude that if 50 ground balls is good, then 100 ground balls are better and he seems to have chosen just those type of taskmasters for his coaching staff. Piniella has also gone on record that hitters with notoriously slows starts at the plate will get extra ABs this spring in the minors. It won't matter if your name is D. Lee or Joe Smow, the theme of this training camp seems to be, whatever it takes to get you prepared to start the season in full stride. Sweet Lou has already sent the message loud and clear about playing time once the season starts as well, stating if you're not 100% expect your ass to be riding the pine until you are.
This work ethic is a welcome surprise and greatly appreciated by the fans from the city of big shoulders. Piniella's tongue and cheek humor is also an indication that although he's serious about winning, he knows you have to keep your guys loose and have some fun. His pedigree was evidently forged not only from his success as a player but from his time spent and observations with successful organizations like the Yankees.
It is certainly a legitimate question if the Cubs have the necessary talent for playoff success, but the success or failure of the team won't be determined because they were not prepared.