Cinderellas dream of wearing World Series crown

Thu Mar 31, 2016 3:24pm EDT
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By Larry Fine

(Reuters) - The Kansas City Royals won their first World Series in 30 years last season but that wait could seem fleeting if the Chicago Cubs write their Cinderella story in the 2016 Major League Baseball campaign.

The Royals and New York Mets, who battled in last year's Fall Classic, meet to launch the season on Sunday and could well return to glory, but it is Chicago and their drive to end a 107-year drought who are the darlings heading into the campaign.

The young, slugging Cubs made Cinderella hearts beat fast last year as they reached the National League Championship Series before being swept away by the Mets.

Bolstered by moves from an aggressive management team, the Cubs are favorites to win the World Series.

Outfielders Jason Heyward and Dexter Fowler have been added to the mix, a big boost both offensively and defensively, along with versatile Ben Zobrist.

The Cubs' one-two starting pitching punch of Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester is now a terrific trio with the addition of John Lackey.

With emerging young hitters Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Kyle Schwarber back for another run-fest at Wrigley Field, optimism is high in Chicago's North Side that they can fend off their NL Central rivals.

Yet the old baseball adage that good pitching stops good hitting might ultimately trump the Cubs.   Continued...

Mar 29, 2016; Mesa, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber (left) is congratulated by teammates after hitting a home run in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics during a spring training game at Sloan Park. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports