Last week I wrote about my hope for the 2011 Cubs. For the first time in a long time, I look at the Cubs organization and see reasons to be optimistic about their short and long-term future.

Almost immediately after posting that story to Facebook, I got a message from one of my college buddies—and fellow long-suffering Cubs fan—that was, uh, not so optimistic. He stopped short of calling me a total idiot, but did suggest rather strongly that I needed to immediately go outside, turn around three times and spit.

It’s not that he thought I was an idiot for being hopeful, just for saying it publicly.

This is how most Cubs fans are wired. They are like that girl in high school who had her heart broken one too many times and overreacts at even the smallest male indiscretion. Everyone understands, but no one wants to be the next person to cross her.

Logic says I should be more guarded like my college buddy, but for me, hope springs eternal.

They won’t be on anyone’s list of favorites this season, but I think the Cubs can win the NL Central.

Here are five things that will help get the Cubs back on top.

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