MESA, Ariz. -- The last team to repeat as World Series champions was the Yankees, winning three in a row from 1998-2000. Could the Cubs be the next to do so? Jon Lester says they may be naive and cocky enough.
"What makes the Yankees so special is they were able to do it year in and year out," Lester said Friday. "It's just hard. Teams are better across the board. It's a hard thing to win one, let alone do it two in a row. All we can do is play hard and do the little things like we do in Spring Training to get better and see what happens in the season."
Lester, 33, won the World Series in 2007 with the Red Sox and again in 2013. How are the 2017 Cubs different?
"I think just youth," Lester said. "Our big guys are so young. They're naive to the situation and just go out and play. Older guys like me and [John Lackey] kind of go slow, and try to take it easy in Spring Training and just be ready to go come April. These guys are ready to go day one, as usual. I think that's the biggest thing for us, and the biggest positive on our side is that we have so many young guys who aren't banged up and don't have as many innings or at-bats under their belt, and it makes it easier on them to rebound and come back and be ready to go."
"With our young guys, they're cocky enough and naive enough at the same time to just go out and play and not worry about anything," Lester said. "You see everybody has a little pep in their step coming into Spring Training being champs. That's good to see, they deserve that. At the same time, when it's time to work, you can see them flip that switch and go back to work."
The 2008 Red Sox were ousted in a seven-game American League Championship Series by the Rays, and the 2014 team didn't reach the postseason.
"I think every year is so different," Lester said. "I don't think you can put a blueprint out there and say, 'Hey, this is how you repeat.' I think we just have to prepare and play like we did last year."
That means play solid defense, have the best pitching staff in the National League, and continue to get the job done on offense, which the Cubs did en route to winning 103 games in 2016. Lester also is realistic.
"I hope everybody has the same year they did last year, and that would be really awesome, but that's not baseball," Lester said. "There will be some ebbs and flows."
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.