The Chicago Cubs season ended nearly two months ago, but some fans can’t get past it – even doubting the team’s ability to keep winning games in 2019.
Over the past four years the Chicago Cubs have won 387 games, captured two division titles, made four playoff appearances, chalked up 19 playoff wins, and, of course, finally captured their long-awaited World Series championship.
After the Cubs made four World Series appearances between 1906 to 1910, they made the playoffs in back-to-back years only once in the next 100 years.
The Cubs are currently in the midst of their best run in over a century, and it’s not even close.
Fans fought back against reports calling for Joe Maddon to be fired, demonstrating they realize how vital he is to this team. Some are still hoping for Bryce Harper to come to town where he would surely upset the Bryzzo bromance. How should fans respond to this past season’s disappointing end?
During the Yankees’ run of 13-straight playoff appearances, the New York dynasty lost in the first round four times. The Braves failed to advance five times during their streak of 14-straight division titles. It happens.
Perhaps we should stop and gain some perspective and remember where the Cubs have come from over the past four years.
Though the Cubs finished the 2014 season with an uninspiring 73-89 record, many fans felt a reluctant optimism. Between Kris Bryant destroying minor league pitching and Anthony Rizzo enjoying a breakout season, there seemed to be hope on the horizon.
The optimism was reluctant because Cub fans have been burned by “potential” countless times in their history. From Corey Patterson to Felix Pie, Cubs fans have gotten their hopes up before only to have them shattered.
Rewriting the storylines in the NL Central
Following Joe Maddon’s arrival ahead of the 2015 season, the Cubs won a playoff series against the rival St. Louis Cardinals, solidified their young core, and seemed to turn the corner. Of course, the 2016 season would be the one fans had been waiting for their whole lives.
November 2, 2016, two years to the day of signing Maddon, the Cubs had finally reached the mountaintop, ready to become the latest MLB dynasty.
Just one year later the Cubs were bounced by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2017 NLCS. In response they quickly fired both pitching coach Chris Bosio and hitting coach John Mallee. A season removed from a World Championship, Cubs leadership decided to go in a different direction.
Maybe the brass was feeling the pressure. Former Cub manager Lou Pinella once said;
There is a lot of pressure on the Cubs to win. When you haven’t won a title in more than 100 years, the “goat” talk and the negative stuff begins to take its toll.
The ‘Curse of the Billy Goat’ may be dead, but Theo and Jed surely want to produce a dynasty. Are they feeling the burden to maximize their current window? Is it hard for Cubs fans to trust the process when they don’t see the results they expect?
The Cubs have an incredible young core with Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, and more. Some moves have not panned out as expected (Jason Heyward, Yu Darvish). The Cubs are still flush with cash and have some of the best leadership in the game. This run is far from over.
Joe Maddon says to never permit the pressure exceed the pleasure. Though the Cubs are in the midst of a two-year World Series drought, they are still well positioned to make the playoffs in 2019 and beyond.
Trust the process, and savor what’s in front of you. This is the best Cub organization possibly in their entire history. The Ricketts family has done for the Cubs what every lifelong fan has hoped would become a reality.
It’s time to relax Cub fans. This is what you’ve been waiting for. It’s happening. Just take a deep breath and enjoy the ride.