Legends On Deck

Just Wait Til Next Year, Cubs Fans!

Cubs Win NLCS

Photo by: Jonathan Daniel, Getty Images

Everything is different now.

Sure, the disappointment sets in, but it’s much less severe. In the past, these Cubs losses stung with the weight of history. Tonight it’s tempered by the promise of the future. 1984, 1989, 1998, 2003, 2007, and 2008. It didn’t just hurt to lose in those seasons; the real pain was in knowing this was our shot, our one and only foreseeable chance, and again we’d come up short.

Overpriced veterans, disconnected management, and belief in a crazy old wives’ tale about a magical goat that controls the outcome of baseball games…these were the demons who haunted the faithful in 1984, 1989, 1998, 2003, 2007, and 2008. “Wait til next year,” we’d say, in a half-hearted attempt to hide our misgivings about an all too familiar bleak future. Well, the slogan remains the same, but the sentiment is vastly changed. Just WAIT TIL NEXT YEAR, Cubs fans!

These kids managed to overachieve so fantastically in 2015 that even in losing, they have reversed the curse. Sure, this series had its share of Cubby moments…a dropped third strike resulting in a game-winning run? Only the Cubs. Not to mention a guy named Murphy had the week of his life on our watch.

Murphy, for the uninitiated, happens to have been the name of that baseball loving, hex-casting goat. Murphy’s owner, Billy Sianis, is the proprietor of the Billy Goat Curse, proclaiming upon his and Murphy’s ejection from Wrigley Field during the 1945 Fall Classic, “Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more.” The curse, at its core, was never about the World Series. Lore and futility have converged to make that the common belief, but it just isn’t so. The Cubs, THESE Cubs, are going to win some more. They’re going to win a lot more.

Schwarber and Rizzo

Photo by: Rob Vesely/Getty Images

A projected .500 ball club in April, our Cubs finished 32 games over that mark at 97-65. We watched Anthony Rizzo ascend to the ranks of baseball’s elite. We saw the emergence of dynamic rookies Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Kyle Schwarber, and Jorge Soler make an immediate and decisive impact. We witnessed Jake Arrieta throw the most dominant stretch of baseball the game has ever seen. We hung on every pitch as he beat the Pirates to send us to St. Louis. And then we partied in the street when our big bats boomed and sent the Cardinals home in the first round.

And then…and then we played bad baseball too many days in a row. The Mets bested us and won the National League pennant on our field. But this time, this time the disappointment is not so crippling. There is no hopelessness about the future. This time we congratulate the Mets and anxiously await the spring.

Our exciting rookies are now exciting everyday Major Leaguers, and they possess that most dangerous of baseball commodities: they’ve been there. So as the book closes and we thank these guys for the magical season that was 2015, I, for one, cannot wait til next year.

Magic number is 174. ‪#‎LetsGo‬

Staff Writer
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