On Oct 13th, 2015, the Cubs defeated the Cardinals in Game 4 of the NLDS to advance to the NLCS for the first time since 2003. Obviously, this is an extremely exciting time for Cubs fans, having endured not only decades of mediocrity and underachieving, but more recently a complete franchise rebuilding which began in 2011 with only one assurance: It’s going to get far worse before it gets any better…
Enter 2015. It’s better. And it’s far better than most expected. And it’s ahead of schedule. And it’s here to stay.
Winning this particular series isn’t just a big deal because of advancing in the playoffs and becoming closer to the team’s first World Series appearance since 1945. It goes a bit deeper than that. Here’s why:
- Big brother has been defeated, finally. The Cubs/Cardinals rivalry, one of the oldest and best in all of baseball had one missing story: The two teams had never met in the playoffs, until this year. The 4-game set was everything it was hyped to be, with tight, dramatic, and wildly entertaining performances by both teams. While the Cubs were busy wallowing in the past 70 years, the Cardinals have grown to become the best team in the history of the National League and have been the gold standard in the division. For the present, at least, the Cubs got a little back. Little brother grew up and finally succeeded on the big stage. It feels great. It feels long overdue. It feels justified.
- The kids are alright. The plan when the rebuilding began in ’11 was to see improvement by ’15 and start winning in ’16. When you consider there is a brand new regime in place, a new manager, and starting several rookies, what the Cubs have done this year is downright incredible. In addition, going from 73 wins a year ago to 97, then a Wild Card victory, and following that up by beating your biggest rival in the NLDS, heads have turned, and for good reason. Oh, and in that mix you also will have the Manager of the Year, Rookie of the Year, and if there is any justice in the world, Cy Young. It’s impressive.
- Major League Baseball is ready for this. That’s right, it is. Baseball is ready for the Cubs to not be the old lovable losers anymore. It’s ready for a new kid on the block in the National League. It’s ready for the Cubs to get back to their success of the pre-1946 years when they were a regular contender. It’s ready for a feel good story about a club that was sick of all this crap, hit the reset button, started from scratch and rebuilt themselves the right way. It’s ready for all the ridiculous talk of goats, curses, black cats, and asinine jokes to finally be over, regardless of what little folklore may be detracted from the national pastime.
Sure there have been plenty of good Cubs teams since that last fateful World Series appearance of 1945. Most of which were plugged with veterans and short term free agents in an attempt to get a quick winning fix. Not this team. This Cubs team is built for sustained success, and the pipeline is still stocked. Remember what the Blackhawks did in 2007 when they decided to blow it up and start over? Different sport, same goal…