I haven’t had to wait nearly as long as so many Chicago Cubs’ fans for a pennant. Regardless, what the team just did it more than surreal to me.
The Chicago Cubs are going to the World Series.
That sounds unbelievable, doesn’t it? For the first time since 1945, the Cubs have won the pennant. For the first time in 71 years, they will be playing in the World Series. With four more wins, the Cubs could win their first World Series since 1908 (!).
Although I am not even 20 years old yet, it feels like I too have been waiting for 71 years to see the Cubs in the World Series. Since becoming a baseball fan, I’ve seen the Cubs fall short of the ultimate goal more than one would like.
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Six outs away from the World Series in 2003? The team collapsed in Game 6 and failed in Game 7. 2007 and 2008? The Cubs were swept out of the first round, even though the finished 2008 with the best NL record. 2015 brought hope, but the Cubs’ bats went silent as they were swept out of the NLCS by the New York Mets.
After such a successful 2015 campaign, it was easy to be cautiously optimistic for the 2016 ball club. Not only did the majority of the 2015 team return (minus Starlin Castro), but the team arguably got better.
During free agency, the Cubs signed veterans Jason Heyward, John Lackey and Ben Zobrist. Heyward has struggled at the plate all regular season and postseason. On the other hand, Lackey and Zobrist have brought championship experience to a young ball club.
With those free agent additions, the Cubs improved drastically (despite having just six more victories than the 2015 team). With their 103 wins, Chicago entered the postseason as favorites to finally win a title.
Obviously, the Cubs still need four more wins to fulfill that reality. The franchise has a history of coming up short when it matters most, which is why this pennant is so surreal. After so many losing seasons or postseason failing seasons, the Chicago Cubs are finally in the World Series.
When a team has a championship drought, it begins to feel like an eternity since they last won a title. For the Cubs, though, that literally is the case. Generations upon generations of fans have come and gone since 1908 and never saw the Cubs get this far. With that being said, I feel extremely lucky to be alive right now.
Unlike so many fans who’ve come and gone, I get the chance to see the Cubs in the World Series. Unlike so many fans who have passed away, I could see the Cubs achieve ultimate success. In a way, it seems unfair that a 19-year-old gets to see this occur when lifelong fans passed away before they could.
What the Cubs just did being great, but the reality is they truly haven’t won anything yet. A pennant is great for this franchise, but their Spring Training goal wasn’t to only make it to the World Series. This team is here to win, just like the Cleveland Indians are.
Starting Tuesday night in Cleveland, the beginning of the end of a championship drought will get underway. The Indians actually haven’t won the World Series since 1948, although they made it there in 1995 and 1997. One long drought will end with a series win, which in turn will keep another drought alive.
The 2016 Cubs’ season has been a dream, and I’m ecstatic that it will continue for at least one more week. Here’s to hoping this magical ride continues, hopefully bringing a championship back to Chicago at long last.