The homestand to open the season for the Chicago Cubs has not been easy. As a matter of fact, brutal is the appropriate term. Being a target means taking hits.
Can you feel it? The Chicago Cubs bandwagon is getting lighter. Those fans that jumped on in the latter parts of 2016 are starting to fall off. Sure, the first homestand of the season did not play out on the field as we had hoped in our minds. Well, at least not until the later innings of the last two games.
And, yes. All Cubs fans are showing frustration. Just log in to Twitter and see the millions of fans that are feeling every at-bat. It is in our blood and hearts. We live through this team. But when a target is laid out, expect hits to come.
Embrace the bad
If you are a true fan of the Chicago Cubs, you come into each season with a bag full of emotions. Anxiety latent hope, intertwined with gut-wrenching fear of the probably collapse. Still, we watch. We watch every game our schedules allow. And if we can’t watch, we are sure to log on to the interwebs and find a box score, highlights, or recap and feed our need for hope.
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In 2016, one of the mottoes manager Joe Maddon prescribed was “Embrace the Target.” The purpose of a target is to sharpen the eye – the aim – of a practitioner. If one were to “embrace” the target, it means they get it, too. The Cubs are taking hits.
The season is only two weeks old, and the team’s record is in a place if never saw last year. As a matter of fact, the last time the Cubs were below .500 was on April 10, 2015. Two years of winning, and that is not enough to cure or ease the emotions that pervade fans.
The Chicago Cubs are going to be fine. Kris Bryant will hit. So will Ben Zobrist. Their career numbers show that to be possible. The starting pitching is solid yet again. There are some defensive issues here and there, but Kyle Schwarber, Jon Jay, and Albert Almora are new to these positions for the team. There is an adjustment period that the team must go through.
While watching the game on Monday night, I heard fans “boo” the team. Personally, I want to think they were saying “blue” in a new cheer from the Cubs. It hurt to hear fans vocalize their disapproval for the team, but it is their right. And the team is not living up to expectations, yet.
But, this is all new. To the Cubs players, management, staff, fans. This is territory that very few – if any – of us ever witnessed. Not since the early 1900’s has the team appear destined for dynastic dignity. The slow, yet sudden, rise to success under the eye of Theo Epstein is still fresh. We knew this day was coming but did not expect it.
So, my fellow Cubs fans, I offer these words: Breathe, watch, drink, enjoy. The party for 2016 is the only thing that is complete. This team will improve. This team will win more games. They will compete for the NL Central. They will make the playoffs. Give them time to adjust to the new. Stay strong and expect a few hits.