Chicago Cubs: Be happy guys, things are pretty, pretty good

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 12: Members of the Chicago Cubs show off their World Series Championship rings before a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 12: Members of the Chicago Cubs show off their World Series Championship rings before a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

As they say in baseball, ‘there’s always next year.’ But sometimes ‘next year’ never comes. That’s why the Chicago Cubs cashing in their 2016 quest is nice.

Remember when the 2016 Chicago Cubs dominated baseball from basically start to finish in the regular season? They boasted the NL MVP, Kris Bryant, Manager of the Year candidate, Joe Madden, and multiple Cy Young candidates, Kyle Hendricks and Jon Lester. Not to mention a few gold glove winners.

Life was good, right? Life is good!

Of course, as nice as those awards on the shelf are, none of it really matters without the ring. The Cubs accomplished that, too, of course.

Lost in the moment

As further expectations and excitement spilled over into the 2017 season, a few of the cynics came out. The sluggish start, some would call a World Series hangover. Players not quite playing as expected, the injuries to the rotation, and at 5.5 games back of the Brewers at the All-Star break, some even pondered a sale of the team. At least the potential free agents at that time.

We all get it. Losing is not fun, regardless of what happened the year before. Fans want more!

Chicago Cubs
Chicago Cubs /

Chicago Cubs

Meanwhile, the other favorites around the league, the Cleveland Indians, were off their own World Series disappointment but looked every bit as good as a team that could get back to late October. They broke the record for the longest winning streak in AL history.

The Los Angeles Dodgers turned in a ridiculous stretch of their own, winning 43 of 50 at one point, and having such a comfortable lead in the NL West, it did not matter they lost 16 of 17 at another point in September.

Life comes at you fast

Flash-forward, the Indians blew another postseason lead, this time a 2-0 lead in the ALDS to the Yankees, and the Dodgers came up short against the Houston Astros in the World Series. The player awards aren’t at all bad, and the team-accolades are etched in history. But outside of the ring, they don’t really matter, do they?

When you think back on the Cubs 2017 season, it was a success in that they fought adversity all year to make it back to the playoffs and NLCS. They became the first defending champion to make it back to the LCS since the 2012 St. Louis Cardinals. Though it ended in disappointment, think about how much more agonizing it would have felt had they come up short in 2016.

Whether it was Cleveland faced with another disappointing finish and resulting offseason, or the Dodgers going from being dubbed as potentially the greatest team in MLB history?–to not winning the World Series, it just reinforces the notion that nothing is guaranteed.

Sometimes, you need a little luck

The Cubs, Dodgers, Indians, and Astros, plus a plethora of possible others, will fill someone’s World Series predictions list this March. That list might feature those same teams next year and the year after. But no one knows if either, any, can get back. Which is why baseball is great. Anything can happen!

Just as we all saw the Cubs slumber their way through a sluggish first-half, only to break out with the best second-half record in baseball, we also saw their bullpen struggles that plagued them. The intangibles can never entirely be accounted for. They’re never an exact, calculated science.

As good as teams look in April, July, and on October 1, too many variables occur throughout a season, and a lucky, or unlucky bounce is all it takes.

The 2017 season was trying at times, and frustrations boiled over. Going through it may not be fun, but the bigger picture, and as the Dodgers and Indians’ seasons proved, it’s pretty nice the Cubs cashed in their 2016 season. Who knows if preseason favorites ever make it back.

Next: Get ready for a full season from Jose Quintana

Remember, no matter what happens going forward, the Cubs are now perennial contenders, and life is good! It’s all you prayed for in 2012, ya know.

Disclaimer: We’re not saying the Cubs will, or won’t, win the World Series in 2018. We don’t know. This is just a reflection and an ‘oh yeahhh, the Cubs won the 2016 World Series.’