Chicago Cubs: Return to World Series is Cubs goal
Following the whirlwind of winning the 2016 World Series, it was non-stop for the Chicago Cubs. Television appearances, SNL, commercials. Everybody wanted a part of it. But the Cubs paid the price for it, but now they’re ready to head back.
When Chicago Cubs‘ owner Tom Ricketts made his opening remarks to the team, it was a clear message that he sent. The Cubs want–plan–to go to the World Series again in 2018. Is the season a failure if they don’t? To some fans, it might be. But not to the Cubs. But it is the goal this season to head back to the October Classic.
Is the “hangover” of winning the World Series real? It hasn’t happened since the New York Yankees won their third-straight title in 2000. And when you look at the most recent “dynasty,” it has to be the San Francisco Giants. The Giants won it all in 2010, 2012 and 2014. They were in the playoffs again in 2016 but lost to the Cubs. Is it a coincidence it only happened every other year? Maybe not.
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The swagger is back
For Joe Maddon who’s in his fourth year of a five-year deal, he can feel the confidence coming off of these guys. It might have been there last season, but not like this.
"“You can feel (the interaction). There’s a conservative confidence about them, meaning there’s this mild swagger they don’t want to show but feel good about it. I like it.”"
That’s something that they lacked last season, at least in the beginning. Whether they would admit that or not is another thing. By the time they picked things up and caught the Milwaukee Brewers for the division, they were just about gassed. The beat the Washington Nationals in the NLDS (barely) but had nothing left for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Cubs are ready to go
This year, I would expect the Cubs to come out swinging. Figuratively and literally. The pitching staff has gotten a boost with Yu Darvish and Tyler Chatwood, and the bullpen on paper is much better than last year.
And the chances are that many players regressed last year, and that should change in this upcoming season. Kyle Schwarber, Addison Russell and, God willing, Jason Heyward, will have better years at the plate.
Ricketts’ is also aware that the fans expectations have changed. This might lead to some of them considering the season a failure if they don’t win the World Series, but he does understand it. Sort of.
"“I don’t blame them,” Ricketts said. “We should have high expectations. We have a great team.”"
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The positive for the Cubs is that instead of celebrating the victory in 2016, they went to work at getting better. Schwarber worked on getting leaner for this season. Ben Zobrist has focused on doing whatever it takes to win a title.
The Cubs should be the favorite to win the Central division this season, but that’s not without a challenge. The St. Louis Cardinals and the Brewers have both improved–but so have the Cubs. We won’t know what the Cubs have until they get out there for their first spring training game, which gets underway this Friday.