Chicago Cubs: The team that stays together, wins together

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

When the Chicago Cubs’ Theo Epstein came to Chicago, I don’t know that he envisioned it like this. Then again, maybe he did. Keeping the same group of players together is something his mother would be proud of.

It might have been a stroke of luck for the Chicago Cubs‘ Theo Epstein. But I highly doubt that. As the Cubs selected players throughout the rebuild, they seem to “peak” at the same time. Players don’t come around together as the Cubs did. And they weren’t several years off of each other. Within a three-year span, the Cubs were assembled as a group–and have stayed that way.

Epstein believes that is what makes this team special. It’s not bringing in the highest-priced free agent (although that doesn’t hurt), but keeping guys together, building unity. The infield is virtually intact from last season. The outfield has had a bit of a change, but with Kyle Schwarber, Albert Almora and Ian Happ being thrown into the mix with Jason Heyward— but it’s a good thing.

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A throwback to his mother

He considers it an homage to his mother, Ilene Epstein. When she was young, she was a huge fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 40’s and 50’s. She knew every player. And she could because they were together for so long. That’s what Epstein wants to do in Chicago.

"“We have a chance to replicate what they did in Brooklyn,” Epstein said, “which is pretty rare. Today it’s a mercenary age, but we have a run of possibly seven years."

Staying together

Often times, you’re lucky if you get a run of two or three years with the same players. The Cubs might get six or seven, and then three or four from the starting pitching staff. Granted, they all have to stay healthy and win. But together, they have a bond that can’t be broken.

It’s also why he feels the Cubs bounced back from last years early season doldrums to win the division. But while the Cubs thought that they had a good approach to deal with the winning and what that brought, they did not.

"“I thought we did a pretty good job preparing,” Epstein said. “And we also utterly failed. Human nature is undefeated.”"

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But this is why keeping the same group of guys together is so important. It’s the guys that you win with, or lose with. It’s the ones that have seen your struggles and are there to help out. There’s a reason that when people in Cubs nation has turned there back on Schwarber, Heyward or Baez–the team does not. They stick by their teammates through it all.

After winning the World Series the previous year, the 2016 Royals, the ’15 Giants, the ’14 Red Sox, the ’13 Giants didn’t even make the postseason. The Cubs came within a few games of it–again. It wasn’t a perfect year as it was in 2016, but I’ll take that over not even making the playoffs.