Chicago Cubs: No ramping up period for Maddon’s Cubs
This group never really experienced a full rebuild – at least not under Maddon’s guidance. The former Tampa Bay skipper came in and took this team from last place all the way to the NLCS in his first season.
Chicago immediately went from bottom-feeder to eyes on the prize. This is not normal and I believe has had a negative impact on fans, as a whole. This new group never had a season where they came just short of success. In year one, this team had the third-best record in baseball, knocked out the two teams with better regular season records, and finished as one of the final four teams left at the end. The expectations for domination were set. Take the Houston Astros and Kansas City Royals for example, two of the other recent ‘rebuilds’ in baseball that have resulted in championships.
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Kansas City went 72-90 in 2013, followed by an 86-76 mark the next season. Fans were optimistic about the rebuild but they still hadn’t experienced great success. In 2014, the Royals made it all the way to the World Series but lost in Game 7. In 2015, they made it all the way back and won it all, thus completing a successful rebuild in bringing a championship home. Since then, the Royals haven’t finished a season over .500.
Houston looms as another example. In 2014, they went 70-92. The next year showed promise, as they finished 86-76 and lost in the ALDS. As the Cubs rolled to their first Fall Classic since 1945, the ‘Stros went 84-78, altogether missing the postseason. But, as we know now, it all came together last year, when they took down the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games to capture the first World Series championship in franchise history.
Rebuilds take time and often there is halted development and patience needed as teams develop. Houston and Kansas City both won championships, but fans had to be patient with their teams before they got to bask in the glory. The Cubs and their fans haven’t needed patience with Joe Maddon. Fans can get flustered when the Cubs hit slumps at certain points in the season, but overall, they don’t last for long.