In a season that feels as if the Chicago Cubs are just going through the motions at times, playing in the Little League Classic is just what this team needs
The Chicago Cubs took place in the Little League Classic on Sunday night in Williamsport, and it was arguably the most fun game of the season. At times this team has received criticism, which I don’t particularly agree with, on the idea that they don’t care and aren’t enjoying playing the game that we all love.
Hopefully, Sunday helped change that narrative, as the atmosphere helped the players bring out the kids in themselves, and it was a blast to watch. In the thick of a tight division race and road woes that have been amplified, playing in this game is exactly what the Cubs needed.
The environment in Williamsport was nothing short of remarkable. Allowing the little leaguers to watch and pretty much be a part of a major league game is so beneficial for both sides. In the biggest tournament of their lives, these kids get to watch first-hand how the best in the business do it.
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This change of pace is so beneficial from the Cubs side, as well. Spending each day hearing criticism from the media and post-2016 fans about how they don’t want it enough, or that there’s something “off” with this group is nothing short of infuriating.
Without the bullpen woes (10 blown saves in the second half), this team is well on their way to a division title, so to critique the rest of the team as harshly as we do doesn’t seem fair. Letting the Cubs play a game away from their critics and in front of people who look up to and admire them is good for the mindset.
There were so many things on Sunday that showed us that the Cubs are having fun and love the game of baseball. Watching the guys sled down the hill using cardboard boxes, Anthony Rizzo giving his home-run ball to Team Japan while having Yu Darvish help translate, Jon Lester and Jason Heyward spending time sitting with some of the Little League teams in the stands, were just a few of the things that made Sunday so special and can only put a smile on your face.
Hearing the results of the poll that showed Little Leaguers favorite player is Javier Baez (over Mike Trout and Mookie Betts) was also refreshing to see. It makes us realize that the Cubs, along with Baez, is still a young and fun team with a ton of talent.
Watching this team play in a game centered around the kids was so important. Put away all the bullpen drama, the inexplainable road record, and just focus on having fun playing baseball. This atmosphere helped the Cubs win their first road series in over three months, mainly because the storyline wasn’t centered around that. Hopefully, this will help spark the team moving forward, and they can just focus on playing their game while drowning out all of the unwanted noise.
Heading into a crucial stretch at home against the Nationals and Giants, the Cubs are fortunate to be at home. I had more fun than I’ve had all year watching this team play on Sunday and I would love for this same energy to carry into the rest of the season. We all saw the bigger picture in Williamsport, and no other team needed that more than the Cubs.