The Chicago Cubs are no longer in contention but could have been if these things would not have happened. What derailed this season for the Cubs?
When the season ends abruptly like it did this year for the Chicago Cubs, fans like to look back at what caused the team to not reach their goal. What were some of the major hurdles this year that caused the Cubs path to alter from a first-place team in contention to a team that failed to even make the Wild Card game.
Each one of these stumbles is like a Cubs-Watergate scandal which ultimately took the team down. Without further ado, here are the top five storylines that impacted the team this year.
5. Addison Russell domestic abuse controversy – Chicago Cubs second baseman Addison Russell’s controversy carried over from last season and reared its ugly head early as fans and the team were not concentrating on what was happening on field as much as off in the newspapers.
MLB issued its ruling on the matter and Russell accepted a 40-game suspension without pay for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy.
At the same time, normal society was blowing up as all kinds of famous people were being called-out for how they treated women. The ‘Me Too’ movement came to fruition just about the same time Russell is supposed to return to the Cubs. By the end of April after 30 days gone from the Cubs, the Cubs were three games behind the St. Louis Cardinals with a 15-12 record.
The first article written by the Chicago Tribune’s Pat Sullivan about Russell’s return was titled, “Addison Russell returns to boos at Wrigley Field while the Cubs deal with yet another off-the-field crisis”, just about tells the story of what the focus was at the time.
Imagine if there were no controversy and the Cubs were just playing baseball with Russell? Could it have meant some more wins and made the difference? Either way, the infielder’s absence, especially at the beginning of the season, was a season-changer for the Cubs.