Mere years ago, we salivated at what we believed to lie ahead. Now, the Chicago Cubs are once again searching for answers when it comes to what went wrong.
First, let me begin by saying. It’s no guarantee the Chicago Cubs are on the downhill. But it is clear the clock is ticking and what we recently thought could be a dynasty is standing on a mountain of unrealized potential after back-to-back disappointing seasons.
The end of the 2018 campaign still came on the heels of 95 regular season wins. Granted, the season ended in a flurry – with the rival Milwaukee Brewers coming to Wrigley Field and winning a winner-take-all Game 163 to claim the National League Division crown – and the Cubs subsequently losing in the NL Wild Card game, but 95 wins is nothing to sneeze at.
This year, though, was an entirely different story in what proved to be Joe Maddon‘s swan song as Cubs manager. Chicago never finished a month more than four games over .500 and a late-season collapse, marked by a 11-16 month of September, put the coffin in the team’s hopes of an unprecedented fifth straight postseason appearance.
There’s plenty of blame to go around. Maddon already paid the price. Chicago opted to not give him a new deal at season’s end, officially marking a looming changing-of-the-guard. The three-time Manager of the Year may not have done enough to lose his job, but he certainly didn’t do enough to keep it, either.
But when you look at what happened since the team’s historic 2016 World Series run – Maddon is the least of the worries. A self-made reckoning is coming for the Chicago Cubs and it’s up to Theo Epstein and the rest of the organization to respond.