Chicago Cubs: The 2018 season still feels like a missed opportunity

(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
Chicago Cubs, Albert Almora Jr. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /

In 2018, the Chicago Cubs had a great team. Yet they were a quick one-and-done in the playoffs. That team should have accomplished more.

After the Chicago Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals in the first round of the 2015 National League playoffs, I was watching local Chicago TV postgame coverage. I remember the anchors of the show talking about how, with all the young talent on the team coming of age, we can now expect many years of great Chicago Cubs baseball.

I was beside myself. I had witnessed the near-miss in 2003 and the years of disappointment that followed the Dusty Baker era, learning that nothing is guaranteed in this game. I had to applaud their enthusiasm, but how could they get so ahead of themselves? So much can happen.

Of course, the next year, in 2016, the Cubs did win the World Series. Yet many folks were hoping that this would be a Cubs dynasty, that several more fruitful years, and perhaps more championships, would follow. It hasn’t happened; the Cubs have only won one playoff series since. They did somehow get to the NLCS in 2017, despite underachieving much of the year and the probable effects of a “World Series hangover.”

Then came 2018. Looking back, that was a strange year. The Cubs went into the season, again, expected to be among the best teams in the NL. Though they lost Jake Arrieta, they replaced him with Yu Darvish and Tyler Chatwood. Jose Quintana would also be there for a full season. The bullpen lost some key members but also gained some. And of course, the young core of hitters was expected just to keep getting better.

It was a crucial year in building the Cubs’ dynasty. Instead, the season ended with a thud: a 2-1, 13 inning NL Wild Card loss to the Colorado Rockies. What happened?