Chicago sports fans have had it rough recently. There has been a lot of losing and the foreseeable future is very cloudy for several of the city's teams. You have the Jerry Reinsdorf teams in the Bulls who are stuck in the deepest depths of NBA purgatory, and the White Sox possibly entering another rebuild. The Blackhawks have phenom Connor Bedard and a bright future, but a long way to go to being a legit contender. Recent champion teams like the WNBA Chicago Sky (2021) and AHL Chicago Wolves (2022) have seen their rosters drastically change since. And then...there's the Bears—a national joke who have given their loyal fans nothing but years of losing and a revolving door of regimes and quarterbacks.
There among the mess sit the Cubs, who have the chance to be Chicago's beacon of light and own this city. They can be seen as the team closest to being legit, considering what they accomplished last year and the state of the organization moving forward. With that said, the Cubs still have a lot of work to do this offseason and it will take a collective effort from the front office and ownership to continue to rise.
The organization sent a strong message a few weeks ago when they hired Craig Counsell to be their manager out of nowhere. That news took over local sports radio, who had their entire day dedicated to recapping yet another Bears loss and arguing with callers over whether Tyson Bagent should start over a healthy Justin Fields. It made another dark and gloomy Chicago sports day bright and exciting. This could be the tip of the iceberg.
Imagine if the Cubs by some miracle do get Shohei Ohtani. The Cubs would be one of the main talking points in all of sports and baseball internationally. Expectations would be sky-high and Wrigley would be packed to the brim every game. Especially with apathy setting in for other teams in the city, people will want to pay to see the excitement on the North Side. Even if not Ohtani, but trading for Juan Soto or Pete Alonso, re-signing Cody Bellinger, or going after the likes of Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Just making significant moves to make the team better will go a long way.
In 2016, the Cubs had the city by its grasp in a similar situation. They were far and away the best team while the Blackhawks dynasty era was winding down, the White Sox were entering the Rick Hahn rebuild, the Bulls were entering the post-Derrick Rose rebuild and the Bears were trying to rebuild under Ryan Pace. This is their chance to be the solidified number one team again. It's right at their fingertips and they need to fully grasp it if they want it, which it seems like they do.
Chicago fans have a long history of loyalty and passion. It sounds cliché but it's the cold hard truth. Being in the third-largest market in the country, expectations are always high. Going through countless rebuilds, mediocre seasons and overhyped products has put fans on edge. Sure it might sound like the city is spoiled considering it had Michael Jordan in the 90s and four championships from 2010-2016, but that is how it goes in a major market city with high (and sometimes unrealistic) standards.
Cubs, if you want to own this city, take it.