A Few Things, Before We Start The Postseason
May The Force Be With You, Even Though The Odds Are Against You
My goal for the 2017 version of the Cubs was simple. Make the postseason.
I had prepared myself for the inevitable, that of course being the Cubs probably would not repeat as World Series champs. After walking through winter with a perma-grin from ear to ear, the mental orgy, if you will, ceased in early spring. All that was left was the thought of a new season, doing it all over again, and a question…how will they top that one?
162 games can be a cruel marathon, just ask any team buried in last place of their division. However, the length of a season provides much needed time for teams, especially those that just rolled off the World Series party bus and need a few extra weeks to sweat out the hangover, to get reacquainted with their winning ways. Regardless, there hasn’t been a repeat World Series champion since the 2000 season when the Yankees completed their three-peat. Some would say parity in baseball is alive and well.
The new bar is the post-season, anything less for this team and its fan base would be unacceptable. (we’ll talk more about this later)
Survive and Advance!
Borrowing from NCAA’s March Madness slogan, survive and advance should be the Cubs slogan going forth this season. Anything can happen with this team in a best of seven set. A little bit of me even feels as though this team is playing this season with that mindset. Doing everything (and sometimes only doing enough) to make the post-season in advance of catching fire at just the right time to plow through the other post-season teams. Ask anybody, would you rather be the team rising to the top of it’s play as fall ball starts, or the team that won 100+ games and basically forced themselves to stay mentally in-tune through September? History is littered with teams the ruled the regular season only to fall in the post-season before realizing the ultimate prize…we’re looking at you 2001 Seattle Mariners!
Let’s look at it this way, if you were an opposing team, would you want to face the Cubs in a best of seven? The reigning champs, with the pressure of 100+ years futility off their backs and a been there done that attitude? I can think of a few other teams I would rather face!
Great Fan Expectations
One of my all-time favorite things to do is scroll twitter when the Cubs are imploding. All you need to do is look in the Twitter replies of any Cubs beat writer to view the comments from the frustrated dimwits, probably drunk and coming fresh off a heater to the temple in the Sluggers batting cage, and realize how irrational the fan base can be. The Cubs fans are not the only ones. Even the Dodgers fans were spewing all types of vitriol while there team was 20 or 30 games above 500 and running through the National league like hot snot through a trombone. Sports fans in general are some of the most irrational people in the world with their expectations.
So Cub fans, while you are watching your team in the post-season, remember one thing…going back to back is very difficult to do. Enjoy the fact that you now have, and rightfully so, elevated expectations. Enjoy the fact that you have a team on the north side that is built to compete year in and year out for the majority of the current decade. Enjoy the fact that the term “next year” holds so much more than it used too. Most of all, enjoy the fact that you are not a Cardinals fan, scraping the bottom of the baseball trough for bird food.
So relax, sit back, and enjoy what you are witnessing, even when Lackey pitches. Enjoy being a Cubs fan.