You are here most likely because you, long ago, for no good reason, made a conscious decision to root for the most inept professional sports franchise in America.
I made that same decision, about 35 years ago. I was just a punk kid rooting for his dad’s favorite baseball team. But over the years, I never changed my mind. I never abandoned them even when they gave me almost no good reason to stick around. It just seemed wrong to pick a new team. And over the years we got to see a few pretty good teams.
The 1984 team with Ryne Sandberg’s incredible season, Rick Sutcliffe’s 16-1 run, and Gary Matthews’ inability to catch a flyball in left.
The 1989 Cubs who until last year had been my favorite Cubs team of all-time with Greggie and The Hawk, and Shawon and Lester Lancaster.
We had the Sammy Sosa years where we suspended disbelief that anything was wrong about how he’d swollen into a mini-Hulk.
Then the near-miss in 2003.
Lou Piniella brought us back to back division titles, but no playoff wins.
Then last year when we at last felt some confidence that we were witnessing the start of something, not just a single season catch of lightning in a bottle.
But that was it. How was that ever enough for us to stick it out? Maybe it was the fear that we’d bail just before they somehow won something? Maybe we’re just gluttons for punishment? Whatever it is, here we are. They are still the Cubs, and we’re still here.
And the next win brings a division championship, and the Cubs will enter the playoffs as the prohibitive favorite. You can parse it a million different ways. You can convince yourself that it’s really, finally going to happen. You can just as easily convince yourself that they are doomed. But there’s plenty of time for all that between now and October.
What we need to do right now is take a step back and marvel at how much our belligerent refusal to give up on them has paid off. Against all reason and against all common sense, we stuck with them through all of the crap. They made us mad, they frustrated us, they occasionally teased us, but mostly they disappointed us. We should have abandoned them long ago.
But we didn’t. With no evidence to support it, we stuck around to see if it would ever change.
And now, we root for the best team in baseball.
We finally get to root for the team with the fun young talent. We are the ones who get to marvel at seeing baseball played confidently and competently day in and day out. Our favorite team is the one who actually knows how to run the bases, to field their position and to properly execute a pitching game plan.
For the first time ever, fans of other teams look at the Cubs—“our” Cubs and wish they had a team like that to root for.
A lot will be written and said about how the best team doesn’t really survive the current iteration of baseball playoffs. Teams built for success in the regular season aren’t necessarily the best equipped for the postseason. That won’t be wrong.
But let me ask you this. Is there any other team you’d want to take to the playoffs?
For the first time in our lifetimes (and our parents’ lifetimes, and depending how old you are, maybe even your grandparents’ lifetimes) the Cubs winning a World Series seems like a matter of when and not if.
Oh, we want it to be this year. Why not? They are the best team and we’re tired of waiting. But if not this year, it’s coming.
Kris Bryant is the best player in the National League.
He’s getting better.
Addison Russell is on a rocket ship to stardom.
He’s getting better.
Kyle Schwarber has only played three games this season.
He’s getting better. In more ways than one.
Willson Contreras is already better than anybody with his amount of experience at catcher has any right to be.
He’s getting better.
Anthony Rizzo is the grizzled vet at 27. He’s the rock all of this has been built upon.
Kyle Hendricks doesn’t look like much. But neither does the opponents’ offense when he’s done with them.
You need three good starting pitchers and three good bullpen arms to have a chance in October. The Cubs are overqualified on both counts.
They are the best defensive team in baseball. Javy Baez and Jason Heyward are not exceptions on this team. They are surrounded by guys making plays.
It has been a joy to watch this team continue to grow, day in and day out. The Cubs are appointment viewing again this year.
You will hear over and over again something I’ve already addressed here. About how the playoffs are a crapshoot blah, blah, blah. It’s all in a attempt to keep you from getting your hopes up too high.
Get them up.
Ride the wave.
These seasons don’t come along that often. We, more than anyone, know that.
We, finally, root for a great team. They are the envy of baseball.
Luxuriate in it.
Drop your pants and roll in it.
It won’t make it any more crushing if they lose. Nothing will.
Drop your guard.
Get your hopes up.
Expect them to win.
I know that seems insane. But we’re Cubs fans.
Who is more qualified than we are to embrace the insanity?