Cubs Place in History

With another
quick playoff exit on the precipice of drastic team changes it could
be all she wrote for the core of the World Series winning team Theo
Epstein put together. With such a young team capturing the 2016 World
Series after making it to the NLCS the year before fans had visions
of multiple championships, but it didn’t come to fruition. Is this
team’s place in history a disappointment?

Chicago fans
endured a long rebuild as Theo Epstein came aboard in the fall of
2011 and tore it down to the studs. The Cubs lost 101 games in 2012,
96 games in 2013 and 87 games in 2014. In 2015 things began to
change. Jon Lester and David Ross was signed, Miguel Montero was
traded for and rookies Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and Addison Russell
joined the squad. The team won 97 games, third in the NL Central but
made it all the way to NLCS before being swept by the New York Mets.
The future was bright.

Chicago won
the World Series in 2016 but couldn’t repeat. They got to the NLCS
against the Dodgers and lost 4-1 in 2017. While it was disappointing,
with this core all fans believed Epstein would have the Cubs on the
door step with Joe Maddon managing the team. However, in 2018 Chicago
didn’t make the playoffs. In 2019 they choked lead in division and
had to play the dreaded game 163 with the Brewers. The Cubs lost and
then lost the Wild Card despite having one of the best records.

Reports came
out of locker room issues. Maddon was a lame duck going in to the
2019 season but no major changes were made to the team and the rough
finish was the final nail in the coffin. The team couldn’t score in
the playoffs and Maddon was let go despite the strong regular season.
For 2020 David Ross was brought back to manage and the Cubs finished
as the third team in the NL only to get swept out by the Marlins.

The Cubs had
three strong seasons from 2015-2017 with a World Series win but
quickly fell off despite a strong young core on offense. Epstein’s
inability to develop pitching depleted the farm system and Chicago
never seemed able to replenish it like they did leading to that
strong three year stretch. The trade for Jose Quintana was a big job
start to the rival White Sox rebuild and big money spent on Yu
Darvish and Jason Heyward locked up payroll. Now Chicago is facing
some big decisions after another disappointing playoff exit.

Despite
breaking the Billy Goat curse and breaking through after 100 plus
years is this team a disappointment? My dad has been a lifelong Cubs
fan and never thought he’d see a World Series and most fans feel the
same way. However, with such a young core it’s safe to say most were
expecting more than three years of being close.

Since 2010 the
San Francisco Giants have won three times and Boston Red Sox have won
twice. The Astros and Royals split a pair of appearances and the
Rangers and Dodgers have lost two trips. Gone are the days of a
modern dynasty and sustained success is even more difficult to
maintain. There are five years between Red Sox titles with two
different managers, only the Giants managed to pull of that
miraculous three in five years. Other teams have gotten to multiples
but fallen short so at least the Cubs got one, but who would have
thought the window would have been so soon. Will the Dodgers break
through? Is Houston’s window closing?

In the
historical perspective this Cubs core broke the curse and sandwiched
that with two trips to the NLCS. It is possible for a title winner to
exist in the friendly confines. That historic title carries a lot of
weight so maybe it’s not a disappointment but another ‘What if…?’
for Cubs fans. The title window opened and shut quickly and who knows
when it will open again.