by Josh Cook
I know you already read 108 stories about this team, but hear me out.
This season was insane. It doesn’t matter if you are a Cubs fan or even a baseball fan; this was absolute chaos. Chicago has been going crazy for 100 years. Cubs fan have been going crazy about this roster for three years. People who don’t care about baseball have been paying attention for two years. And anyone who is attracted to human beings has been in love with Kris Bryant since he stepped in the box for the first time. The hype could not have been any more real. The pressure couldn’t have been heavier. The expectations couldn’t have been higher. And despite all that, they did it.
For you, I would like to explain what I think the implications of this game are for the Cubs, the MLB, Cubs fans, and non-Cubs fans.
First the Cubs; they can just play baseball now. This team has been playing for the last 45+ years with the prayers of winning this trophy, now it’s done. No more worrying about goats, no more worrying about curses, Bartman can be forgiven, all the managers that tried and failed can be reprieved of their hatred, and the Tribune can disappear without a trace as people forget that they messed up running this team for three decades. A losing tradition is a heavy burden, there’s no way around it. Now that this team has broken that tradition, they can realize their full potential. However, there are some things to consider.
Jason Hammel, Trevor Cahill, Aroldis Chapman, Chris Coghlan, Dexter Fowler, and Travis Wood all contributed this year and are free agents in the offseason. Hammel is not returning, the Cubs didn’t pick up his option so they could give him a chance at a real career. Chapman more than likely won’t be back, he’d like to return to New York. Fowler is up in the air, though the Cubs (players and fans alike) would love to see him back. The biggest factor there is outside interest. Fowler looked like the best true leadoff hitter in the league nearly all year, that doesn’t go unnoticed or undervalued. Carl Edwards Jr will likely replace Trevor Cahill so I doubt he comes back. Finally, Chris Coghlan has already gone and come back. So does it really matter if he leaves again?
The Cubs have a few decisions to make, but realistically while they still have Bryant, Rizzo, Russell, Baez, Contreras, and Zobrist, the future looks bright regardless of what they do.
Now, the MLB; things can return to normal? No one has a 100+ year drought anymore, so there goes a Cinderella except Cleveland – this is for you. Coaches, players, managers, GMs, owners, and the media can stop talking to everyone and their mother about whether or not the Cubs will do it, they did. It also means that Theo Epstein is going to the MLB Hall of Fame. So they should prepare for that.
Additionally, and this is hopefully the exciting part: baseball will be rejuvenated (in theory). More people watched game 7 than any other baseball game of all time – and it was a damn good game for that to happen. My hope is that this monumental game, which was nowhere near the stereotypical “boring” game, will lead to a spark for the MLB.
There are so many young, great players in the league right now that watching games should be easier than it ever has. I think there is going to be a revolution in baseball where actual athletic people start playing this game very athletically, and it’s going to be electrifying. If people tune in, it should be nearly impossible to turn off. If this World Series doesn’t lead to increased revenue for the MLB, it is entirely their fault.
Cubs fans: we finally get to stop hearing our a**hole Cardinals fan friends tell us that there is always next year. We get to stop hearing the media bash the Cubs, although this has been on the decline the last two years – special thanks to Bryzzo. But mostly, we can return to just being baseball fans. We don’t have to constantly defend why we root, root, root for the Cubbies anymore, they gave us a reason to tune back in for the first time in all of our lives.
Cubs fans can just be baseball fans. They can go to Wrigley to watch great baseball; they don’t have to make up other reasons on why they should spend a day watching this beautiful game. It’s not about the curse anymore, it’s not just about historic Wrigley field and Wrigleyville; it’s about the team on the field. This is a damn talented team, watch them play the game. If you’re at Wrigley, watch the game. If you’re at home, turn the game on and actually watch it. It’s going to be special, if you don’t tune if you’re either going to wish you had or lie and say you did.
For non-Cubs fans: Now, what does this have to do with people who don’t root for the Cubs? For people who didn’t follow baseball before this, it means they’re probably Cubs fans now.
For people who follow other teams, it means your memes are going to have to get a hell of a lot more creative. You can’t just say something about goats or Bartman or time. You’re actually going to have to have substance in your offensive jokes, or you’ll just look sad.
This also means that the game should be more interesting, the Cubs are just like any other team now; they can also win the World Series. That should intrigue non-Cubs fans that thought there were essentially 29 teams in the MLB. Also, this means that we will all see more of Kris Bryant everywhere, so really you can’t lose.
Moral of the story: Watch baseball, it’ll be fun I promise.