Chicago Cubs: From lovable losers to World Series Champions
The Chicago Cubs and their fans aren’t going to look to 2017 to “start over” or find a “new you”. Both are very happy with where last season finished and hope to pick up from where they left off.
The Chicago Cubs winning the World Series was one of the best stories in sports, and the best as far as the Associated Press is concerned. So while some look at 2016 as a terrible year and couldn’t wait for the calendar to turn over–Cubs fans are ready to pick up where 2016 left off. But what about the lovable losers tag we carried for so long? That’s one thing that Cubs’ fans will be happy to leave back in 2016.
Last season began with big aspirations. The Cubs had been to the NLCS in 2015, and the team appeared to be even better on paper as they opened the 2016 campaign. But just a few short days in, Kyle Schwarber was lost for the season. Very few were using the lovable losers tag at this point, but the thoughts of billy goats and curses weren’t far from anyone’s mind. This wasn’t really going to be how this season was going to go, was it?
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Bitter beer in St. Louis
Clearly, it didn’t end up that way. The Cubs went on to win the 2016 World Series in dramatic fashion over the Cleveland Indians in seven games. But it begs the question, does two years eliminated the losers tag? If we were simply talking about back-to-back division titles, no. The Cubs did that on two separate occasions in the last 15 years. But that didn’t change the perception of the organization. A World Series win? Now we’re taking. Another way to know it’s officially gone? Your rivals will let you know.
Since the Cubs defeated the St. Louis Cardinals last year in the NLDS, I’ve seen a plethora of posts and articles written by writers and fans alike. They informed Cubs’ fan that “they aren’t worried about us.” That’s a prime way to know that they VERY much are aware of the Cubs. And the crosstown White Sox? Proximity makes that relationship nastier than it needs to be. But remember when Ozzie Guillen criticized Wrigley Field? Well, he’s still out of work, and Wrigley looks pretty damn good.
Leaving the “loser” label in 2016
We as fans are happy to shed the lovable losers label. It’s was simply a way for the rest of the baseball world to feel bad for us and not say it to our face. If you’re from the South, it equates to “bless their heart”. Southerners, you know EXACTLY what I mean. It’s taken one of the best baseball minds in Theo Epstein, as well as one of the top managers in Joe Maddon to make this happen. Owner Tom Ricketts has pulled a lot of strings, and all of them have been the right ones.
Ricketts is a lifelong fan. He grew up BEING one of those “losers”. He didn’t buy the Cubs to carry on that tradition, but to do an about face with it and start a new one. Going to a Cubs game used to be about the bleachers, beer and losing. It’s still about most of those–and will cost you a lot more to do it–but what sporting event isn’t expensive?
Why do people hate the Cardinals? Or the Yankees? It’s because they won. A lot. You only become lovable when you’re on the other end of that. I’ll be honest, I’m happy to have that not be the case anymore. When I pass someone on the street and they see me in my Cubs hat? I’m fine if they’re annoyed or bothered by it. In 37 years, my being a Cubs’ fan was always a “joke”. 1908. The black cat. The goat. Bartman. There was always something. As I hit year 38, I’m ready for it to be something different. All Cubs’ fans are ready to be hated, and that’s fine by us.