We’ve been waiting a long time for this.
And when I say we, I mean all of us.
The 100+ year old fans (you know what I mean) that have never seen the Cubs win a World Series.
The 70 year-old fans that have never seen the Cubs even play in a World Series.
The 50 year-old fans that went through the 1984 heartbreak and many, many long seasons.
The 30 year-old fans that remember staring at the television in shock as the Cubs collapsed following Steve Bartman reaching for a foul ball. Those same fans that watched Kerry Wood somehow lose a Game 7 at Wrigley the following night, sending the Cubs from four outs away from a World Series, to an offseason.
Even the 10 year-old fans, that haven’t even seen a Cubs postseason win.
I remember sitting in our living room in Sharon Springs, Kansas, watching that final out in Game 7 of the 2003 NLCS. I remember losing it, completely inconsolable and my mom walking in, looking at my brother and I and saying “oh no, did they lose?” – which almost seems like a rhetorical question to Cubs fans.
Yes, of course. Of course they lost, isn’t that how it’s supposed to go?
I remember them getting swept out of the postseason, two years in a row, while being a college student. I specifically remember Ted Lilly giving up a three-run home run to Chris Young and spiking his glove. Then wandering out into the hallway of my dorm to see a D’Backs fan re-enacting the scene for a few people. I wanted to hit him.
We all felt that way, Ted.
I remember the good times, too. I have great memories of my parents taking me to Wrigley Field, starting from when I was barely old enough to remember and going back repeated times throughout the years. I remember sneaking down to better seats to see Sammy Sosa hit home run number 37 in that record-breaking 1998 season, only to sprint back up to our original seats in excitement to ask my dad if he saw it too (I wasn’t the brightest kid).
But as we all know, there has been far more bad than good. And finally, it’s changing.
The Cubs are built to be good for a really, really long time. It almost seems unfair the amount of young talent they’ve been able to bring on board, at unbelievable cost.
Theo Epstein is truly a magician, a legend. Take a look at this.
Anthony Rizzo – 26 y/o, 5M salary, signed through 2022
Starlin Castro – 25 y/o, 6M salary, signed through 2021
Jorge Soler – 23 y/o, 2M salary, signed through 2021
Kris Bryant – 23 y/o, $470K salary, controlled through 2021
Javier Baez – 22 y/o, $90K salary, controlled through 2021
Kyle Schwarber – 22 y/o, $220K salary, controlled through 2021
Addison Russell – 21 y/o, $460K salary, controlled through 2021
Also remember, Theo traded journeyman catcher Steve Clevenger and backend, replaceable starter Scott Feldman (who and who?) to the Orioles for set-up man Pedro Strop and… Jake Arrieta.
Those contracts allow Theo to spend big on high-priced arms. In general, bats are much more predictable while arms are known for being boom or bust. This way, you take the guess work out of it.
And as we’ve seen so far in this postseason, he’s built a lineup that can do the same thing 1-9. Mash. Mash. Mash.
He also hired the best manager in all of baseball, Joe Maddon. A necessity when dealing with a fanbase like this and a roster full of kids barely old enough to drink, with the talent to go deep into the postseason.
Theo brought in Addison Russell and Billy McKinney (also a stud, coming soon) by sending out Jeff Samardzija, who is now a dumpster fire, and Jason Hammel, who they signed back a few months later. Billy Beane, I think you got the short end of that one.
That’s not mentioning the bargain signings of Dexter Fowler, Miguel Montero and countless bullpen arms that they’ve been able to turn into reliable, in some cases dominant, options.
Theo has completely turned this franchise around and now, it’s time to enjoy. Wrigley was a madhouse last night.
I mean, look at this. That’s from Sluggers, a sports bar in Wrigleyville.
It’s insane! The best part is, this team is built to contend for a very long time and Cubs fans will get something they’ve never seen, sustained success.
So, yes, we owe a big thank you to Theo Epstein and the rest of the front office that made this possible.
Now we sit back and enjoy the ride, because we all know, nothing is guaranteed in sports.
And these days are few and far between for us.