The Chicago Cubs have been around since 1903.
Incase you didn’t know, that’s a long time. Back in 1903, Mark Twain was still hanging around.
The reason I bring this up is that since that 1903 season, the Cubs have made the postseason in back to back years exactly two times. The 1906-1908 team went on a run that included a World Series. But seriously, that’s basically a different sport played in basically a different world.
Then they went ONE HUNDRED YEARS without ever making the postseason in back to back years. Read that again. 100 YEARS! Are we fully appreciating how ridiculous that is? This is a team that’s always been in a big market with nearly unlimited resources and they went a freaking century without putting together back to back postseason appearances. Unbelievable.
That should give you some perspective on what Theo has done. Not only has he put together a team that has advanced to back to back NLCS appearances, they are set up to compete for titles for a really long time. This isn’t your ‘group of solid players somehow ended up playing together for awhile’ squad of 2007-2008. These are legit, young superstars that are signed together through at least 2020, longer in some cases.
And those 2007-2008 squads didn’t make the NLCS in either season. The Cubs were up and coming last year but still managed to win 90+ games and advance all the way to the NLCS. This year, they had a target on their backs from Day 1 and spent a grand total of one day outside of first place in the NL Central while going on to win 100+ games.
Now they await the winner of tonights Dodgers-Nationals game to see who they’ll face off against in the NLCS. I don’t have a massive preference as to who they face but if I had to choose, I’d go with the Nats. That lineup isn’t as good as was initially believed and they’ve lost their All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos along with pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg. Additionally, they’ll have to burn Max Scherzer tonight meaning we’d be seeing Tanner Roark and Gio Gonzalez in Games 1 and 2 at Wrigley with Jake getting to square off against Scherzer back in Washington. I really have no interest in facing Clayton Kershaw, or Rich Hill for that matter.
Overall, Theo Epstein is still being underrated. People aren’t fully appreciating what he’s doing with a franchise that went one hundred (100!) years without back to back postseason appearances, let alone NLCS appearances with young, controlled talent.
I’m thrilled the Cubs were able to keep him on through another contract. I have no problem paying him $10 Million per year. As Buster Olney said, it’s still a bargain. And better yet, they kept the entire crew together upstairs. That’s massive.
Buckle up. The Cubs are in position to be perennial contenders for the first time since Tolstoy was pumping out novels and we can thank Theo.