Photo citied: Sports Monkey
It’s been 71 years since anyone can say this; The Cubs won the National League Pennant, and are going to the World Series! You can fly the W, Chicago. The Cubbies advanced Saturday night with a 5-0 win vs the Los Angeles Dodgers. Jon Lester and Javier Baez was named Co- MVP of the NLCS. The Cubs have a date with the Cleveland Indians, with game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday. Cubs fans were overwhelmed with emotions as Wrigley was full of excited loyal fans, some were crying tears of joy, while everyone else was screaming and singing GO Cubs GO.
The Cubs lost the NLCS last year to the New York Mets, and from that point on everyone knew the Cubs were out for blood. Going into this year’s spring training the Cubs signed big free agents in the name of: Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward. The team was just adding more ammunition to there already lethal lineup. The team right off the bat, had so many expectations and many had this team being the team that finally wins the World Series for Chicago. But what is it that made the team special….
Management- Maybe the best pick up the Cubs ever made was five years ago when they named Theo Epstein as their new General Manager. Epstein is a baseball genius who can see the future, and able to build a team to play in October. John Madden, the manager, fresh off winning the manager of the year award in 2015. Has his own unique way of managing. Putting less stress on the players, which helped remove the pressing expectations from the media. “Try not to Suck” is his motto and the players love to play for him.
Pitchers- Arguably one of the top pitching staffs in baseball. The Cubs staff includes: Jake Arietta, Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, John Lackey and Jason Hammel. Arietta, 2015 Cy Young winner, was the ace of the staff leading the team with 18 wins, having a 3.10 era. Jon Lester can be an ace on any other staff but also had a standout year raking in 19 wins with a 2.44 era. But maybe the most surprising pitcher of them all was the game 6 NLCS winner Kyle Hendricks. Hendricks had a career year having 16 wins with an impressive 2.13 era. Hendricks heroics in the clinching game was nothing but impressive, seven and a thirds innings, no runs on one hit. Let’s not forget about the flame thrower in the bullpen, Aroldis Chapman. Chapman was a trade deadline pick up for the Cubs, who throws in the high 90s to the low 100s, is usually a sure thing when it comes to closing out a game
Catchers- Maybe not the strongest position for the Cubbies as they have Miguel Montero and David Ross. But in mid-June a call up was made in the name of Wilson Contreras. The power hitting catcher made an impact on this first game in the big leagues hitting a game winning pinch hit home run. Now he is the starting catcher for the Cubs this postseason and adds another bat in the lineup
Infielders- Anthony Rizzio the teams longest tender Cubie, is a fan favorite. The powerful lefty first basemen have been in the number three spot in the lineup the whole year. He has the offensive ability to hit the long ball but also able to get base knocks to drive in runs. However, he is equally capable of handling the defensive duties at first base. At the hot corner is another fan favorite, Kris Bryant. The 2015 Rookie of the year, has had an MVP type year, creating a potent one two punch with him and Rizzio; creating a nightmare to the opposing pitchers. The middle infielders include Addison Russel and Javier Baez. Both young players are standout for their defensive play. But this year was a coming out party for both as they both could hit for contact on a consistence bases.
Outfielders- Disappointingly the only thing that has not worked out for the Cubs is Jason Heyward, who has had a sub-par year. However, when you have the likes of Dexter Fowler and Albert Almora Jr. you don’t need to rely on Heyward as much.
Best Utility Knife Ever- Ben Zobrist is arguably the best offseason signing of the 2016 MLB Offseason. Zobrist has found himself playing both in the outfield and the infield. Zobrist, the leadoff man for the Cubs, has both the ability to hit for power and for contact. He is the best weapon Madden has in his dugout, based on the fact he can play anywhere.
We ain’t Afraid of No Goat!!- Maybe what makes the Cubs so special is the fans. The fans have stuck through the team through thick and thin. Well… its mostly been thin. The loveable losers have been through Billy Goats to Bartman. If there is one fan group that is ever deserving to get a World Series, it is the North Siders. The fans make the atmosphere one of the best as everyone is into the game. The whole breed of Cub’s fans are arguably the most loyal loving fans in all of sports.
The Friendly Confines- Wrigley Field, the second oldest ballpark. From the Ivy to the Wriggleyville apartment seats to the seventh inning stretch nothing compares to it. The moment you get off the Addison station stop you are greeted with everything that is good about Wrigley. Words can’t describe this holy site; it is a rite of passage for fans visit this park and experience the Wrigleyville experience.
Northside Insight- 108 years… that is a lifetime. If there was ever a team to break this curse it is this team. The North Side has suffered through enough. Cubs fans, and any baseball fans alike will be rooting for the Cubs, and all will want to see history as the Cubs hope to be the 2016 World Series Champions. So, save a Giordano’s slice of deep dish pizza for me Chicago. Four more wins and one lifetime memory.