Thursday, November 3, 2016

Cubs Show Perfection In Waiting

By now, you've gotten sick of hearing about the 108 year drought. Whether you're a Chicago Cubs fan, lover of baseball, or innocent bystander, you know all about the Lovable Losers that have failed to capture the sports greatest achievement for so long. On November 2, 2016 (or third if we're counting the time in Cleveland), Joe Maddon and his 25 finally got their trophy, and they did it perfectly.

No, the Cubs weren't without flaws last night, in the World Series, or even in the Postseason. They gave up a game to the San Francisco Giants. They had to punch of the ropes against the Los Angeles Dodgers. They stared at a 3-1 deficit on the biggest stage against the Cleveland Indians and they delivered the knock out role. The Cubs were down plenty but they never allowed themselves to sit there.

For the first time in World Series history, no starting pitcher on either team through a single pitch in the 7th inning. In Game 5, it was Joe Maddon lifting Jon Lester after 6.0 IP. Then in Game 6, it was Jake Arrieta that got the hook after 5.2 IP. In Game 7, and maybe the most egregious of the bunch, it was a rolling Kyle Hendricks that was lifted after just 4.2 IP. It appeared, as Terry Francona before him, Maddon was prepared to live and die by his bullpen horses.

Aroldis Chapman, the Cuban Missile, the arm the was acquired from the Yankees when Chicago decided not to part with Kyle Schwarber in exchange for Andrew Miller, was needed again. Throwing 97 pitches over the course of three games, the "closer" was being asked to do the unthinkable. As Andrew Miller experienced earlier in Game 7, fatigue clearly had caught up to the Cubs fireballer. He was throwing a more human, 98 mph, and the three run shot to the Indians Rajai Davis nearly spelled doom.

In the end though, it was because of the work Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, and even Maddon himself had done to prepare this club. They entered the year as the best team in baseball, and when the dust settled, they remained as such. This club of Cubs had depth, talent, and drive unparalleled in the game of baseball.

With the amount of coverage that Chicago has garnered this season, it's hard to come up with anything that hasn't already been said. Everything points back to this group being a team of destiny, and it's only just beginning. Maddon, his youngsters, and a handful of veterans are well positioned to be back in the World Series a year from now, This group has put together something special, and the reality is they're only just beginning.

Maybe next year, the Cubs can make sure the National League wins the All Star game so they can have home field advantage. Then again, Kyle Schwarber playing in over half of the games in the was no doubt a massive lift, so maybe the Cubs just prefer to beat you at your park.

The curse is dead, and maybe it never was, but this Cubs team is for real.