Every year is THE year a team believes they can reach the ultimate goal-a championship. Regardless of a team’s performance in the previous year or the hardships they may currently face, fans believe it’s possible. With opening-day for Major League Baseball earlier this week, there was a wide spread of that “this is the year” feeling. What fan base had the strongest feeling of it though? The same fan base that’s had their hopes brought up only to be ruined for over 100 years.
There are only 9 teams in the MLB that haven’t won a championship: the San Diego Padres, Tampa Bay Rays, Washington Nationals, Texas Rangers, Houston Astros, Colorado Rockies, Milwaukee Brewers, and Seattle Mariners. Coincidentally, none of those teams are the spectacle of this piece. This team has won 2 World Series Championships, and they were consecutive. If it weren’t for those 2, who knows what kind of madness the fan base would possess.
Before Frank Selee took over the club in 1902, they had been called the White Stockings, Colts, and even the Orphans. The Chicago Cubs are currently owned by a family trust of TD Ameritrade founder Joe Rickets. They play at one of the most nostalgic stadiums in all of baseball, “The Friendly Confines”, -Wrigley Field. The field itself is one of the remaining “original” diamonds in the majors. It was even the last stadium in the MLB to attain lights for its field. Everything has been in place for the cubs to be a great organization; their even valued at being worth $879,000, 000 (4th most valuable team in the MLB). There’s only one problem: They don’t win championships.
Not only do the Cubs lose, but they do it in a fashion that crushes the souls of anyone with an emotional stake in the organization. 2008 was supposed to be THE year for the Cubs. At the All-Star break the Cubs led the Central Division and were tied with the Los Angeles Angels for the best record in the major leagues. They also tied a National League record with eight players selected to the All-Star team. They stayed hot and ended the regular season with 97 wins, the most the club had achieved since 1945. It would have been 100 years since the Cubs had won the World Series that year; everything seemed perfect, until the postseason. The Cubs’ first round opponent for the NLDS were the Los Angeles Dodgers, of whom only had 84 wins in the regular season. In typical Cubs fashion they got swept in the series, losing 3 consecutive games. Since then, the Cubs have had one winning season while posting an awful 290-357 record. They’ve gone four straight seasons without making the playoffs, including three consecutive losing seasons.
Events like that are just the norm to Cubs fans. They’re not called the “Lovable Losers” for nothing. There’s just something about being a Cubs fan. It’s as if they are all patiently waiting for their next championship so they can rub it in the faces of everyone in the world-which they would have every right to. Hopefully none of them are holding their breath though. Who knows what fans would be like if the Cubs were actually good every single year? As Every Cubs’ fan would agree, there IS some hope this year.
Some things the Cubs have going for them…
Theo Epstein is their President of Baseball Operations. The same guy who brought 2 championships to the Boston Red Sox after an 86 year drought.
Starlin Castro is a franchise player, who plays a franchise position, and puts up franchise numbers.
David DeJesus and Alfonso Soriano provide veteran leadership.
Anthony Rizzo is only 23 years old. He has power and is a nice compliment to Castro.
Matt Garza and Travis Wood have the potential to be the leaders of a solid pitching core.
The pieces are there, now they just have to come together. If the loyalty and dedication of their fans could win ball games for them, the Cubs would go undefeated. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. It’s not like their fans try to LOSE games for them…right?