The Chicago Cubs did more than bring postseason baseball back to the friendly confines; they united baseball fans across the nation.
It’s hard to believe the Cubs won 97 games this season after only winning 73 games in the previous year.
The Cubs were on a mission in October.
The team full of youngsters made their presence known by knocking off the two best teams in baseball, first the Pittsburgh Pirates (98-64) in the wild-card round then the St. Louis Cardinals (100-62) in the NLDS.
Unfortunately, the Cubs were swept in the NLCS by the New York Mets. It was an unfitting end to their run, but throughout it all, fans climbed aboard the love train en route to Wrigleyville.
One passenger on this train was Tommy Bezreh, a native of Boston, Massachusetts. The comedy major at Columbia College Chicago is a Boston Red Sox fan at heart, but he understood the Cubs’ situation this October.
“I still am a Red Sox fan,” Bezreh said. “But knowing the situation the Cubs were in and how they were aching for a World Series like the Red Sox were in ‘04, it just made me want to root for them,” he said.
“As a sports fan in general, you want to witness history. If only the Cubs broke their drought this October. But, it was a lot of fun cheering them on.”
Patrick Hoarty, also a freshman at Columbia and a Boston native, echoed Bezreh’s enthusiasm.
“Everyone likes a good underdog story,” Hoarty said. “Seeing the true passion the fans have made me want to join in on all the fun.”
“The atmosphere in Wrigleyville after the Cubs knocked off the Cardinals was unreal,” he said. “It was a moment I’ll never forget.”
Beating the Cardinals was definitely the highlight of the Cubs’ postseason push. The Cubs even had President Barack Obama, a well-known White Sox fan, cheering them on.
Even though the Cubs didn’t finish the job, they made an impression this October. Much of the credit goes to Theo Epstein, the Cubs’ president of baseball operations. Epstein, who was formerly the general manager for the Boston Red Sox, joined the squad in 2011 with a plan to end the ever-so-long World Series drought.
Epstein has brought swagger and power hitting to the North Side. Sluggers Anthony Rizzo (31 home runs this season) and Kris Bryant (26 home runs) were both brought to the club by Epstein.
Epstein also signed Cy Young candidate Jake Arrieta. Arrieta had a stellar season, notching a major league leading 22 wins, a career high.
Epstein pitcher Jon Lester and shortstop Addison Russell, two players with significant upside have also been brought on during Epstein’s tenure, as well as manager Joe Maddon.
The future is now, Cubs fans. Enjoy the ride. There’s plenty more postseason baseball to come in the upcoming years. This year wasn’t our year, but this magical postseason run can’t be erased from memory. Though the Cubs did not reach their ultimate goal, the accomplishments outweighed the failures.
The team is well ahead of schedule going into 2016, and Cubs fans should be thrilled.