During my years as a young athlete, my old coach used to tell my team a phrase prior to making us run. That phrase has came to mind while watching the Chicago Cubs this postseason.
“Life is hard, not right but true. Sometimes you get the bear, sometimes the bear gets you,”
This season, the bear got the Cubs. No pun intended.
There’s no easy way to get bounced from the postseason, but it was evident from Game One that the Dodgers were a better team than the Cubs. They outplayed the them in every facet of the game-hitting, pitching, defense, and managing.
You can blame the lack of offense, shaky bullpen, questionable managerial decisions, front office not getting enough help, and while there will be plenty of finger pointing over the next few months, the Cubs still managed to get themselves in a position to repeat as World Series champions, even after looking like a shell of themselves for much of the season and in the playoffs.
While the taste in every Cubs’ fan mouth may be pretty sour today, it is important to continue to understand what sustained success means. When Theo Epstein arrived back in 2011, he promised that he and the front office would put the Cubs in a position to contend for a World Series every year. Three NLCS appearances in a row and a World Series title mixed in between certainly backs that up.
This is still just the beginning of the Cubs window and with the young core already in place for the foreseeable future, the Cubs could still be on the verge of being like the Atlanta Braves were from 1991-2005.
That being said, there is a lot of work to be done this offseason and the list of needs is lengthy. The Cubs need two starters, bullpen arms, a lead-off hitter, maybe move a Kyle Schwarber or Javier Baez to get an arm, etc. Like the acquisition of Justin Wilson earlier this season, some moves are the right decision, but simply don’t work, at least in the short term. Theo and Jed will have money to spend, but may also have to get creative in retooling for their club’s run at another World Series.
Yes, it sucks. But you know what would have sucked worse, if the Cubs lost the World Series last season to Cleveland, but they didn’t. So take this one on the chin and be ready to go in spring training, because as long as the Cubs’ are built for sustained success, they’ll likely be in this same position next season.
Lead photo courtesy Jim Young—USA Today Sports