And lo, on this final day of June, 2015, the Chicago Cubs earned their 40th victory of the season. And we rejoiced, for our favorite team had been mired in a slump and had gotten schooled by the best team in the land (I know, it’s tough to admit, but it’s true). Perhaps this win had something to do with magic, but I choose to think it was the other things manager Joe Maddon talked about that kept this team going with a never-say-die attitude (even with the prolonged losing streak)…
“Their work’s great. They care. All the stuff that needs to be in order is in order. The stuff that’s difficult is playing in the major leagues every day. You just went through (Zack) Greinke, (Clayton) Kershaw, the Dodgers and now St. Louis. It’s not easy.
“(It’s) keeping their minds intact. That’s all it is. They’re going to be fine. As we gain more experience by the end of the year, I really anticipate seeing a different group the next time we walk into Busch Stadium.”
As the young Cubs keep working out the kinks and getting into a groove, and as they work towards full health and performance, we have to look back onto the dark times and put this milestone into perspective.
The 2015 version of these first graduates of the Theo Epstein/Jed Hoyer/Jason McLeod system are now 40-35, reaching the 40 win milestone at game #75, by the very end of June.
This was almost two weeks ahead of last year’s pace, when they got win #40 on July 11, and were already 12 games below .500 by then.
Similarly, the 2013 iteration didn’t get win #40 until July 9, and were 8 games under at that point.
And in 2012, the first year of the full-on, no-nonsense rebuild, the Cubs got their 40th win on July 24, 16 games under .500 at the time.
There is more than incremental progress going on here. The team is fun and exciting, and we’re frustrated by the losses because we KNOW that these guys can do better, and they will do better. Like Joe said, they’re learning, and with the worst of the schedule almost behind them, these 2015 Chicago Cubs can get even more exciting the rest of the year.