Heading Into the Offseason With Heads Held High

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Well, the Chicago Cubs season is over.  I’m a bit disappointed, but I don’t blame the team or anything.  The New York Mets were just better, and there was no lack of effort on the Cubs’ part.  They simply got outplayed, and there’s no shame in that.  Baseball is weird, baseball is cruel, and baseball remains beautiful because we had a hell of a season with these Cubs, who look to remain good for a long time to come.

There’s this Kyle Schwarber guy, who didn’t always look good on defense in left field (or catcher, whenever he got the shot), but that bat:

And then there’s his buddy, Jorge Soler:

Now you can’t predict when guys like Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo go cold, or when Starlin Castro lines a hard hit ball right into a glove.  Again, baseball is cruel.  Baseball made my wife, who only casually follows baseball, sad because the Cubs decided to slump at the wrong time.  I wouldn’t even call it a slump, really…the Mets just had the pitching and the opportunistic offense plus some devil magic of their own to earn this trip to the World Series.  Back to the Future wasn’t exactly right.  We’ll just blame Biff and Marty screwing up the timeline on this, eh?

I don’t really care who wins this year’s World Series now.  I just want to enjoy the rest of the postseason, and then wait and see which Cubs go play winter ball, how the veterans and slightly longer-tenured Cubs decide to work out in the offseason, and look for the same shrewd (though sometimes puzzling) trades that we’ve come to expect from Theo Epstein and friends.  I love that this same core, a core that has given us so many thrills and sporadically frustrated us at the same time, will be together for a good many years (barring some blockbuster trades), and now all of them have postseason batting lines.  Everyone has contributed this postseason even if the NLCS has soured our memories some.

The National League Central won’t sit still either, which means we’ll have a very interesting offseason for every team in the division, including the Cubs.  But don’t expect the front office to tinker with the team too much more than adding more rotation depth.  The core is strong.  It will be a tall order to repeat a 97-win season, but the core will be one year more experienced, with playoff experience to boot, and maybe this time next year, we’ll be singing a different tune.

I spent every game, every inning, thinking that the Cubs would bat around and make this interesting.  I expect to do this for years to come, and one day, they’ll prove me right.  No hate, no regrets, no shame, all pride from me towards this season and this team; they kept battling until the very last strike of the very last out.  I leave this as evidence that the Cubs were in the conversation:

8 wins away from a World Series title is much better than we've seen in years.
8 wins away from a World Series title is much better than we’ve seen in years.

We’re going to keep those number placards around, because one day we’ll have to use 7 through 1.  And then we’ll replace it with a championship ring or trophy.  It’s really going to happen.

Thanks to those of you who stuck by us and our Cubs all season.  We’ll be around through the World Series and the offseason too.  I expect to see a few Cubs get awards, and I expect we’ll see more of this in the future.  Baseball is hard, and winning the World Series isn’t a cakewalk, but this is only the beginning.  Let’s look back on this season with fondness, and let’s keep hoping and dreaming for 2016 and beyond.

 

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About Rice Cube

Rice Cube is the executive vice president of snark at World Series Dreaming. He loves all things Cubs, with notable exceptions (specifically, the part of Cubs fandom that pisses him off). Follow on Twitter at cubicsnarkonia

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