Once upon a time, before the Chicago Cubs could be considered “good,” I wrote something about how we as Cubs fans will be able to strut our stuff and celebrate baseball’s ultimate prize. It wouldn’t have been fitting for our favorite squad to do this the easy way, so of course this thing would go the distance. Why not? Even as the best team in baseball, the Cubs had to navigate some tough stretches in the regular season, and appropriately had to overcome adversity in the figurative sense in the playoffs.
If you’re reading this and you’ve been with us since this little adventure started, you’ll know all the crap we have had to deal with. From fans and commenters who didn’t or couldn’t understand the Plan, to non-believers in the power of the ever-growing stash of prospects that eventually came up to contribute in this wild ride, to trolls from other teams who couldn’t come up with anything other than 1908 jokes, we’ve seen it all.
In any other year I might have rooted for the Cleveland Indians, who were the protagonists in one of my favorite baseball movies and had a drought almost as bad as the Cubs’ own. But not this year. With the whole Chief Wahoo controversy going on and fans showing up at Indians games with questionable attire, I guess I just couldn’t stomach that level of tone-deafness anymore. And besides, as you all know, the Cubs were in the World Series, and I have my priorities.
As I watched Theo Epstein in the crowd watching the last outs of his creation, with the blessing of Cubs owner Tom Ricketts, I can certainly recall the opening press conference where Epstein preached patience and process. The process has persisted through three managers, culminating in Joe Maddon‘s steady hand among the quirks he brought to the clubhouse and in-game strategy.
Even as the Cubs found themselves in a 3-1 hole in the World Series, I stayed optimistic, because this team is simply too good to lay down and die despite cold streaks. Over the next two games, the Cubs rewarded our faith with thrilling victories to extend the series. Increasingly, we as Cubs fans could see the end of the narrative of the “lovable losers” and change that narrative to that of perennial champions.
We could also start waving off all those naysayers, haters, and other negative influences that threatened to bring us down through the rebuild and the rising stars.
The folks who wished ill upon the trade acquisitions after being upset at the loss of the obvious sign-and-flip candidates never saw the potential of guys like Jake Arrieta, Anthony Rizzo, or Addison Russell. So to those who tuned out of the game because of their selective myopia, I hope you come back to this team with renewed faith. And we have to thank good ol’ Ben Zobrist, too, for choosing the Cubs…
— MLB (@MLB) November 3, 2016
To everyone who gave up on this team with every hiccup or matchup against a Madison Bumgarner, Clayton Kershaw, or Corey Kluber…well, the Cubs kind of proved you wrong, didn’t they? They certainly wouldn’t have been in Game Seven of the World Series if they were as bad as you thought they were.
As the franchise wipes away a century-plus of futility, we as long-time Cubs fans get to wash away the haters too. No longer can fans of other teams throw the usual insults at us. We’ve earned this, because the players we have admired and trusted for all of 2016 did their job, never gave up, and earned their championship. Yes, it was difficult, but it still counts.
There is only one down side to this game, though…
Sleep well, boys and girls. Wake up celebrating the Chicago Cubs, your 2016 World Series Champions. And to hell with all the haters.