And so, the night after the unthinkable happened, it has come to this…
The Cubs are going home for the winter.
With an optimist’s point of view, maybe it was best to give the players an extended rest after three consecutive seasons of deep playoff runs and an atrocious end-of-year schedule that pretty much killed the team. It gives extra time to rest injuries (Kris Bryant‘s shoulder, Pedro Strop‘s hamstring, the various pitching aches including Yu Darvish and Brandon Morrow) and to do as Theo Epstein and the players said:
Theo: "If we're being totally honest…there was a lot to grind through and there is a lot to be proud of, but we could've done more from Game 1 to Game 162."
Said he agrees with Javy on Cubs lacking consistent (day in/day out) sense of urgency in 2018.
— Tony Andracki (@TonyAndracki23) October 3, 2018
Tony and other Cubs beat folks have plenty of quotes from Theo’s postmortem, as this is the earliest the Cubs have exited the playoffs in quite some time. At least this gives them a chance to fix up the visitor’s clubhouse early, as well as the rich bastard clubs that they are planning to open in 2019. Perhaps after the 2020 season will find the All-Star Game at Wrigley again, too, since the next couple sites have been confirmed already.
We didn’t see all the positive “what ifs” materialize for the Cubs late in the season, and it does start with the offense as the pitching did as we expected. And it’s really too bad that we couldn’t get more mileage out of the Blue October thing, but I’m reasonable sure these Cubs will be back and hungrier to get back to the glory they tasted a couple seasons ago.
I’ve been on record as saying that I am content with getting that one before I die, and will continue to ride that wave of euphoria for maybe the next ten years. Honestly, between moving away from Chicago, trying to find a job, and dealing with life, I can’t really be too cranky about this year. While this was ultimately a disappointing season, squeezing 95 wins out of an offensively-challenged club in the best division in baseball (yeah I said it) is a hell of a feat, and Joe Maddon probably deserves some Manager of the Year consideration (and is also not going to get fired for it for the time being).
My hope is that Theo and Jed Hoyer look at the offensive philosophy, find some free agents (*cough* BRYCE HARPER *cough cough* MANNY MACHADO *cough*), surround the core group that sticks around with some non-trash human beings, and right the ship for 2019. I think that they will, and later on we can explore the possible transactions that can be made to secure another postseason run.
In the meantime, if anyone is interested in being my Dreamcast buddy in the near future, let me know. It’s always fun to shoot the breeze about our favorite team and sport, even if there is no plan.
Cheer up, Cubs fans. At least they got into the dance again, and feeling some pain of defeat is better than not feeling anything at all because they never made it in the first place.