It was a miracle season for Cubs fans last year. Words like destiny were being used to describe the amazing run they had. From the moment where Kyle Schwarber got hurt in April and later returned for the World Series, all the way to the last out of the game 7 extra inning thriller in Cleveland. It didn’t matter if you were a fan of the North Siders or not. Everything seemed to fall in place whenever necessary, of course. The 108 year drought was over and it’s time to celebrate in the Windy City. The champagne never tasted so good for Coach Joe Maddon and his guys.
Nearly five months later, the celebratory season should’ve been in the rear view mirror on the way to Arizona. Players started gathering in their temporary living arrangements near Sloan Field in Mesa, Arizona. The feeling in the air doesn’t seem so fairy-tale like anymore, but instead it looks like a scene from the movie “The Hangover.” Almost 227,000 fans came to see their beloved World Champions during spring training. It was the start of a Championship tour they would soon want to forget. A 13-18 record shouldn’t be too much to worry about right? After all, it’s just spring training.
The National League MVP was hitting .300, Jason Heyward struggled like usual, and Arrieta had a 5.56 ERA. All seems pretty normal to Cubs fans, or at least what they are used to. Wait a minute, the former Cy Young winner wasn’t pitching well? That is a major cause for concern considering he won 18 games for them last year and 22 the year before that. The Ace of this staff needs to pitch well for them to be successful. Maybe it’s worrying for nothing. He is a professional; he will figure it out. Perhaps the batting will make up for it. Rizzo is a solid stick and Fowler is an outstanding leadoff hitter. That is how they’ll get it done, just pick up the slack until the pitching is right. Players gaze in the outfield, trying to block the scorching Arizona sun. They don’t see number 24 anywhere. Confusion sets in as they stare at each other in dismay. It looks as if the record number of champagne bottles consumed by the team in 2016 has caught up to them. Dexter Fowler has taken his talents 302 miles south to join the hated rival with the birds on the bats. Is it time to panic now? Fans remain hopeful because spring training can be deceiving; April is right around the corner. They’ll get the rings from the previous year and that’ll spark the flame.
Going into the 2017 season, the Cubs were a 30-1 favorite to win 88 or more games. I am pleased to announce I took those odds. It is now July and the Cubs are a game below .500 with 42 wins and 43 losses. It has been a roller coaster of a year to say the least. Fans are still optimistic and confident for 2017, but I believe it will be another 108 years before history repeats itself. Sure as God made green apples, the Cubs won’t be in the World Series in 2017. I’d like to believe I saw this coming, but the truth is…it is nearly impossible to repeat as champions in Major League Baseball. Between the grueling schedule and the misfortune of injuries, it can be a daunting task. Good luck Cubs fans!