This is the year. It’s gonna happen. The Cubs just won the National League pennant for the first time since 1945, breaking a 71-year drought and punching a ticket to the World Series to face the Cleveland Indians in a best-of-seven showdown.
When it comes to the Cubs, naysayers love to bring up 1908: the year the Cubs last won the Series. It’s true, the Cubs aren’t deemed the “lovable losers” for nothing — they have endured decades of letdowns. But this year, the “W” flag will be flown after the final game of the postseason, with the Chicago Cubs crowned as world champions.
The Cubs entered the 2016 season as World Series favorites. All they have done is prove everybody right. Winning 103 games in the regular season — the most in baseball — the Cubs excelled in every aspect of the game. Their pitching rotation features the winner of the 2015 National League Cy Young award, Jake Arrieta, and two guys, Kyle Hendricks and Jon Lester, who are even better than him. Warming up in relief is a 6’4” lanky pitcher throwing over 100 miles per hour, Aroldis Chapman.
And say the Indians manage to put the ball in play against those stars, just for arguments sake. They will be hitting into one of the best defenses in baseball history. And to beat the Cubs offense, they would have to pitch around the third-highest scoring team in baseball. Oh yeah, and they’d have to dupe the game’s best manager.
But please, we know the Cubs are good. They have been all year. So what makes this team the team to finally win it all? It’s all about belief. The players believe. The city believes. The fanbase believes. Chicago knows this is it.
We’ve known from the pitching. From Arrieta throwing his second no-hitter or Lester dominating the back half of the season as the second-best pitcher in baseball to his teammate — Kyle “The Professor” Hendricks — who has outsmarted the opposition with his Dartmouth degree, sinking fastballs thrown barely harder than our own Wheaton pitchers.
We’ve known from the hitters, like when Javier Baez launched a walk-off home run with a pink bat on Mother’s Day, or when David “Grandpa Rossy” Ross hit his 100th homer at Wrigley Field, one of the most-loved backup catchers ever. From dreamboat MVP candidates Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo developing into one of the best middle-of-the-order combos, and bromances, in the league.
We’ve known from the moments that defy probability, like Arrieta’s three run bomb off of postseason dark wizard Madison Bumgarner or Javy’s double play turns, lightning tags and diving stops that make us question what baseball even is. We’ve also known from the four-run comeback in the ninth inning to advance to the NLCS, before hammering the best pitcher in baseball to finally say that the Cubs are going to the World Series.
Though it started as a dream, this year has been about overcoming the impossible. Except it’s not crazy to dream about the impossible anymore. There is no more next year. We’ll wait ‘til now. It’s happening.