By: Joe Rossetti
After the recent demolishing of the Chicago Cubs, the New York Mets are poised to win the World Series. Despite an early loss in game one to Kansas City, the team has much to prove, and with undoubtedly the best rotation in the MLB, the series isn’t going to be any easier for the Royals. If anything, I’d go as far as saying that the series is still in favor of the Mets. After last night there’s a lot of talk about the Royals and the team’s ability to play through a game in its entirety, but honestly, the Royals are a team of average ballplayers that seem to get lucky and hit when they need it most. By no means were the Mets outplayed last night, the game went into the 14th inning and as bad as it sounds, New York lost the game in the first inning, on the very first pitch. If you take away Yoenis Cespedes’ momentary mental lapse, the Mets win that game in nine innings-easily.
But being a diehard Cubs, nothing pains me more than cheering for the Mets, but if the Cubs are going to lose, or rather get crushed, I want them to lose to the best. To best describe the Cubs’ season this year, I would use the phrase “kissing your sister”, or bittersweet at best, because I want to be so proud of everything that the organization finally accomplished, but at the same time, I’m disappointed in how the season ended, to say the least. It’s almost laughable to see the Cubs play so well for so long, only to watch them forget how to play when they needed to be at their best. There’s no other way around it, the Cubs were flat. People can critique all they want, obnoxiously blame Joe Maddon, claim that Jake Arrieta finally showed signs of being human and speculate that Addison Russell’s absence at shortstop hurt the team, but those are just ignorant, uneducated baseball opinions. At the end of the day, there are nine people on the field at a time, and the team, as a unit, didn’t play well enough, especially offensively. After all, it was a curse. The Cubs weren’t going to break the curse and win it all in one year-that would’ve been asking too much.
Yeah, this is another season that Cub fans everywhere will have to put behind them, but this time, just for about five months. The real fans, the fans that have been with the team for longer than the nine game postseason that the Cubs had this year will look at the end of this season differently. Rather than shamefully shaking this season off and looking to next year for a fresh start and a way to forget the past, the Cubs organization will take this loss with a grain of salt, and look to next for a continuation, an extension of the success that began this season and as way to remember.
Maybe I’m different, and maybe I’m wrong, but this season was never about winning the World Series, and I think it’s almost ignorant to see it that way. This season was about the process of rebuilding. I know it sounds ridiculous because every season in the past eight years has been about “the process” but this season actually was a physical manifestation of everything that Tom Ricketts and Theo Epstein have been working for. This season was about showing the league that the Cubs’ organization wasn’t crazy, that everything that it has been working toward is finally happening. But most of all, this season was about giving back to the fans. This was a way to give back for believing all these years and for not giving up. This was a way to say “thank you” and prove that next year, may finally be the year. These fans have been waiting their entire lives to see the Cubs win the World Series, they can wait one more year knowing that great things are to come.
What the Cubs did this season was unparalleled. It’s not every year that the youngest team in baseball also happens to be the hottest and knock out the two best teams in the first two rounds of the playoffs-while starting four rookies. The Cubs finished the season with potential Rookie of the Year, Cy Young and Manager of the Year candidates in Kris Bryant, Arrieta and Maddon respectively. So no matter how the season ended, or what is said, no one can take away Cubs success or potential for success in the future.
As much as it’ll hurt me to see this group of guys get separated, for the Cubs to get where everyone wants them to be, World Series champions, some changes must be made. I love Kyle Schwarber as much as the next guy, but he’s just another bat in the lineup, and a great one at that. Schwarber brings a lot of power to the lineup as well as a great offensive prowess, but other than that, there’s not much left to his game, seeing that he’s a defensive detriment to the team. There’s no shortage of offense or power on the Cubs, and for Schwarber to really thrive he needs to get to the American League where he can focus on what he does best-hit. So I’m feeling a trade, and coincidentally, there’s been talk suggesting a potential trade between the Oakland Athletics and the Chicago Cubs, where Schwarber would be traded for A’s ace, Sonny Gray. And it’s no secret, the one flaw in the Cubs’ game is pitching.
Arrieta and Jon Lester can only do so much, but the addition of Gray to the rotation would introduce a potential fourth ace. Combine that with the Cubs’ potential to acquire David Price from the Toronto Blue Jays and the pitching staff instantly becomes the best in baseball. It’s a long shot, I know, but I have faith in the organization, and if it happens, a rotation like that with four “aces” would be near unstoppable.
So at the end of the day, I think a lot can be said about the Cubs. Obviously there’s going to be talk that the Cubs won’t be able to be this good ever again, and I’m hoping that’s because they’ll be better. As the players develop and mature this offseason, I would not be surprised to see the Cubs make a statement early on next season. I can say confidently that the Cubs will dominate the National League Central and that a new rivalry will be developing. It’s likely that a Cubs-Mets rivalry will develop in the near future as these two teams will likely meet in the Championship Series for many years to come.
So for now, I’m going to cheer for the Mets and hope they do well, with the expectation that they’ll be doing the same for the Cubs next season while they’re watching the World Series at home on television.