The Cubs were the longest running joke in pro sports. When I was a kid and we played baseball in the backyard, nobody wanted to be the Cubs. With the exception of Andrew Dawson in 1987, there weren't many Cubs players that a Mets fan from Queens would pick to emulate during a game of street baseball or homer derby behind the factory buildings.
We simply used to say, "The Cubs suck."
That ended in 2016, when baseball’s lovable losers finally brought a World Series to the Northside of Chicago after 108 years of championship futility.
The last time the Cubs won the World Series, America was expanding on an industrial revolution that launched just a few decades earlier.
Air flight was the cutting edge technology that the Wright Brothers were still tinkering with.
The average male life span in the U.S. was 49 ½, which would mean I had seven joints to go in life’s rodeo.
Life without traffic jams soothed our souls and road rage didn’t exist. In fact, there weren’t even highways and 1908 was the year Henry Ford began mass production of the Model T (price: $850).
There were only 46 states (New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska and Hawaii had yet to join) and just 6,210 folks watched the Cubs win their last World Series, a five-game victory against Detroit.
It was also the first year that the New Year's Ball dropped in New York's Times Square.
Seems as if 1908 was the beginning of a new age in America in many aspects of our everyday living. Expecting the Cubs to find a way to lose was one of them.
With the Cubs finally breaking the curse and re-establishing the franchise as winners, 2018 marks the beginning of a new era. A time when the Windy City is looked upon favorably by the baseball world, not just for their acceptance of mediocrity but for their rise back to respectability.
The franchise that Cubs legend Gary “Sarge” Matthews said “most hitters couldn’t wait to come to, to break out of a slump and get their averages up,” is now the supreme MLB example of how to build a winning franchise in today’s game.
They made shrewd scouting and draft decisions and hit on almost all of their homegrown players. They didn’t break the bank, but still managed to acquire some clutch veterans, who helped put them over the top and win a tough seven-game series against Cleveland, another squad that hasn’t seen a World Series trophy in a very long time.
It took 108 years, but the odds have turned in the Cubs fans' favor. It’s like when one empire rules for years, as the Yankees did in past decades, and then the downtrodden, oppressed franchise finally rebels and successfully rises to power. The Cubs are back.
While it’s a cool story, I wonder how Chicago will adjust to winning all the time. Their entire existence and the personality of the fan base and the city has been constructed to be embracing of failure and resilient in nature. When the Cubs won, the entire fan population seem to wig out in disbelief. They all seemed to exhale and release years of frustration, anxiety, pain and unwavering emotional investment. Will they have anything left for next year?
Despite a century of disappointment Cubs Fans never lost hope. In 2016, they tasted the fruits of their loyalty.