sports gazette

Not the same old Cubs

Published: 14 Oct 2016

Is this finally the year the Cubs will win the World Series?

Something strange is happening to the Chicago Cubs. After losing game three to the San Francisco Giants despite taking an early 3-0 lead, many fans expected the inevitable collapse to occur.

The series seemed headed to a decisive game five as the Cubs were down three runs in the final inning. That is when the script completely flipped. Starting with a Kris Bryant single, and ending with a Javier Baez RBI, the Cubs found themselves leading 6-5. Aroldis Chapman closed out the game for the Cubs as they head to the NLCS for the second straight year.

It has been well documented that the Cubs have not won a World Series since 1908 and have not even played in a World Series since 1945. They have had opportunities, but have always seemed to diminish when the lights burn brightest.

Some notable Cubs collapses include the 1984 NLCS, where the Cubs had a 2-0 series lead only to lose the next three to the San Diego Padres, and of course the infamous “five outs away” in 2003, where a 3-1 series lead turned into the darkest hour in Cubs history.

Although obnoxious, it is understandable that Cubs fans have come to expect the worst from their teams. There was a familiar feeling of déjà vu surrounding Cubs fans even after taking a 2-0 series lead against the Giants.

Those fears however, were unwarranted. Even though the Cubs lost game three, they scored three early runs against Madison Bumgarner, who before then, pitched 24 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings in the postseason.

There is a different feeling about this incarnation of the Cubs than years past. Where previous teams would crack under the mounting pressure of not winning a World Series since the early 1900s, this team thrives in it. All you need to do is see how much fun players like Baez and Willson Contreras are having out on the field.

This is not a new phenomena, let's take a trip back to July 31st, when the Cubs played the Mariners. Brian Matusz made his only start of the year for the Cubs and proceeded to give up six runs in the first three innings.

In a game in the dregs of the season, with a comfortable lead in the division, it would be perfectly understandable if manager Joe Maddon decided to cut his loses and rest his players. Instead, the Cubs chipped away at the deficit, scored three runs in the ninth inning, and eventually won in the 12th inning.

This is not your parents, grandparents, or even great-grandparents Chicago Cubs. They are a talented, battle tested and experienced group despite their youth. It is time to realize that this may be the year where it all comes together. So sit back, enjoy the games, and try not to panic.

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