Something happened Monday that the spoiled Cubs fan (like Me) are not used to. We lost! Because it was game #163 and it was played to break the tie between the top two teams in the Central Division it means the Cubs will now be forced to play in the Wild Card Game Tuesday night against the Colorado Rockies. Now Rockies fans are excited to just be there. Cubs fans however are going through a bit of a letdown. We have become used to the team winning the division.
The last time the Cubs didn’t win the division was 2015. That’s when they got into the playoffs with a wild card birth. They defied the odds and beat the Pittsburgh Pirates and then beat the St. Louis Cardinals who were the Division champs. That was a classic series and it was the start of what became “The Run of this Cubs team”. In 2015 it ended with a sweep by the New York Mets who were on fire. But it was that loss that fueled the Cubs for the next year when they had the best record in baseball and dominated the playoffs before playing in one of the most exciting World Series of all time. The Seven game win over the Cleveland Indians.
That started a celebration that seems to have never ended. Sure, our victory ended a legendary and historical drought but at some point you have to get past the celebration and move onto the part where you just get back to playing quality baseball. Don’t get me wrong the Cubs play quality ball. They are still one of the best teams in the sport. But were no longer lovable losers. Were no longer chronic underdogs. Were no longer looking to break a curse or a jinx or making history. Nah, were just trying to be the hardest thing in life that anyone can be… and that is to be Consistently great.
In order to achieve consistent greatness you need adversity and to learn how to overcome it. The Cubs haven’t really faced it yet. Last year it was good enough to lose the National League Championship to the Dodgers. They had a built in excuse. They were tired. After winning the Series they could always go back to use their exhaustion as an excuse. This year they have another excuse and that is their bad luck over injuries. The Cubs gave a massive record Amount of dollars to Free Agent Yu Darvish who was just in the few games he pitched and then eventually out for the season. They have another excuse and that is how the free agent pitcher Tyler Chatwood let them down. But lets face it… The Cubs picked up Cole Hamels a the end of July who had a monstrous August for the team. He became one of baseballs best pitchers and was almost unhittable. He is still on the team and he hopes to pitch if the team can get by the wildcard game and play the Brewers in the division series.
No doubt about it Tomorrow is adversity. Big time adversity. The Rockies are a super hot team. The Cubs are a super tired team. It is set up as a game that they need to overcome. Can they do it? I hope so. BUT I do have my doubts. Who knows? Maybe losing the wild card game won’t be the worst thing in the world. Maybe it will remind them that its not easy. Celebrations eventually have to end. The truly great winners have to always work for it. Great teams overcome adversity. Consistent greatness has to be earned. Let’s go CUBS!!