I was complaining to a friend of mine after a recent Cubs loss to the Brewers, that the bullpen doesn't seem to be so good thus far, and the hitting hasn't been timely, the defense not as crisp, and on and on. And my friend said hey man, you got nothing to complain about—your team won the World Series last year. And while it's true that the Chicago Cubs did finally break the curse in 2016, does that mean it's wrong for a Cubs fan to want more?
Well, in short the answer is a resounding NO! Just because the Cubs achieved something historic last season doesn't mean that one can't wish for more. For one thing, the very fact that the Cubs did win, and have many of the same faces, tells you that this is a team that should continue to be among the very best going forward.
Meanwhile, we live in a 'what have you done for me lately' world these days. We want instant gratification. We want more and we want it now. What the Cubs did last year was absolutely fantastic, but that was last year. It has nothing to do with what happens this year.
Furthermore, it's a very long season and who wants to sit through 162 games of mostly losing baseball? Look, it's like a drug—once you've had a taste you simply want more. As fans, we're all chasing the high of 2016. It will never feel the same, of course, but it will still feel good enough.
Another reason to be greedy is that we waited our entire lives to get that winning experience, so we've more than paid our dues and shouldn't have to wait another lifetime for it to happen again.
But while we're thinking up reasons why it's okay to want more, Theo Epstein and his staff seem to agree. After all, they built this the right way—through the draft despite a long, slow and painful rebuilding process—the payoff is supposed to be something called sustainable success.
Now I don't know about you, but to me "sustainable success" doesn't mean 'one and done'. It means many bites at the apple. Hell, the White Sox won the World Series in 2005, but haven't really been good ever since. So if the Cubs do the same, then where is that sustainable success we were told to expect?
That said, we all recognize how hard it is to repeat. But the Cubs are too good to be hanging around .500. I know it's early, and the Cubs could suddenly turn on the jets and start dominating. And, yes, they did lose some important defense, play calling and leadership when David Ross danced off with the stars, and Dexter Fowler gave Cubs fans the blues by signing with St. Louis.
Yet what remains is still an awfully good ballclub. Does it have its shortcomings? Sure, as most teams do. The bullpen hasn't gotten it together, and the starting pitching has guys like Lester and Lackey who are another year older and a guy in Hendricks who is a candidate for regression to the mean. Still, they're much better than a four game home losing streak would seem to suggest.
The Cubs didn't lose four in a row all year in 2016. They won 25 of their first 31 games. So what's wrong, you ask? Well, maybe it's nothing. Just like the team went through a tailspin leading up to the all-star game last year, perhaps this year's version of that tailspin is occurring now.
In short, it's too early to tell what's ailing the Cubs but that doesn't mean we should be happy about it. We shouldn't be satisfied with our one World Series title and go away. No sir, we were told to expect sustained success, and dammit I'm going to keep looking for that sustained success even if it kills me.
Now I'm not suggesting the Cubs have to win the whole thing again this year, though that would certainly be nice. But I won't stand for a losing record, even for a short period of time.
And neither should you.
Meanwhile, I'm not looking for another 100 win season. I'm not looking for another title. I'm only asking the Cubs for one thing.
Try not to suck.
Follow me on Twitter @BobWarja