In spring training Chicago Cubs’ Manger Joe Maddon coined a simple goal from his 97 win 2015 team. Madden simply instructed them to “Try Not To Suck.” Apparently his team got the message because the Cubs sit with a league best 75-43 record with a 12.5 game lead in the NL Central. After briefly slumping prior to the All Star break where the the team struggled to score runs the Cubs have been in command with +201 run differential. Their starting pitching has been equally as dominate while holding opposing hitters to a ridiculously low .213 batting average while compiling a 3.11 ERA which are both league bests.
So with what could only be described as a juggernaut for a team the question remains outside Chicago why are Cubs’ fans so nervous?
Seriously? For some Cubs fans it is as simple as the fact that the Cubs have not won a World Series in 108 years! Nervous old timers point to the overly confident 1969 Cubs team who featured future Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Billy Williams and Ferguson Jenkins who managed to blow a 9 game lead over the “Amazin Mets.”
While younger neurotic fans may not remember the 1969 collapse they certainly have a vivid recollection of the 2003 infamous Bartman Game. For those that don’t recall it was October 14, 2003 with the Cubs leading the Florida Marlins 3-2 in the best of 7 NLCS. With the Cubs leading 3-0 in the 8th inning with 1 out Cubs’ pitcher Mark Prior who had been in control up to that point got Marlins Luis Castillo to pop up in what appeared to be a playable foul ball down the 3rd base line. As Cubs’ outfielder Moises Alou leaped to make the play inexplicably Cubs’ fan Steven Bartman also went for what he thought would be a souvenir of a lifetime instead caused Alou to drop the ball and along with it the Cubs’ best chance to win a NL Pennant since 1945.
The play would trigger one of the biggest collapses in Cubs’ history as they went on to lose the game and ultimately the series after being 5 outs away from a NL Pennant and a trip to the World Series.
For die hard Cubs’ fans the Bartman Game and the 1969 collapse are as real as heart attack. For baseball fans outside of Chicago they make the sensible argument that those past failures certainly do not have any impact on this years Cubs’ team that is running away with the NL Central crown, but try telling that to the Cubs’ faithful.
The Cubs’ faithful otherwise known as “Neurotically Blue” will still find fault. They point to their recent health scares in the bullpen with Rodon and Strop or the need for a left handed bat because their prized free agent signing Jason Hayward is not hitting his weight! Did we mention Cubs fans your team is 32 games over 500? Relax already and enjoy this historic season! I know curses and championships are not won in August, but this latest Cubs team as constructed is absolutely built to beat down history, curses or any other opponent for that matter!
If you enjoyed this article be sure to check out another Chicago Sports Homer’s Cubs’ post: The Chicago Cubs Embrace The Target
You can read the post in full here: http://www.chicagonow.com/chicago-sports-homer/2016/06/the-chicago-cubs-embrace-the-target/
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