Dry Your Eyes, Cubs Fans
By Kate Shepherd in News on Oct 22, 2015 3:43PM
It's time to put the Cubs' loss to the Mets in the National League Championship Series behind us and look forward to the team's incredibly bright future.
In April no one would have ever guessed how far the Cubs have come: 97 wins in the regular season, a National League wild card game victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates and a NL division series win over the St. Louis Cardinals. The journey has been a blast and it's been a pleasure to watch this team play all season.
Many of the star players—Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Jorge Soler, Starlin Castro, Addison Russell, Javier Baez—are 25 or younger. There's only room to grow and the postseason experience they've gained will be priceless next year. As Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville has said, this team reminds him of the 2008-2009 Blackhawks, who were defeated by the Detroit Red Wings in the playoffs that year, and later went on to win the 2010 Stanley Cup.
Schwarber summed it up perfectly following last night's loss:
"It's hard to feel like losers because we did plenty of winning," he told reporters in the locker room. "I feel like the fans—and just about everyone else in baseball—should be proud of what we did. We're trying to instill a new culture in Chicago, and that's winning baseball. Now we know what it takes to get here. A lot of us are going to remember what it feels like."
Manager Joe Maddon and president Theo Epstein have proven their expertise over and over again this season. They see value in the human element of baseball and bring out the best in their players. They made some key roster additions late in the season that paid off in the series against the St. Louis Cardinals, like signing relief pitcher Trevor Cahill who'd been left for dead by other teams. Those are the kinds of decisions past management never made.
Maddon also encouraged the players to have fun—a big culture shift for the clubhouse, he said. We will never forget some of these classic moments from rookie dress up day to Kris Bryant posing as a Lyft driver:
Cheetah selfie! pic.twitter.com/5yNVxNfWWH— Kris Bryant (@KrisBryant_23) September 23, 2015
Pajama night pic.twitter.com/PVDVNW3iTw— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) August 31, 2015
There were also many sweet moments. Cancer survivor and first baseman Anthony Rizzo regularly visits sick children at Lurie Children's Hospital, including on Tuesday morning before the big game: