Baseball is the American national past time that has been able to unite the country in times of turmoil, economic and political unrest, and even times of happiness and success. Baseball, however, is not just a sport; it is a culture in and of itself that, despite its competitive nature, yields nothing but positivity to our nation. Its traditions have been some that have been passed from father to son, grandfather to granddaughter, and generation to generation since the formation of Major League Baseball.
One of the oldest of these traditions is, sadly, the 107 year streak that the Chicago Cubs have gone without winning the World Series. Some say that the Chicago Cubs are cursed and are destined for perpetual heartbreak and disappointment. However, I would contend that there are recent developments on the team that make the Cubs a strong candidate for winning the World Series within the next ten years.
Castro and Rizzo are a Deadly Combination
Players Sterlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo’s batting averages, on-base percentages, and slugging averages make them a deadly combination on the field. Last year, short stop Sterlin Castro, who has been with the team for five years now, was able to boast a .292 batting average, .349 on-base percentage, and .410 slugging average. He also has made a total of 873 hits so far in his career, which analyst Andrew Fair of Cubbies Crib argues is comparable to that of Pete Rose and Derek Jeter at this same age (25).
Joe Maddon, Cubs manager, has also expressed his contentment with the amount of growth he has seen in Castro since his signing to the team. Similarly, first basemen Anthony Rizzo has some pretty impressive statistics to boast as well. With 1,900 plate appearances and a All Star selection, Rizzo is no rookie to the game. Also, with thirty-two home runs lasts season, and a career batting average of .257 average, .351 of career on-bat percentages, and a career slugging average of .450, Rizzo is one of the Cub’s biggest stars. Combatted with the strong suits of Castro and other star players, the Cubs have the potential of growing into a really strong, formidable team.
The Cubs have had a good start to the season thus far, with an eight-game winning streak. However, critics have also praised Maddon for his unconventionality in formulating strategy when the team is losing. Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune wrote in an article, Joe Maddon’s style making a big difference for Cubs, that, “Maddon’s knack for the unexpected as well as his laid-back style has provided a calming effect for Cubs players, regardless of their service time.” With Maddon’s experience, along with his innovative way of motivating the team, Maddon’s recent addition to the team has proven to be invaluable thus far.
Pressure from a Restless Fan Base
I would passionately argue that the Chicago Cubs have one of the most loyal, dedicated fan bases in all of Major League Baseball. Not only are the Chicago Cubs one of the oldest teams in the League, but Wrigley Stadium is also located in one of the most populous cities in the country: Chicago. Despite the rivalry within the city between Cubs fans and White Sox fans, the tradition and historical integrity that the Cubs franchise embodies is arguably what has attracted and maintained such a strong fan base throughout the years.
However, despite the extreme and impressive amount of loyalty, fans are getting tired. One can only console themselves with the phrase, “There’s always next year,” for so long. The pressure is on, and the time is now to give the fans what they have always hoped and dreamed for. While some may argue that a true fan is someone whose loyalty is unwavering, despite the amount of wins or losses they have, I would also strongly argue that there eventually comes a point in time when the disappointment of getting your hopes and dreams up just to witness mediocrity for another year becomes too painful to bear.
Two incredibly talented teammates, a new and innovative manager, and a pressure from the fan base will, in my humble opinion, finally grant us the win we have been waiting for so long to experience.