Welllllllll, in fairness, the quest actually began back in the regular season, because you can’t repeat in the playoffs if you don’t make the playoffs.
And I guess the preparations for the season started in Spring Training. Or even before that.
And I guess you can’t repeat unless you win in the first place.
And you can’t win in the first place if you don’t have a baseball team.
So, if we’re going to be really pedantic, the Cubs’ quest to repeat as World Series champions began at some point in 1876, or in the creation of the organization before that. Or maybe the dawn of human history, now that I think about it. Big Bang, anybody?
I’ve gone far afield. That is all to say, the Chicago Cubs’ 2017 postseason run begins today, as they face the Washington Nationals in the NLDS.
It’s odd to think of the so-recently-juggernaut Cubs, the reigning World Champs, as the underdog, but that’s the reality of this series. That’s not a knock on the Cubs, who posted the best second half record in the National League, but it’s a credit to the extremely deep and well-rounded Nationals. You won’t find many pundits picking the Cubs in this one.
Theo: "I don’t know, but I assume people aren’t picking us to win the whole thing. That doesn’t really matter. It’s just opportunity."
— Patrick Mooney (@MooneyNBCS) September 28, 2017
— USA TODAY Sports (@usatodaysports) October 2, 2017
MLB playoff predictions 2017: Who we think will win the World Series https://t.co/UD6C39qVOV
— Big League Stew (@bigleaguestew) October 5, 2017
I’m comfortable with the Cubs playing the part of underdog. They’ve so rarely done it in the last couple years, so it’ll be a nice change.
Moreover, the nice thing for the Cubs: they’re not the ones who come into this series with the historical weight of ugly precedent. The Cubs just won the whole dang thing. The Nationals, by contrast, still haven’t won a postseason series. Ever. Not even when they were the Expos in Montreal. (Unless you count the strike-created not-quite-a-postseason-series thingy back in 1981.)
Throw in the Dusty Baker factor, and I’d say there’s a whole lot more pressure on the Nationals to win this series than the Cubs. Will they let that pressure exceed the pleasure? We’ll see. I know the Cubs won’t.
Much more ahead on the games to come. For now, I’ll say simply, like Mr. Cub might have: Let’s win two.
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) October 6, 2017