A Most Difficult Question: Winning It All, Then Losing It All

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A Most Difficult Question: Winning It All, Then Losing It All

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clinch celebration 2015Soon after the postseason ended, I got a great email from BN’er Drew with a thought experiment about the past season, and about the future. Now that we’ve seen how much the Cubs have added this offseason, his question is even more tricky to answer, and fun to think about and discuss. With thanks and apologies to Drew, I’ve tweaked his initial question just a bit to account both for the offseason thus far, and to make things all the more difficult.

The thrust of what Drew asks: imagine you had the choice between an alternate reality and where things actually stand today with the Cubs. In the alternate reality, the Cubs beat the Mets in the NLCS, and went on to take out the Royals in the World Series. They finally won it all. And it came by way of that amazing, wonderful 2015 Cubs team – could you think of a more perfect crew and story to finally win the World Series for the Cubs?

The catch? In that alternate reality, imagine that, after winning the World Series, the entire team is released. Ditto the coaching staff. Ditto the front office. Moreover, there were no huge moves this offseason – just a handful of minor signings to put together a plausible team for 2016.

But no more Anthony Rizzo. Or Kris Bryant. Or Kyle Schwarber. Or Jake Arrieta. No Jason Heyward or Ben Zobrist. No Joe Maddon. No Theo Epstein or Jed Hoyer or Jason McLeod. No one associated with the 2015 team remains. It’s all gone, and everything starts from scratch.

The question is … do you take it? Do you take this alternate reality, which, remember, includes a world championship won by the most fun Cubs team in decades? You’d always have the memory. No one could take it away from you.

But the players and the coaches and the front office would all be scattered about baseball on other teams. The “Cubs” as you know them, would be completely overhauled, and, given the contours of this alternate reality, probably pretty crappy for a long, long time.

Or, you could just keep things as they are. The Cubs look like one of the best teams in baseball not only for 2016, but also beyond. They didn’t win it all in 2015, but they might very soon.

But they might not. They might not win it all for another 10 or 15 or 100 years. You might never get to see it.

So there’s your question. Lock in winning it all with that 2015 team, and all the wonderful memories that come with it, but then lose everything associated with the team … or just keep things the way they are. What do you do?

How badly do you want to see the Cubs win it all? How attached are you to the future of this team?

For Drew’s part, he said he wouldn’t take the alternate reality, even though it included a title:

I say no, primarily because I don’t just want to see the Cubs win this World Series. I want to see this team play baseball together for the next five years, and what the organization can achieve beyond that timeframe. I want to see what this team can achieve together. Maybe my answer would be different if I was 89 years old, and I really feel for Cubs fans who truly fear (with good reason) that they will never see the team win it all. But I thought the Cubs 2015 season was a tremendous success, and I wouldn’t trade the Cubs’ future for anything – even, strange as it sounds, a World Series.

I tend to agree with Drew. For me, loving a baseball team has to be about slightly more than the uniforms they wear. Of course I want to see the Cubs – just about any Cubs – win a World Series while I’m still around, but I think the 2015 season, as it was, ultimately was pretty incredible. I’ll take that collection of memories, including the crushing ending, together with whatever is coming next with this group of Cubs.

Are Drew and I crazy? What do you think? What would you do?


Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.