Happy New Year! What Do You Expect from the Cubs? And Other Bullets

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Happy New Year! What Do You Expect from the Cubs? And Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

cubs-crowd-grant-rally-victoryI did not fall off the no-sugar-desserts wagon last night; I did a no-shirt, running belly flop off of the wagon into a kiddy pool full of cake and apple pie and cookies and Mississippi Mud. That was by design – taking a week off from dessert sweets was more of an experiment than a life change – and I then acquired a buffet of mini desserts for myself, the kids, and some friends for New Year’s Eve. So, although I literally did have all of those desserts last night, I wasn’t quite as indulgent as all that.

… but I did also have a ton of greasy food, beer, and booze, so I’m feeling all kinds of gross and off today. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

  • With today the very first of 2017, I think the initial question in the minds of Cubs fans is some variation of “OMG HOW LONG UNTIL THE CUBS WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP!?!? THEY HAVEN’T DONE IT SINCE LAST YEAR!!! MY DIAMOND SHOES ARE TOO TIGHT!!!”
  • In all seriousness, it’s going to be a fun year of wondering whether the Cubs can be the first team since the 2000 Yankees to win back-to-back titles. That Yankees team, by the way, actually won three in a row (losing only one World Series game in the process), and won four titles in five years – they also famously lost in the thrilling 2001 World Series on the Luis Gonzalez walk-off gum hit, and again in 2003. That was as dynastic as it gets. The Cubs have the positional core to repeat that kind of run (with a whole lot of luck, because that’s absolutely *required* when it comes to winning multiple baseball championships), but the post-2017 pitching situation sure makes you wonder how they’re going to make it happen.
  • … but this is about 2017 for now. I have a question for you: what kind of result will make you happy this year? You don’t want to become a complacent fan, just lustily obsessing over the championship of the past, but, then again, the Cubs did just finally win it all in 2016. Is it fair to say only a second title in 2017 will be satisfying?
  • For me, as I sit here at the very start of the year, I know that anything short of a postseason appearance – and probably winning the NL Central again – would be very disappointing. I base that more on the roster I see than on the need to see the Cubs compete again, though. This is a Cubs team – like last year’s team – that is extremely well-built to compete right now. And, whether the team just won it all in the previous year or hasn’t won it all in 108 years, seasons with extremely well-built rosters cannot be squandered. I just hope the Cubs are preparing to depth-ify that back-end pitching situation, which I know is obviously something we’ve been discussing for quite some time now.
  • I’ll put my stake in the ground right now, by the way: if the Cubs are not in the World Series again in 2017, I will be pulling with all my metaphysical might for the Indians to win it all. Have you noticed how bitter and angry and hostile Indians fans are about being so close to their first championship in 68 years, now the longest streak in baseball? You haven’t? That’s because they haven’t acted that way. Living in Columbus, especially have a great year for the Indians, I’m surrounded by Indians fans. Perhaps not as many as Cubs fans (we’re everywhere, folks), but enough to have had dozens of interactions over the past couple months as I wore my Cubs gear. There was not a one – not a one – who did not engage me in a conversation about the 2016 World Series without a smile. They wanted that title, but they also recognized a great series and a similar yearning in Cubs fans. So, then, if it isn’t going to be the Cubs again in 2017, I say go Indians.*
  • *(But, you know, maybe stop using the Chief Wahoo logo so much.)
  • Those Indians, by the way, sure do look incredibly good on paper: from that World Series team, they add Edwin Encarnacion, get back Michael Brantley, get back Carlos Carrasco, get back a fully healthy Danny Salazar, and lose only Rajai Davis (his Game Seven homer notwithstanding, he posted an 85 wRC+ last year), Mike Napoli (more than replaced by Encarnacion), and Coco Crisp (was a late-season depth addition).
  • Kris Bryant rung in the new year at UFC 207 (seen here perhaps reacting the mere 48-second Ronda Rousey headliner):

  • Happy January 1st:

Author: Brett Taylor

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