BY CHRIS REWERS
It dawned on me while I was watching an NFL playoff game last weekend.
The “Most Years in Professional Sports Without Winning a Championship” graphic appeared on the screen. There were the familiar logos of the Cleveland Indians, Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions, Sacramento Kings, and Toronto Maple Leafs. But for the first time in television history, the familiar Cubs bulls eye logo of the Cubs was nowhere to be found.
As the Cubs attempt to become just the fourth National Leaguue team to win back-to-back world championships and the first to accomplish the feat in 41 years, there will be no more references to the “lovable losers; no more recollections of 1945 or 1908; and no more talk of curses or goats or black cats or Leon Durham or Steve Bartman or deceased relatives.
The focus will be where it belongs – on the present, on this team, and on these players.
For most of my life, there were always fleeting moments in which I questioned the time, money, energy, and passion that i put into following Cubs baseball. I always reassured myself with the thoughts of how great it would be when the Cubs finally recorded that final out.
Sometimes when I build something up in my head, it fails to live up to expectations, but the joy I felt as Kris Bryant scooped up a grounder and threw to first baseman Anthony Rizzo to retire Michael Martinez was as euphoric as I had hoped. it would be. It will continue to be a reference point for the rest of my life.
I understand that the nature of being a Cubs fan will never be the same and that the first championship will always seem like the most special, but I’m hoping last year was only the beginning of what I am confident will be a golden age of Cubs baseball.
The Yankees had their time, the Dodgers had their moments in the sun, the Cardinals have claimed more than their fair share of World Series trophies, and the Giants most recently have enjoyed a sustained streak of success.
Now, finally, it is our turn.
Around the majors
General manager Jerry DiPoto continued his very active offseason by acquiring left-hander Drew Smyly from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for three minor leaguers. The 27-year-old Smyly was 7-12 with a 4.88 ERA in 30 starts with Tampa Bay last year. … The Oakland Athletics signed reliever Santiago Casilla to a two-year contract. Casilla, who spent the last seven seasons with the San Francisco Giants, had 31 saves last season but blew nine save opportunities. … Right-hander Zack Wheeler agreed to an $800,000, one-year contract with the New York Mets after missing two seasons because of a torn elbow ligament.
Photo of the day
Young fans perched atop a tree to watch the Cubs play
at Wrigley Field in 1932 (Vintage Baseball).
Best of the Web
“A bigger vote? Hall class size may drop jaws” by Barry M. Bloom (MLB.com)