The Chicago Cubs took their fans on a fantastic ride this season, playing deep into October. But the ride ended Tuesday night when the New York Mets swept the Cubs in four games to advance to the World Series. Fans hoped for a comeback at home, but that was not to be. And even though Cub fans were disappointed in the outcome, they talked after the game about what a wonderful season the team had, what fun it was to come to games again and the hope they have for the future.
Cubs fans also showed how classy they are, with most of the more than 40,000 in attendance staying with the team to the final out, and then staying at the park giving the Mets a deserved round of applause before starting the “Let’s Go Cubs” chant to show their appreciation to the team for the wonderful season. When the Mets finished their on-field celebration, the Cubs came back out onto the field to tip their caps and give a wave to the fans to show their appreciation.
The year started as a question mark with a new manager and new, young, faces. Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Kyle Schwarber were still in Triple-A ball and the bleachers weren’t finished in time for Opening Day. This manager knew how to get through to all the team members. They played hard. And suddenly something happened and the Cubs were in the Wild Card race. They did what many thought was impossible and won that game in Pittsburgh. They then went to St. Louis to meet their arch rivals for the first time in postseason play for bragging rights for the Division Championship, and they won the division. At first fans said that if the Cubs did not beat Pittsburgh it would have been a great season. But the Cubs surprised everyone and fans began to really believe this may be “our” season.
The heartbreak is there, but so is the hope. A hope Cubs fans have not had in so many years. This year’s team proved they can compete. There are holes that need to be filled in the off season, but the hope for next year is real.
Fans have taken to social media to express their appreciation for the team and what they accomplished, saying that there is nothing in which to be ashamed. Even President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein told reporters that this team was the most selfless team he has seen in a long time. They came together and worked as a team. This was proved time and time again throughout the season as each team member contributed to the 97 wins, the third best in all of baseball.
While fans turn to the Hot Stove for winter Cubs news, they will continue to talk about this team. About how great Bryant already is, about Schwarber’s home run that stuck on the Budweiser sign atop the right field video board, about Jake Arrieta’s no-hitter and more. And they will wait to hear whether Arrieta will win the National League Cy Young Award and Bryant will win the National League Rookie of the Year Award. They will talk about the hope for next year and their expectations for next year’s team. After all, this team has set a high bar for themselves and Cub fans will be watching.
In the end, as one fan put it, “This season won’t be about how it ended. This season is about how the whole thing started. And that, my friends, is one fabulous story.”