The Chicago Cubs championship in 2016 was the most important and blissful moment in Cubs history. That fateful night in Cleveland seems more important each year.
On a chilly autumn day in Chicago three years ago, 42,386 people were on their feet in Wrigley Field as the Chicago Cubs were moments away from their first National League pennant since 1945. Tens of thousands more had already flooded the streets of Wrigley Field.
Others had been waiting for this moment for decades.
And then, it happened. The Fall Classic was headed to Wrigley Field for the first time since World War II.
The Chicago Cubs were in the World Series.
Tears flowed, bottles popped, voices were lost and memories were made. It was the best feeling in the world. Until the final out of Game 7, of course.
Cubs fans knew that they were on top of the world. They were living what they had dreamed of for years.
But like with anything in life, you never really know what you’ve got until it’s gone.
Though the Cubs will still be a playoff contender for 2020, there will be a different feel around Wrigley come April. The bliss and confidence around the Cubs have given way to a sense of urgency as their championship window inches ever so close to closure.
They’ll have a new skipper at the helm, as the team opted not to renew former manager Joe Maddon’s contract after a disappointing season.
Even the phrase “Former Cubs manager Joe Maddon” is odd to say.
Sure, the Cubs have plenty of familiar faces from 2016. But the swagger and magic just aren’t there.
After 2016, things began to change for the Cubs. Not just the faces on the field, but the team found themselves in numerous controversial spots. From Addison Russell‘s behavior to political and social turmoil surrounding the front office, Cubs fans have endured a lot since the final out was made in Cleveland nearly three years ago.
Heck, some Cubs fans may not even be able to watch the team anymore depending on how the new network unfolds.
Just six days after the Cubs won the World Series, the country endured one of the most divisive and consequential elections in its history.
Now, we’re in no way taking a political stance here. But one would be hard-pressed to find anyone who wouldn’t say that the past few years have been a trying time for Americans no matter where they stand politically or ideologically.
With each passing year, the importance of 2016 is realized more and more. Had Mike Montgomery blown the save in the 10th inning, or David Ross not hit a solo home run for some insurance, or Kris Bryant not completed the throw to first base as he slipped on the infield, history would be very different.
The Cubs were inches away from being in a 111-year World Series drought and counting.
Thank goodness the Cubs won the World Series, as we inch closer each year to only winning one championship with the current regime.