The streak goes on, the Curse of the Billy Goat, but not for much longer. Now there is hope, there is belief, there is a reason to really root for the home team on the Lake.
They wake up this morning with no more games to play, these young Chicago Cubs, but they go towards the off season knowing how far they have come in such a short distance, and how much money they have available to get even better next year.
The season is over, swept out by the New York Mets, but the season ends with great confidence better times are ahead.
For all the years of losing at Wrigley Field, and yes 1945 was a long time ago, that last World Series appearance, the Cubs are just one offseason acquisition or two from being the next National League representative in the Fall Classic.
The years of Harry Caray saying “Cubs win-Cubs win” will truly have meaning next fall. The cries from the booth of the late Ron Santo “oh no” won’t be heard in the future.
President Theo Epstien, GM-Jed Hoyer, and Player Personnel guy Jason McLeod, have put together a deep young everyday roster, drafted well, and have more youngsters on the horizon in the farm system. And Joe Maddon managed them to a prosperous season.
It’s the draft, the signing of Cubans, a select free agent or two that have jettisoned the Cubs from loveable losers, to pennant contenders.
Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Jose Baez, Starlin Castro, Miguel Montero and Jorge Soler are the combined best group of young players on the job right now, in any stadium, any batting order. And most are all home grown.
The off season looks promising, with the emergence of Jake Arrietta, the continued strength of veteran Jon Lester, the growth of Kyle Kendrick, and an array of young arms out of the bullpen..
The best part of the talent level, is the player budget. Because they are so good, and yet so young, hardly any are arbitration eligible. It means the Cubs have fixed young slotted salaries, and checkbook money to use to add more arms.
Think what a front line starter like David Price or Jordan Zimmerman, high priced, but yet affordable to Chicago, would mean in 2016.
This year was a step towards respectability. Next year is the season to look forward to, World Series credibility.
Think I can close my eyes and hear the echoes of Harry Caray, “Cubs win-Cubs win” a year from now. Wrigley Field always rocks. 2016 is might explode.