Dear Cubs, you deserve it. You really do, and no one can tell you otherwise. The 108 year drought is over, and you have finally been reacquainted with victory. St. Louis’ favorite jokes are no longer relevant. “What did Jesus say to the Cubs the last time he was on Earth?” No longer can we say, “Don’t do anything ‘til I get back.” “What do you call a Cubs player with a World Series ring?” The answer is not, “A thief,” anymore.
Yes, our hearts may have been hardened against you last October when you beat us in the National League Division Series, and we may have been unforgiving when you stole John Lackey and Jason Heyward from us, but those are losses we’re willing to take. Some would even say that we have an investment in you, in the form of one of our old outfielders and one of our old pitchers.
Your history is a narrative of good money and bad baseball. You settled in for an extensive reign as the worst franchise in Major League Baseball. However, the tale changed slowly over the years when you invested in skilled players, and October of 2015 finally began to showcase the results of your investment.
You may have kicked my beloved Cardinals from their usual place in the playoffs, but you fell to the New York Mets in the next series. You left Chicago with a stellar season that just wasn’t quite enough to get to the World Series.
Nonetheless, last year prepared you for this year’s victory and the taste of the playoffs left you thirsting for more. This season we witnessed the work of Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, and Jake Arrieta finally pay off. Kyle Schwarber and Ben Zobrist also proved their worth, along with countless others.
Right when America thought Cleveland would win, you kept playing and proved that Cubs players are just as dedicated as their eternally loyal fans. You never gave up, or lost focus when adversity confronted you. When you walked a batter unintentionally, or made an error in the field, you kept your heads. The investment from the franchise, and perseverance of these players won the World Series. Luck did not overcome the curse of the Cubs, instead, it was purely hard work and dedication.
I grew up in the best baseball town in America. Recently when a professor asked my class what we were doing ten years ago, I immediately thought, “Watching the Cardinals win the world series.” My siblings and I stayed up past our bedtime to watch the end of every game. No one could move my brothers from in front of the television when the Cardinals were in the World Series, and I expect that no Little Leaguer or aspiring softball player in Chicago budged an inch when the Cubs played the Indians this October.
Chicago knows what a unifying force a baseball team can be, especially in a baseball loving town. I learned at a young age that the Cardinals are the most unifying piece of St. Louis, and the same could be said for the Cubs in their home of Chicago. The morning of November 3, 2016 came and I gritted my teeth while watching footage from the night before.
Slowly, I found surprise filling my heart. Instead of pure hate built on years of St. Louis loyalty, I rejoiced with the Cardinals’ least favorite team. The rejoicing throngs filling Chicago’s streets reminded me of my own baseball loving town, and I remembered my next door neighbors in St. Louis who tirelessly cheer for their Cubs, year after year.
So here’s to you, the Chicago Cubs, and the reigning World Series Champions. I hope that you will forever enjoy America’s favorite pastime, and play the game for the sake of the game itself. And yes, for now, enjoy the taste of victory, and we’ll see you next Spring out on the diamond.