It’s nothing new. Every year there is that one team in baseball that looks destined to win it all from day one.
Yes, that one team. That team that has a rotation where even the No. 5 guy scares you. That team where every batter who comes to the plate can change the game with one swing of a bat. That team that rises from the ashes to win ball games in which they were dead, time after time after time.
This year that team is the lovable losers, the Chicago Cubs.
Except right now the Cubs are anything but losers. They’re already a game away from clinching the NL Central, and we still have more than two weeks of baseball left to play. They’re a whopping 41 games over .500 at 93-52. They’ll likely win more than 100 games, and it’s probably going to be the best regular season finish that we will have seen since the 2001 Seattle Mariners. The Cubs are that good.
But the Cubs will NOT win the World Series.
Sorry Steve Bartman. Sorry Big Cat. Sorry ghost of Harry Caray. Call me crazy, but your boys are not breaking the Curse of the Billy Goat in 2016.
“But the Cubs are the best team in recent memory Dean! How dare you make such a bold and preposterous claim?!?”
Well sorry to burst your bubble of happiness, Cubs fans, but its actually not preposterous at all to say that the Cubbies will not be going all the way this season. And here’s my defense:
1. In this day and age, teams with the best record RARELY win the World Series
Since 2001, 15 MLB teams have recorded 100 + win seasons. The number of those teams who went on to win the World Series?
Yep. 14 teams in the last 15 years have reached triple digits in the win column and failed to win the world series. The one outlier was the 2009 New York Yankees, who finished the season with 102 wins en route to their 27th title.
And the crazier statistic? 11 of those teams were knocked out in the FIRST ROUND.
If history teaches us anything, it’s not the best team that makes the deep postseason run. It’s the hottest team entering October, and the Cubs themselves were proof of that last year when they took down St. Louis in four games. Unfortunately they just ran into an even hotter team in the NLCS, the New York Mets.
2. The Cubs have looked vulnerable against other NL Playoff contenders
They were swept by the Mets in four games (again) back in June. They got rocked by the Cardinals at home that same month. (Yes, I did see the game today). The Dodgers were a blown save away from sweeping them in August. Even the Giants, who are having one of the greatest meltdowns in baseball history, were a blown save away from winning the season series, four games to three. (I know it’s an even year too, but I honestly don’t see San Francisco winning it all this year.)
And wouldn’t it be the most Cubs thing in the world for the team to get booted by Dusty Baker and the Nationals? I think so.
3. The Curse of the Billy Goat
How many times in the past were the Cubs favored entering an NLCS and they failed to get the job done, particularly in horrific fashion? 1984. 1989. 2003. 2015. Math said the Cubs should have advanced to the World Series all of those years. Instead, Steve Garvey, Will Clark, Steve Bartman and Daniel Murphy got in the way. Even 2007 and 2008 had promise, and the Cubs were knocked out in the first round in both of those instances.
Add all of those things up, and the Cubs have still not been to the World Series since 1945.
I know it’s just a stupid mystical curse too, but with all the publicity it gets, you know that the it hasn’t escaped the players minds. It’s going to be interesting to see how this team reacts when they face either the Giants, Dodgers, Mets or Cardinals in the first round.
So tell me again why this claim of the Cubs getting bounced from the postseason is so crazy?
Don’t get me wrong. The Cubs are a great baseball team. Joe Maddon is a genius, and so is Theo Epstein. The future of the this team is bright, and I truly do believe that the curse will be broken within the next five to ten years (sounds cliche, right?) But it will take at least 108 years to get the job done.
There’s always next year, Cubs fans, right?