The triumphant World Series Champion Cubs and their long suffering fan base have made a quantum shift in direction; a 90 degree right turn that leaves the last 108 years of futility relegated to the dustbin of history.
First of all, one thing must be asserted.
This notion that somehow winning a World Championship (just can’t say that enough) destroys the charm of the franchise is utter nonsense. What the years of struggle did do was teach the fan base about the values of the game.
They defy both winning and losing. As the old saying goes, and this is a truism, ‘it isn’t whether you win or lose, it’s HOW you play the game’.
Baseball mirrors life.
Unlike football, which is 16 separate battles contained within one conflict, and with time constraints, baseball has 162 games over an eight month season where no clock enforces the action. This allows the rhythm of the game to reflect the day.
Is it cold and nasty? Baseball becomes much quicker and tidier, low scoring. When it’s balmy outside it follows the Circadian rhythms of summer, slower, less deliberate, a little looser.
In this regard it isn’t the outcome but the process. Did you play well and lose?
Or did you play like crap and pull out an ugly win?
You take your lessons from both and move on. Having not been obsessed by winning, and basically giving away their product virtually free for half a century, several generations have grown up understanding the essential beauty of the game.
The momentary triumph as opposed to it’s defeat. OK, so maybe you didn’t win that day. But you did strike out their best hitter three times and torched their starter.
Cub fans, legions of them grew up with the right understanding of the game. Look at the Florida Marlins and the Arizona Diamondbacks. They have three World Championships between them and have only been around 25 years.
When they don’t win they don’t draw.
Their fans are addicted to the glitz of winning, NOT the daily process of baseball. That is a sole province of the Chicago Cubs Baseball Club. Others, like say the NY Yankees, have a tradition of excellence that balances performance and outcome.
But they have lost their way; a big market trying desperately to buy victories and forgetting that it is still a kid’s game played by men.
Buying someone based on past performance is NO guarantee of success. These are but some of the lessons baseball teaches. Cub fans learned them the hard way.
They EARNED this World Championship, will embrace it for what it is and what it means and won’t forget what decades of losing taught them.
Did the worm turn? Sure it did.
They won’t accept lame teams loaded with excuses. The ‘punishment tour’ is over. And there is no chance the charm will be lost, either. The current owner and his crew understand that having not only good players but kind and noble ones pays HUGE dividends.
It allows them the occasional apostasy like signing Aroldis Chapman.
He was an ingredient they don’t win without having. Winning a series, after he coughed up the lead was his absolution; he is now reformed.
Such is the effect of baseball…