Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Tonight's The Night

"And it's been a long way, but we're here."

Those words were said by Astronaut Alan Shepard just after he stepped onto the moon. Kind of an appropriate quote for today as well. The last three years of Cubs baseball have been a slog. Just as we were told it was going to be. Many of us understood that. Many others chose to either not listen, not understand, or decide to make their own narrative for reasons that are impossible to divine.

Regardless, the turnaround that the entire Cubs organization has undergone is nothing short of spectacular. Theo Epstien is delivering on his promise of waves and waves of talent. Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Jorge Soler and Kyle Schwarber not all contributed double digit home runs. Tonight's starting pitcher, Jake Arrieta, was acquired in a "sign-and-flip" deal, one in a series of transactions that was criticized by people who didn't understand o have patience for the rebuild.

And more is coming. Eloy Jimenez, Albert Almora, Gleybar Torres, Duane Underwood, Ian Happ, Billy McKinney, and Dylan Cease are all on their way.

These names are brought up for a couple of reasons.

First, to say that tonight's Wild Card game is not the end of the rebuild, but is more likely the beginning of a Cubs renaissance. From 1906 to 1945, the Cubs were in the World Series 10 times. They were a dynasty. Been pretty quiet since. Oh, there were some brief flashes of competence. Usually with multi-year stretches of suckitude in between.

Look at where this franchise is in terms of talent in the organization, payroll level, expected future revenues. It's very hard to see this being another case of a brief awakening followed by a long nap. Tonight is the starting gate, not the finish line.

Second, and more importantly, tonight is for the fans who understood and had the patience for the job Theo and his cohorts had to do. Those who had the patience, who watched the players develop, who evaluated the trades, who watched the draft boards, who monitored international signing dollars, and who didn't get pissed over the poor record at the major league level (because they understood a worse record on top meant a better chance at better talent), this Wild Card game is yours to enjoy.

The people who were in opposition to the strategy that the Cubs undertook will say they are enjoying this as well. But deep down (the place where some people still wish failure on 21 year olds so as to support their worldview), the know that they were wrong. Tonight is not for them. Yeah, they'll say they love this. And maybe they'll say that none of us knew this was coming (heh!). They can rationalize whatever they want. The reality is that they are outsiders on this team.

We aren't.
We are good.
Let's go.

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