By Liam Day
After 108 years of baseball without a single banner to hang at Wrigley field, the Chicago Cubs won 103 games and the 2016 World Series, coming back from losing three out of the first four games of the series. With the drought finally over, the loyal fans of Chicago only want one more thing, another championship. At first, this may make Cubs fans look greedy. With four all-stars returning this season, the Cubs should not be looking to back down after one season of success.
The Cubs are off to a very rough start to the 2017 season. They have already been swepped twice at Wrigley Field by the rivaled Pirates and the Yankees. What could be to blame for this? How has such a stacked roster gone from top of the league to a mediocre team with an inconsistent bullpen? This bullpen just one year ago was feared by the league with three “Cy Young Award” candidates. There are many explanations for the Cubs dry start, but none of which reflect the team's “lack of talent.”
The Chicago Cubs team has likely had the most eventful offseason of any other baseball team in history. Breaking a 108 year streak without a title will obviously result in recognition from the public. This is known as the “World Series hangover.” History shows that most all teams experience a rough start following a championship season. However not many have been like this. Another explanation is that the Cubs feel they have done their duty.
They were given massive year-by-year contracts in hopes of winning another World Series soon. Two players released during the offseason were closing pitcher, Aroldis Chapman, and All-Star center fielder Dexter Fowler. This has affected the team's play with an increased amount of errors in the outfield along with many runs being scored by their opponents late in the game. This is where Chapman’s presence is missed. Both Chapman and Fowler did what they were payed for, right? Chicago Cubs backup catcher, Miguel Montero stated that, “The reality is we can't take anything for granted and right now, I feel like we do.” They are now just playing for fun knowing that they have given the fans what they wanted.
With odds against the Cubs, there is even more reason why the Cubs should be able to repeat as World Series champions. The most important being that nearly the entire Cubs roster is returning. Lots of World Series champions fail to keep a roster together for the following season. Only eight of the 28 teams in the MLB who have reached the World Series have been able to repeat as champions. Most of these teams experienced the thinning process of many talented players to save money for the organization. The Cubs have lost center fielder, Dexter Fowler, who made his first all-star appearance in 2016. In place of him is the returning Kyle Schwarber who put on a showcase in the Cubs World Series run a year ago. Glenelg’s starting catcher, Matt Thompson said that, “The cubs need one more player, a lead off hitter, if they want to get back into the running this year.”
There are too many factors that can make or break a team's chances in repeating a World Series, but if a team can manage to go 108 years without a World Series, than they can manage to win back-to-back titles. Sport Illustrated writer and baseball fanatic, Larry Anderson, once wrote, “Anything can happen in a ballpark.”