THE SANTA CLARA
May 19, 2016
Every April begins with the same tradition at Wrigley Field. Amidst the frigid early spring Lake Michigan winds, Cubs fans tell each other “this is our year.” The saying is almost always hollow, even though they won’t admit it, as it has been 108 years since their last World Series win. Every year though, Chicagoans flock to the iconic ivy at the corner of Clark and Addison and greet one another with the same undying optimism.
After many terrible seasons and heartbreaks, one would think that the blue-clad North Side fans would have given up hope of ever winning another championship. However, for the first time in a long time, the Cubs have assembled an extremely capable team. This could actually be their year.
As Chicago legend goes, a curse was put on the Cubs in 1945. It all started when the owner of the local Billy Goat Tavern was asked to leave Game 4 of the World Series because he brought his pet goat, whose smell was disturbing other fans. Billy Sianis then cursed the Cubs franchise, saying that they would never play in another World Series at Wrigley Field. Sianis’ curse has held, as the Cubs still have not won the pennant since this Chicago lore took place.
2016 will be the year that the World Series comes back to Wrigley. After advancing to the National League Championship Series last season and getting better since then, this team is primed for a deep push. The Cubs feature a young, ultra-talented squad led by 2015 NL Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta and 2015 Rookie of the Year Kris Bryant. In 2016, Arrieta is 7-0 with an ERA of 1.29 and has already pitched a no hitter in the April 21st 16-0 beat down of Cincinnati.
With the additions of Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward, GM Theo Epstein, who broke the Curse of the Bambino, has made the Cubs virtually unbeatable. Chicago is off to one of the hottest starts in baseball history, with a record of 28-10. The Golden State Warriors might not be the only team setting the record for most wins in a regular season in 2016. Chicago is currently on pace to break the 2001 Seattle Mariners record of 116 wins.
The week of May 2-8 for the Cubs was easily the most impressive stretch of the young season, as Chicago crushed two supposed NL contenders. They first swept Central Division rival Pittsburgh before following it up with four wins against the Nationals. Against Washington, the Cubs employed the controversial strategy of intentionally walking slugger Bryce Harper at every opportunity. That kind of risky yet confident managing from Joe Maddon is exactly what can take the Cubs on a deep playoff run.
Although the Cubs’ curse has been the longest lasting in sports history, everything is coming together to make 2016 Chicago’s time. After so many years of mediocrity and frustration, fans finally can exhibit sincere meaning behind their perennial catchphrase, “this is our year.”
Bo Kendall is a freshman communication major.