By MICHELLE SPEAKER
The Chicago Cubs have not made it to the World Series since World War II. As a team in the National League Central since 1876, the Cubs won back-to-back World Series in 1907 and 1908, with their most recent appearance in the 1945 World Series. That makes it 108 years since the Cubs have won the World Series, but this year, they have a good chance of taking that title.
There is some question as to if the Cubs will go all the way. “As a Cubs fan I have to expect the worst, but if they have ever had a chance to go all the way it is this year,” said sports management and finance major Casey Einecker. “I have been a Cubs fan my whole life and I always have been watching them play, even through the rough seasons, it’s what Cubs fans do.”
The Cubs have already clinched their division, moving to the playoffs. The National League Division Series starts on Oct. 7. The National League Championship Series begins on Oct. 15 and will possibly go until Oct. 23. The World Series will then take place starting on Oct. 25, with the first possible home game at Wrigley Field on Oct 28.
Joe Maddon, who currently manages the Chicago Cubs, used to be the manager for the Tampa Bay Rays from 2006-2014. In the following year, Maddon led the Cubs to the National League Championship Series. Einecker believes there is a significant difference in the past two seasons compared to previous years with the presence of Joe Maddon. “The coming of Kris Bryant, Addy Russell, Baez, and Contreras, in addition to big signings and acquisitions of guys like Zobrist and Chapman — add all these guys to their core pitchers and vets like Rizzo, and that gives them one of the best rosters they have had,” Einecker said.
The Cubs are the National League Central Champions. As of Sept. 26, the Cubs have the best record in baseball at 99-56. It seems inevitable that they will reach 100 wins, as there are seven games remaining in the regular season.
Infielder/outfielder Kris Bryant has emerged as the front-runner of the National League for MVP and will most likely take home that title this season. In both the 2015 and 2016 seasons, Bryant has had 99 RBIs. Bryant has also had 38 home runs in the 2016 season with seven games remaining. Catcher David Ross is retiring after the 2016 season after playing 15 seasons in the majors. In his final regular-season home game on Sept. 25, Ross hit his 10th home run of the season. This season, the Cubs have statistically the best team in baseball both the offensive and defensive categories.
With less than two weeks out from the start of the playoffs, the Cubs have clinched home field advantage after they beat the Cardinals 5-0 in Chicago on Sept. 23.
“Wrigley Field is not like any other field,” Einecker said. “They are 56-24 at home and 42-32 on the road, so having the extra games at Wrigley does not hurt.”
In the National League Division Series, the Cubs will be facing the wildcard team, which is going to be one of three teams: the San Francisco Giants, the St. Louis Cardinals, or the New York Mets. It is a very tight race, as the New York Mets have a one game lead in the top spot of the wild card over the San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals. There are six games left and the two top wildcard teams will play on Oct. 5 for a chance to play against the Cubs in a five game series starting on Oct. 7. If the Cubs beat the wildcard team in the five game series, they will either play the Washington Nationals or the Los Angeles Dodgers. If the Cubs win both the NLDS and the NLCS, they will play the winner of the American League for the World Series.
Be sure to watch the Cubs on Sept. 29 at 7:05 p.m. as they take on the Pittsburgh Pirates on WGN
Michelle Speaker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org