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How The Chicago Cubs Returned To Mediocrity, and How They Can Bounce Back
Remember when the Cubs won the World Series? It feels like decades ago, but isn’t it weird to think it was only 6 years ago? When the Cubs won the 2016 World Series it felt like a massive turning point in their franchise's history, yet when we look at where they are now, there’s really little to be proud of.
Since they broke the curse in 2016, the Cubs have returned to the postseason three times:
- 2017: Lost in NLCS
- 2018: Lost in Wild Card
- 2020: Lost in Wild Card
Not bad, right? Well, things began to take a turn for the worse in 2021. The Cubs went 71-91 on the season, and managed to get rid of pretty much everyone that was on that 2016 World Series team. Kris Bryant went to the Giants, Javy Baez went to the Mets, and Anthony Rizzo went to the Yankees at the trade deadline. At the end of 2021, the only players on the Cubs that were on that 2016 team were catcher Wilson Contrares, starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks, and the hundred-year-old outfielder Jayson Heyward.
The team went through a complete overhaul–and now, currently sitting at 34-49 through 83 games, the Cubs are right back to where they were before 2016.
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But who’s to blame? It’s hard to tell. They had to get rid of Rizzo, Baez, and Bryant for monetary reasons, but maybe if they hadn’t tied up so much money into Jason Heyward and Kyle Hendricks then they would have had some left over for one of the guys?
There’s no denying the fact that the Cubs certainly are trying though. They have one of the youngest lineups in the game, and actually have some shining stars in the batter's box this year (Wilson Contrares, Nico Hoerner, and Patrick Wisdom). However, other than that, the team is struggling, and if the franchise isn’t careful, they can slide back into a 100-year-long World Series winless streak in the blink of an eye.
So, that’s where I put my thinking cap on and came up with these three fool-proof options of getting the Cubs back onto the winning side of things.
1. Turn the Ivy Into Poison Ivy Without Telling the Opposing Players
© Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports
This one is pretty simple. You know the beautiful and iconic ivy that dresses the Wrigley Field wall? Make it poison ivy. Give your outfielders long sleeves and gloves, and don’t tell the opposing teams. It’ll take a while to catch on, but once you have opposing outfielders breaking out in rash and blisters 24-48 hours after playing at your stadium, you bet you’ll start to have an upper hand at home games.
2. Resign Sammy Sosa
If you’re a Sammy Sosa fan, please know I come from a place of love–but I’m about to make some LIGHT-hearted jokes at Sammy’s expense. I don’t know if resigning Sosa would be exactly FAIR, but he’s probably still got enough juice flowing through those veins to slash .280/.360/.640. If you’re offended by these Sammy Sosa jokes, you should really LIGHTEN UP.
3. Trim The Fat
If the Cubs did nothing in this upcoming offseason, they’d only have 7 players on their active roster under contract. So maybe they can take this chance to trim a little of the fat? Sure, the players under contract ARE actually the fat (Heyward, Gomes, Hendricks, Stroman, etc.) but fielding only 7 guys ALL-SEASON would actually be pretty awesome. At least they’d have a reason to be so bad.