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Chicago Cubs: The New “America’s Team”
photo courtesy of Matt Marton

Chicago Cubs: The New “America’s Team”

Lee Vowell

Lee Vowell is a co-host of the podcast Baseball Beer & BBQ and writes about sports and other sundries for various outlets.

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Lee Vowell @LeeVowell

I would like to introduce you, America, to your new favorite team, the Chicago Cubs. These Cubs are not your father’s Cubs or your grandfather’s Cubs. This version of the team from Chicago’s North Side is fun, talented and winning. In fact, they will continue to win. For years. That’s why I am introducing you, America. Now is the time to jump on the proverbial bandwagon.

If you are a baseball fan, and you should be, and you currently call yourself a fan of the following teams, I implore you to change your allegiances. I would like everyone to cover the eyes, but when I call out the names of teams you should stop rooting for, just quietly get up and go down the hall to the newly renovated Cubs room. That way, no one will know you have rightfully given up on your teams. Ok, here we go: Rockies, Phillies, Mariners (you guys have now fired your GM, so even the team has given up on the team), White Sox (the new room will look familiar, but it will have a much better mood), Marlins (anyone here to represent Miami, no). Let’s move on, and Padres also. To the rest of you, good luck. Second place is better than last. I must now go and address the new Cubs acolytes, however.

Hello, new Cubs fans! Why are you here today? I will tell you. First, you have arrived at an excellent time in franchise history, and they should have long lasting success. Secondly, they are a fun to watch. Lastly, their ascension to baseball championship contention has come sooner than expected, so one day you will be able to say, “I was there when the whole thing started!”

Let me take the second part first. Chicago is fun to watch, beginning with manager Joe Maddon. Maddon is a great manager. He has had too much success soon after joining clubs to not say he is great. Plus, he knows how to keep a clubhouse loose. He might wear a mask to a postgame press conference, as he did earlier this year. He will bat the pitcher eighth in the lineup because he thinks that gives his team more opportunities to score. And really, why should anyone argue? For a young team, he might be the perfect leader. Beyond Maddon, you have Kris Bryant. Bryant is the cant-miss kid who actually has been as good as advertised. You have energetic Dexter Fowler. You have a top-of-the-rotation pitcher in Jon Lester who overcame cancer. And you have a lot of young players who are just enjoying the game while competing at Wrigley Field. That is how baseball should be.

The Cubs climb from nearly century-old also-ran to playoff team that was not expected fully until next year, but the Cubs are so far ahead as of this writing in the Wild Card standings (6.5 games ) they should be in the playoffs this year. (Sorry, I realized I just jinxed your team). Just for argument’s sake, if anyone asks, you were a Cubs fan starting in 2014. Not only should the Cubs be in the playoffs in 2015, but with pitchers like Lester and Jake Arrieta, your team could make a deep run. The Cubs might just be young enough where players do not understand the magnitude of the experience come playoff time. Play loose, execute and hit. The Cubs already do that, so they just need to keep doing it.

Things might only get better in the future. The young Cubs, (of which there are so many good ones) Bryant (23 years old), Jorge Soler (23), Anthony Rizzo (26), Addison Russell (21), etc.  have not even started to grow facial hair yet, so there is no way they have reached physical maturity. If the Cubs continue to progress as they have thus far, you new fans should not be discussing the Cubs first World Series win since 1653 when they defeated the New Amsterdam Dutch, but multiple wins over the next several years! Sure, Chicago thought they had a good thing going in the early 2000s with Kerry Wood and Mark Prior, but now the whole organization is filled with good prospects. By becoming a Cubs fan now, it is basically like getting on the ground floor of plastics when plastic was first being…um, forged.

So welcome, America, to your new favorite team, the Chicago Cubs. There will be many seasons of fun. You should plan your trips to Chicago early, though. The rush to get tickets will be massive. And those tickets will be worth every dollar.

About Lee Vowell

Lee Vowell is a co-host of the podcast Baseball Beer & BBQ and writes about sports and other sundries for various outlets.

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