By Adnan Basic, Staff Reporter
The 2016 Chicago Cubs won the hearts of sports fans across the nation. After 108 years without a title at Wrigley field, the team finally won the World Series that had been eluding them for more than a century. It was also an incredibly dramatic victory, coming back from a 3-1 series deficit against the Cleveland Indians. It was such a major event that people who aren’t a fan of baseball tuned in.
That was a year ago, and Cubs players and fans have had to move on. So far, the current Cubs team hasn’t suffered a major post championship hangover, as some teams do. At the time of writing, they lead the NL Central by three and a half games. With 13 games to go this season, the playoffs seem like a guarantee. However, the Cubs have to play the 2nd place Milwaukee Brewers four times before then, so they cannot afford to slip up too much.
When the playoffs do come, the Cubs will have to find the top gear that they hit last season. The competition will be even tougher. The Los Angeles Dodgers might have fallen off the pace as of late, but had one of the best starts to a season in MLB history. The Washington Nationals are lead by Bryce Harper, who will be motivated to translate his regular season success to the playoffs. That’s just the National League. If the Cubs find themselves in the World Series, then they could face even tougher opposition from the American League.
The Yankees are the Yankees, with vast playoff experience and success. They also have Aaron Judge, who might break the rookie home run record. Then, there are the Cleveland Indians, who the Cubs defeated last season. Cleveland has used last year’s heartbreak as motivation, going on a record breaking 22 game win streak. The Indians would love nothing more than a second chance at the Cubs.
At this point, Cubs fans are hopeful yet still realistic. A consecutive championship will be very tough, but this Cubs team has gone through challenges a lot harder. Players like David Ross and Dexter Fowler stepped up when the team needed them to last year. If the Cubs want any chance of repeating, some new heroes will have to be rise this postseason.