Letter to the Editor: After winning the World Series, a Cubs fan reflects

Casey Reed, Communication '16

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It is difficult to assemble my thoughts after the greatest night of my life.

Although the Cubs have struggled historically for over a century, even relatively young Cubs fans like myself have known heartbreak and known it well. I woke up for school one fateful morning in October 2003 to be told by my dad that the Cubs did not make it to the World Series like we were sure they were going to when I went to bed. I begged to stay home from school. In 2007, after being mercilessly swept in the NLDS, I was sure 2008 would be the year. When the same thing happened in 2008, I changed my AIM screenname to “Cubs09ws” to strut my confidence in the team I loved so dearly. Then the Cubs went under new ownership with the Ricketts family and the team rebuild began, led by front office legend Theo Epstein.

From 2010 to 2014, the Cubs fielded struggling teams. The players on the field tried their best, but the front office was focused on building up the minor league system. While Wrigley Field was populated by now-forgotten Cubs, future World Series champions like Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Kyle Schwarber and Willson Contreras were developing as players in the farm system.

Then, 2015 was a whirlwind of a season filled with unexpected early success; the rebuild was not supposed to take full effect until 2016. I was fortunate enough to spend my junior and senior year at Northwestern for the 2015 and 2016 seasons and saw about 15 games at Wrigley through this incredible journey, including the 2015 NLDS Game 4 victory against the historic rival St. Louis Cardinals and an NLCS game against the Dodgers this postseason. Although I graduated in June 2016, this team has been my rock as I moved to New York City to pursue my career.

After the Cubs were eliminated by the Mets in 2015, all eyes turned to 2016. The Cubs re-signed Dexter Fowler and acquired Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist and John Lackey in the offseason. All of the pieces were in place. The mid-season acquisitions of Aroldis Chapman and Mike Montgomery assured that the bullpen would be more reliable. The Cubs followed their dominant 103-win season and landslide division victory with one of the most stressful and incredible postseasons in baseball history. The Cubs defeated the even-year Giants and Madison Bumgarner; they defeated the Dodgers and best-pitcher-in-a-generation Clayton Kershaw. They just had one more challenge to face: their first World Series since 1945 and what would be their first World Series victory since 1908.

Last night’s game had everything any baseball fan could’ve wanted: two historic World Series droughts, a win-or-go-home Game 7, a home run for the retiring David Ross, the continued stellar play of slugger Kyle Schwarber fresh off the DL, a leadoff home run by Dexter Fowler, an impressive Indians comeback, a rain delay, extra innings and finally the sweetest victory in baseball history.

These Cubs have broken curses, silenced naysayers and brought joy to Chicago since the season began, and the future looks even brighter from here. This young core of players looks to dominate the MLB for years to come, though the playoffs are always a dice roll. The best team doesn’t always win the World Series, but this year it inarguably has happened. “W” flags fly all over the world today and will for the rest of the off-season. Those who have never followed a sports team before are realizing how glorious of an emotional arc it is to do so. This year has been transformative and scary on a personal and global level, making it especially sweet to have a victory like this to celebrate. Words can’t describe what last night was like for diehard Cubs fans. As the final out got closer and closer, a physical reaction took place in my body. I was, as all seasoned Cub fans are, more emotionally prepared for a loss and had no idea what to do when it actually happened. It was a head rush of the highest degree. We will all remember where we were when Kris Bryant gleefully threw the final out to friend and teammate Anthony Rizzo.

All are welcome on the Cubs bandwagon, and here’s hoping for a repeat victory next fall in 2017. Go. Cubs. Go.