Profiles in Doubt: TMS Watches the World Series

2:06 PM | Comments (0) | by Shooter Muldoon



Like most of you, I've spent every hour since November 2 drifting on a sea of endorphins - with only some of that coming from monstrous beer intake. The Cubs did it! They won the World Series and we all got to partake in that joy. The parade! The high fives to strangers! The buying of really expensive championship shit! We never doubted, right?

Nah, man. Of course we did. When you're carrying around a black cat, an Alex Gonzalez, and a glove-spiking Ted Lilly in your head, you're either managing a constant fluctuating level of anxiety or you're a paste-eating moron irresponsibly wielding a pair of safety scissors. That's not automatic doubt per se, but it does set the table for it pretty nicely. Because in the back of your mind, you remember bad things can happen fast:

He later returned to kill Scar in 7 games

For me, Game 4 was like a kick to the spine. My Cubs fandom is such that I don't feel the need to defend it to internet strangers, but my TV was off before Kipnis's homer off of Wood landed in the right field bleachers. I didn't know Fowler had hit a homer until the next day. Sometimes you have to sulk so you don't become an unbearable asshole to the people you love.

Anyhow, THIS version of the Cubs restored brittle hope, and two wins later, there was no turning away from emotions (or alcohol) during the biggest game of our lifetimes. Just me, fellow bartenders Rich and White Chili, a handful of friends and ladyfriends, and a Chicago bar chock-full of anxious boozers.

As the game wore on, we were on edge, then overjoyed, then nervous, then despondent, then hopeful, then nervous, then ecstatic. And just after the last of the bar-provided cheap champagne ran dry, and we'd all gone Tom Waits hoarse sing-yelling Steve Goodman and Queen songs, I realized that doubt is as natural a reaction as joy, whiskey-rage, and every baseball emotion in between.

Even my wife, who yelled at me for pulling up stakes during that awful 2008 NLDS, gave me a furtive glance as they pulled out the tarp that we both knew to mean "fuuuuudge. Uh ... home?" But we stayed at the bar, and it wasn't really ever in question. Later she said "I thought that was the end of it. I was ready to go home, because they were going to lose." Which, if anything, is less bleak a picture than the bar-turned-funeral-parlor felt immediately following 6-6.

Anyway, the point is I doubted, and I'm open about it. I doubted a little when we lost in extras against the Giants. I doubted a little more when Old Rich Hill shut out our offense with his one pitch. I tore myself into emotional ribbons for almost the entirety of the World Series, which is not the act of a confident man. For a brief dark glimmer, I thought we'd never regain the lead after Davis stuck a fork into Chapman. To have these thoughts is natural, to give in to them totally is counterproductive, and to deny them is just the weirdest thing. If you were 100 percent confident the whole time, then I imagine I had a lot more fun than you did.

You know who else had fun? Our team of degenerate bartenders. Let's hear from them on the topic.


Bartenders of Thunder Matt's Saloon - did you ever doubt during the playoffs?





Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Well the NLDS was rife with doubt. It was looking all too familiar. I went to bed before that loss in extra innings to the Giants ended. Then we're down 5-2 in Game 4 to them and it just looks like shit again. When they reached the bottom of the 8th I recall saying that if the Giants tacked any more runs on then I was shutting it off for the night.

But they didn't! And then the 9th happened. It was glorious and a reminder of the magic moments this team had in the 2015 playoffs. I was reminded that this wasn't the Cubs of old any more.

The NLCS was a lot more laid back. I was stressed for sure after the two shutout games but looking back at that Game 4 win I reminded myself these guys are never done until that final out is recorded.

Fast forward to the World Series and we go down 3 games to 1. The morning after I was at my friend Mark's house and we were trying to muster up some enthusiasm. Again I went back and thought, this team doesn't know how to quit. They've given no fucks from one day to the next and literally take no shit from anybody.

No fucks given, no shit taken.  That was my own personal rallying cry for them the rest of the way and as dumb and crude as that sounds it helped. [Editor's Note: I thought the phrase "Give no Fucks, Take no Shits" at least 80 times during the next 3 games]

Until it was tied 6-6 in Game 7. Doubt started creeping in again.

Watching the offense in the top of the 9th I thought, "Well shit, maybe they've finally reverted back." By a miracle Chapman gets through that bottom of the 9th and the Cubs offense manages to pull it out.

Looking back I feel dumb for doubting them at times but I think being a Cubs fan over the past decade and a half has left us keeping our guard up a lot.

Rich

I don't think I ever did doubt. But I really didn't like a few of the positions we were in.

I think that actually being at Game 5 helped, because all the atmosphere of actually being at a World Series game forced me to still be positive. I didn't want to bum myself out, If we would have fallen behind in game 7, especially after that lead we had, I think I would have crumbled.

After the Cubs came back to beat the Mariners in the Brian Matusz Trade Deadline Audition From Hell game, I knew to never count this team out. And with the game tied 6-6 in the 8th inning, all I could think of "Which of these lineups do I trust to score 1 run before the other" and that was a super easy question to answer.



Lingering Bursitis

I doubted plenty during the playoffs. The crushing weight of history did it. I panicked during the San Francisco series until that ninth-inning rally. I panicked again after Kershaw and Hill's back-to-back wins. I panicked again after losing two of three at home in the World Series.

Every time, I pledged a renewed faith in the superior quality of this team and that they would eventually do what they had done all fucking season long.


Adam Blank

Some friends in L.A. were getting married and wanted me at their wedding, so they flew me out there. Their wedding was on October 28 (Game 3 of the World Series). Before they booked the flights in late September, I told them that the flight to L.A. had to land before 5 p.m. Pacific time and the return flight had to be on October 29 (Game 4) and land before 7 p.m. Central, because I was damn sure the Cubs would be in the World Series and I wasn't about to be in L.A. for a potential clinching game. 

How's that for confidence?



They complied with the second part of my request, but I watched part of Game 1 of the World Series on my phone with Southwest's bizarre TV app. As for doubts? Oh, I had them. Not too many during the NLDS or NLCS, but that World Series ...

After Game 2, the series was tied 1-1. Then, out of the blue, my uncle died and my mom was hospitalized. Those two things are unrelated. They weren't in the same car or anything. Just crazy coincidences. I'm 2,000 miles away from Chicago, these people are having a weird sunset wedding during Game 3 of the World Series, my mom is in the hospital and her brother is dead. The Cubs lost Game 3.

I flew back to Chicago in time to see them lose Game 4. As you can imagine, I wasn't really feeling terribly positive at this point. My mom was released in time for Game 5 and the Cubs managed to hold on and win it. But I still thought we'd lose it in six games.

Game 6 was the day of my uncle's memorial service. At the service, all people could talk about was the World Series. My 68 year old uncle died out of the blue, and people were leaving his memorial service early so they could get home and watch the game. We know our priorities in my family. The Cubs won game 6.

I was surprisingly confident going into Game 7. The entire playoffs seemed like Cubs vs. Unstoppable Juggernaut Pitcher Who Had Their Number, yet the Cubs would always find a way to prevail. I think I experienced the entire spectrum of human emotions during Game 7. I didn't have many doubts (why would I? We were winning!) until the 8th inning. The Indians tied it, and somebody had obviously used the Dusty Baker mind-swap ray on Joe Maddon, who began making moves that make no fucking sense ... it felt like all the bullshit talk of curses might have some merit after all. Hell, even up a run in the bottom of the 10th with two outs, I remember thinking, "Fuck. The Indians can still win this thing on the very next pitch." They didn't. We did.

Someday, when my illegitimate child tracks me down and introduces me to my grandchildren, I'll recap the 2016 Cubs World Series to them. In that version, I will have never had a single doubt about the outcome. But, come on. Anyone who claims they were confident that the Cubs would win this when they were down 3 games to 1 is completely full of shit.

White Chili

The question of whether or not I let doubt quietly creep into my mind during the Cubs’ historic Championship run implies I otherwise maintained an overwhelming confidence, ripe to be wavered.

Instead, my general state during those 27 days was more like that of an abused shelter dog in a new loving home. They kept offering me a toy. It was so close. Jesus, I could SMELL it! But I knew the moment I finally let my guard down and went to seize that ball, a size 14 would come out of nowhere and knock me into yesterday.

So instead, I spent most of that time - including a few hours at Wrigley during game three of the Series - trying to find the most effective combination of beer, whiskey and pretzels to give myself an ulcer. (I still have the recipe if any of you good people are searching for any last-minute ideas for Thanksgiving!)

Sure, there were moments when I screamed and threw up my hands - like when we rallied in the 9th to put away the Giants or when Dexter led off game seven with a moon shot. But there were an equal number of times, capped off by Rajai Davis’ home run, when it felt like that boot was winding up like it had so many, many times before. It wasn’t until Zobrist slapped that ball into left field during the 10th inning that I caught myself letting out a genuine little smile and said “Holy shit this might actually happen.”



GOREO

It's weird, but no. Was I nervous? Yep. Nervous enough that I couldn't even watch some of the games, especially once they hit the NLCS. They lost those games to Kershaw and Hill without scoring a run, but I just didn't believe that the offense would go cold for a whole series.

Then when they hit the World Series and Kluber, I didn't think they'd tank 3 games against the same pitcher. As soon as they won that last game in Wrigley, I knew the series would go all 7 games. I wasn't sure the Cubs would win, but I knew they weren't going down in 6. Either they'd win or come so achingly close it would break our hearts. And they almost did lose that way. But this team wasn't the 2003 Cubs, or the 2007, or 2008 Cubs. Jason frigging Heyward said "We got this" and it turns out they did.


TR

Two periods of time I suppose. The first is more of a fuzzy feeling of dread after the Rich Hill game. I don't remember it much, because it only lasted one night.

Then around the 7th inning in game 4 of the World Series. Walking around Wrigleyville with Rich, trying to soak in the old, familiar lonely feelings. Then I went back to his place and ate a bowl of chili and passed out. So again, it didn't last long. Even that Sunday morning, it was "Well, if Lester can get it done tonight we go to Cleveland with Schwarbs." So I never had a two or three day binge of dread and hopelessness.

A WINNER IS YOU!

Nikolou Rossmathakios

I definitely had doubts once it got to 3-1. I was definitely hopeful that the Cubs could still win it, but the odds seemed really insurmountable, considering how the Cubs had hit in games 1, 3, and 4. I certainly had my frustrations and I even quit watching game 4 before the Kipnis home run.

(I couldn't take the stress anymore...I watched Stardust on Blu-ray and got really drunk. I know Stardust is an odd choice, but for some reason that movie always makes me happy.)

Still, I never gave up hope. Shit, I was supremely doubtful when Maddon sent Chapman back out for the bottom of the 9th in Game 7, considering who was coming to bat. However, I wore myself out, bouncing all around my basement, watching every pitch in terror, hoping for the best to happen.

Fun story: During the rain delay, I told my wife (she sat through all of Game 7 with me - bless her heart) that the Cubs were going to score 2 runs in the top of the 10th. This is proof of my unwavering hope. During Game 6, she promised me that she would do a shot of tequila with me to start Game 7 if the Cubs would go on to win (she didn't stay up for the end of Game 6). She had a hard time getting our daughter to bed before Game 7 and then didn't feel so great, so I ended up doing the tequila shot on my own after the bottom of the third inning. The Cubs then went to score 2 runs. So I ended up doing 3 more tequila shots and every time I did, the Cubs scored. I don't even believe in that shit, but it's still bonkers.

Sorry this is such a long, continuous rant. Bless your heart and Bless "Basehit" Ben Zobrist.


Chaim Witz

Honestly, the only time any sort of doubt crept in the entire series was immediately following the Rajai Davis home run in Game 7. Like a Nam flashback, it was like, "Oh shit, so this is it, huh? The 'Bartman moment' that will get played over and over for years until our souls turn to dust." But then we made it through the 9th, and after the rain delay something clicked emotionally (maybe it was the fact that they played some lively music at the bar during the delay that stirred the loins), where I was like, "Nah fuck it, this team is different. This just happened to make it all the more sweet." As sweet tasting as the 8 Old Style tallboys I'd consumed to that point.

It was the same feeling of confidence (not cockiness) that I had when we went down 3-1.  I still knew I was going be in Chicago to watch Game 7. I had no doubts. And when that 9th Old Style tallboy was poured on my head after the last out, victory (and Old Style) never tasted sweeter.

[This post shockingly NOT brought to you by Old Style]




The Hundley

Did I ever doubt? Am I a Cubs fan? Of course I doubted.

I know (from watching others teams over the years) that the playoffs are an entire different type of season - things don't generally happen the way they do in the post season. Especially in a short series, a hot pitcher can take a series over. I was a bit nervous against SF because of Bumgartner. I also figured their armada of scrappy position players would undoubtedly go off. For every Derek Jeter and David Ortiz World Series domination, there's a Mark Lemke and Craig Counsel lurking somewhere. I doubted against L.A. because of Kershaw, and it looked for a bit like we were the same team that faced the Mets last year: we swung at everything and couldn't muster much offense.

During the World Series I must say I was anything but a true believer. When we went down 3-1, I didn't figure the series wouldn't go back to Cleveland. Not with our schizophrenic offense and knowing we'd have to face Kluber again. When we pushed it to Game 7, I actually had some confidence. You know, right up until Maddon's handling of the pitching staff, where it seemed he was was trying to do everything he could to blow the series.

But winning cures all, doesn't it? Perhaps the win felt even sweeter because I doubted. No, that's not true. I haven't been the best Cubs fan recently, nor any sports for that matter. You become an ex-blogger with a demanding job and 2 kids, and you might catch a regular season inning here or there. But this playoff season, I made sure I saw everything - unless I fell asleep for a few innings here or there. My fandom came back strong, and every pitch and swing was a live-or-die moment. I was yelling at the TV, I was pacing the living room, I was scaring my kids, my wife told me she couldn't watch a game with me.

This World Series felt great, but it wasn't all elation for me. I got so emotionally invested that after each game it felt like I had gone for a long run. More than anything, the World Series title felt like...relief.

Deuces.








A Completely Arbitrary Ranking of the Trumps

3:53 PM | Comments (0) | by Governor X

I've tried really hard to keep politics away from TMS, lest we turn into the next Deadgawkerspin, but god damn it, we have a new first family coming in and everyone likes rankings. So here, have a completely arbitrary ranking of the Trumps. Sorry Ivana - current Trumps only!

1) Barron - He's 10, likes to wear suits, and as we all know, is good with The Cyber. Such talent. Wow. He also rides lions. Do you? Yeah, I thought not. Also, by virtue of being the youngest Trump, he has committed the fewest crimes against humanity. BTW, is that lion in blackface? Jesus...

2) Melania - So what if she's a plagiarist. So what if her discount Bucharest boob job made her nipples point at the sky. People assure me she's classy. Also, have a fucking heart. Donald is long overdue to trade her in on a newer model. She'll be shipped back to the Soviet Block in her original packaging and he'll bring in the latest grunting tennis prodigy from Belarus.

3) Tiffany - Oh Tiffany. As far as I understand, you're basically Courtney Love born into money. That's got to be a blast.

4) Donald - So yeah, the country may not survive this and your favorite kabob guy is about to get shipped off to a "facility" in rural Nevada, but wow, what a showman! I get all the doom and gloom, but objectively speaking, it takes a great deal of talent for a rich guy from Manhattan with a solid gold bidet to get Billy Bob out in Sweatfork, WV to go all in. Also, I am continually impressed by his ability to buy $20,000 suits that make him look like works the new account desk at your local bank. He's #4 because of the pure spectacle - also, his adult children are even worse.

5) Ivanka - Statistically speaking, at least 1 out of every 2 people you meet is able to recognize Donald is a con man. Inexplicably, people haven't yet figured out Ivanka is every bit as bad. Somehow they just order her cheap bracelets off of QVC and never quite figure out they've been had. Is it because she's good looking? If so, you've got some work to do feminists. Put down the Lena Dunham sex doll and get on that.

6) Eric - Eric and his brother Donald Jr are big game hunters, so it goes without saying they are awful people. Eric is what I imagine Patrick Bateman would be like as a vampire.

7) Donald Jr - Just regular Patrick Bateman, without the vampire charm.

"Soon. That's why I'm smiling."

Well...Last Week Sure Was Something, Wasn't It?

6:38 PM | Comments (0) | by Rich Funk


For those of you that have been following us around the last 10 years, it shouldn't come as a surprise to you that the first thing posted here about the Cubs winning the World Series is going up a whopping 11 days after Game 7 in Cleveland. If nothing else, we've always been consistent with our maddening inconsistency. We posted (almost) daily game recaps during the early season even when the Cubs had a huge division lead and were playing the Padres and Brewers of the world, then had a grand total of 4 posts during the entire playoff run, one of which was about the NBA.

That's why I don't blame you if you don't believe me when I say that this post isn't the typical kind of late. It's not like I didn't have time or wasn't interested enough to put my thoughts down.

I just wasn't ready.

At first it was too much. There was too much to process. How does one begin to take it all in, something so many have been waiting on for so long, something that you hope and pray for that you have absolutely no control over. There's no one you can ask for advice because no one knows what it's like. I thought about writing this post at least once or twice every single day between now and last Wednesday, but I didn't know how to start. I didn't know how to put everything that I was feeling into any kind of coherent structure, especially in the days immediately after the win, reading so many better writers put what I was feeling into words better than I'll be able to.

But if I waited until I came up with the perfect framing device for my thoughts, nothing would ever get written so I think I'm just gonna jump in. There's no through line. This is all gonna be off the top of my head. Let's get into it.

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From the very beginning of this season, I was all in on the 2016 Cubs. Even in 2008, the Cubs didn't go into the season knowing they were the best team in baseball, so it was cool to totally buy into a team that was built to crush everyone. I also decided that going all in with this team meant leaving the baggage at the door. I would not suffer any talk about curses or goats. I would not live in fear of superstition or jinxes. Before the Cubs even took the field, I defiantly stated that they would win the 2016 World Series. As 7/1 favorites at the time, it was not a particularly HOT TAKE to have, but it was my first step into living jinx free all season.

And you know what? It was AWESOME. I talked about Jake Arrieta's no-hitter as it was happening. I counted down the last 12 outs in Game 6 of the NLCS. Hell, a few friends and I ate at the Billy Goat Tavern in the Loop the day of Game 6! No matter what was happening the entire season, I kept telling myself that absolutely nothing I did in my life would have any effect on any game, and it was incredibly satisfying. In baseball more than any other sport, there's a very high tolerance for superstition and so I get it if not everyone is onboard with my cavalier attitude, but it sure was fun not having to wear the same thing every day during a winning streak and being able to sit in any spot and in any position that I wanted to on the couch because there was no thing as a 'lucky spot'.

Ironically, I have to continue not believing in jinxes and superstitions next season because it worked this year. Right? Right.

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Thinking back to the NLDS against the Giants, I was really REALLY stressed out when the Giants won Game 3 to save their season. Looking back on it now, it seems like quite an overreaction. After all, the Giants won ONE game of that series. But man, was I in a bad mood when the Cubs lost that one. One thing this Cubs season taught me was how to most effectively be mad at the Cubs without being too moody of an asshole about it. I never gave up on the Cubs at any point this season, but I was certainly frustrated by them a whole lot in the playoffs.

I have a regular group of friends I usually talk to during the games, and I feel bad about bringing everyone down when they're trying to keep morale up, so I know that when I feel like I need to wallow in the doom and gloom for a little bit, I have my cousin to turn to. Whenever I complain to him, he's always willing to jump down the reverse shower drain into the murkiest depths. Any Cubs fan knows that there are times when you just need to hit rock bottom before you can get your head back in the game. It's really important to identify which people in your circle are willing to jump with you because being a total bummer to everyone around you is not the best way to go through a stressful playoff series.

Every Cubs fan has their way of expressing their frustration in real time, and this is mine: I throw my phone. But by 'throw' I actually mean 'toss'. And even 'toss' is a strong word. Whenever the Cubs do something awful and my phone is in my hand, I'll drop it out of my hand in an exaggerated way, only the phone is usually about 4 inches above the cushion of the couch and is usually tossed onto a pillow that is on top of the couch to boot. I take my frustration out on my phone, but only if there is no possible way for the phone to touch anything more solid than a gym mat. I also say "COME ON!" and "GOD DAMMIT, GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR ASS" a whole lot.

I am not very creative with my Cubs frustration.

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Until this season, the loudest I'd ever heard Wrigley Field was in 2003. When the Yankees came to Wrigley Field for the first time in decades, I was at the Saturday game of the series when Kerry Wood was facing Roger Clemens, who was going for his 300th win. In the top of the 8th inning, Mike Remlinger was brought into a bases-loaded, 2 out jam to face the brand new toy in the Yankees lineup, Jason Giambi. Giambi worked a full count before striking out swinging to end the threat. When he swung and missed at strike three, the entire place exploded. The whole stadium was shaking down to its foundation. It was deafening.

I was lucky enough to go to all three NLCS games at Wrigley and I can tell you now that there is a new bar set for how loud Wrigley Field can get. But it wasn't during the pennant clinching game 7 like you would think. It was actually during game 1 when Miguel Montero launched a grand slam deep into the right field bleachers. I don't think I'll ever hear a crowd that loud again in my life. Even when the Cubs were clinching in game 6, I think everyone was too busy crying all over each other to yell and scream as loud as they could. But that Miggy slam was unbelievable. Poor Dexter Fowler hit the most overlooked Cubs home run of that series on the very next pitch. People were still up out of their seats and high fiving their neighbors before they even realized that Fowler launched a home run into right as well. Come to think of it, Fowler also hit a totally overlooked home run in the World Series off of Andrew Miller in Game 4 too.

Good thing he was able to hit the biggest home run in Cubs history 4 days later.

*     *     *     *     *


The World Series was perfect. And I'm not just saying that because the Cubs won. The 7 games we were all treated to were so above and beyond everything a baseball fan could want from a World Series that I don't think anything else is going to touch it. I wanted the Cubs to win, but I also wanted them to play the Indians for 10 more games because this series had EVERYTHING.

There's not a whole lot that I can say about the World Series that you haven't heard already, so the one thing that I do want to draw some attention to is how well this year's Cubs team made adjustments and fought back. The first time the Cubs faced Clayton Kershaw in the NLCS, they took a patient approach and it blew up in their faces as Kershaw poured strike after strike over the plate and put the Cubs in what seemed like infinite 0-2 counts.

When the Cubs got to face Kershaw again in game 6, they were much more aggressive and it worked, tacking on 2 runs against him in the first and another in the second, mostly off if hits that came early in the count.

The same thing happened in the World Series against Kluber and Tomlin. In Game 1, Kluber had the best stuff that I think I've ever seen. He looked like he had perfect game level stuff and after the Cubs lost that one, I honestly wasn't mad at all. I was surprised the Cubs were able to scratch the 4 hits they did against him. When the Cubs faced Josh Tomlin in game 3, they made a ton of weak contact by swinging at pitchers pitches, especially low and out of the zone.

When the Cubs saw Tomlin again in Game 6, they stayed patient and, knowing that Tomlin isn't much of a strikeout guy, waited on pitches that they could drive. Tomlin didn't strike out a single Cub in the 2.1 innings he lasted. When Kluber came back in game 7, the same thing happened - the Cubs were patient and waited for pitches that they could drive. Again, the Cubs struck out 0 times in the 4 innings Kluber lasted. To see such a young team make the adjustments they needed to get the job done against the specific pitcher they're facing is impressive enough. To do it in the middle of the biggest games of their lives brings it all to a whole other level.

Another thing I heard a lot about during the playoffs is how the Cubs were so susceptible to curveballs and how throwing them more breaking stuff than usual is the key to beating this team. I think that is stupid. Yes, the Cubs struggled against breaking balls throughout the playoffs, but I'm pretty sure ANY team would have struggled just as much. Throwing a good curveball is tough and the reason the Chicago lineup was shut down so much by breaking pitches is because their playoff gauntlet featured some of the best curveballs in baseball.

Fangraphs can rank pitchers by how good they are by the specific pitches they throw. If you look at starting pitchers with a minimum of 100 innings by their curveballs, look how many the Cubs faced on their road to the World Series and their 2016 ranking:

1. Cory Kluber
2. Rich Hill
4. Madison Bumgarner
7. Trevor Bauer
9. Jeff Samardzija
13. Matt Moore

And that's just the starting pitchers! Looking at the relief pitcher leaderboards, Cody Allen had the 3rd best Curveball in the majors. Andrew Miller had the 4th best slider in baseball. So facing a path to a world championship littered with Cy Young winners and the best breaking pitches in the major leagues, yeah, any team is going to look like they struggle against curves and sliders.

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I saw this guy on my walk to work the morning after the Cubs won the Series.
One thing that I've heard a lot of talk about over the last year is how to handle bandwagon fans. My official stance is that I do not care why someone supports the Cubs or how long they've been a fan. If someone is pretending to like the Cubs because that's the cool thing to say on Instagram of Facebook, that's fine! It doesn't take away from what I felt going through this season and honestly, I say the more the merrier. Despite growing up in a household that had Cubs baseball on all the time, I didn't really start my Cubs obsession until 1998, when the Sosa-McGwire slugfest caught the entire nation's attention. Those Wild-Card Cubs were the first team I ever got into and it's been an obsession ever since.

I don't care why people like the Cubs. I don't care when people pretend to like the Cubs more than they actually do and I don't care what reasons they have. If something can make people get into the Cubs or baseball in general, I'm all for it. It took a playoff run for me to fall in love with the Cubs 16 years ago and I've been fully onboard ever since. Who am I to judge anyone else for doing the same this year?

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I love the city of Chicago and I love the Cubs. The Cubs love this city and the city loves them right back. I would have rooted for a team of 25 Donald Trumps if it meant they would win a World Series for the Cubs, but it makes it even better that we got to root for such an awesome and likable team along the way. Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo are both a GM and marketing department's wet dream. Addison Russell and Javier Baez could combine for 350 web gems next season. Kyle Schwarber may already be knocking on the door of being one of the most beloved Cubs of all time and he's only played in 71 regular season games!

I think having such a likable team full of guys that looked like they genuinely loved each other and were enjoying every minute of this season made it safer for fans to fall for them. We knew that no matter what, win or lose, this team would never give up. They would never freeze and crack under the pressure like the the 2008 team did.

Even after the World Series and victory parade were over, Wrigley Field was still abuzz as of last Sunday. The streets were almost as crowded as they are for game days with fans leaving their marks on every single square inch of Wrigley that could be marked with chalk.

I'm still not ready to close the book on the 2016 season. I know that we have to move on to the next one eventually, but I'll never get tired of this season. I want it to keep going forever. I want to watch the 2016 Cubs play a million more games, finding ridiculous ways to win day in and day out. I want to watch Dexter Fowler smile and Javy Baez whip lightning-fast tags all over would-be base stealers. I want to watch Anthony Rizzo with his arm draped over David Ross in the dugout forever. I want to watch Willson Contreras bring the rookie swagger and fire to this lineup, never shying away from the biggest stage even though he had every right to. I want to see the relief wash over Addison Russell's face during the NLCS when he finally broke out, knowing he wanted to get rolling even more than the fans did. I want to watch Kris Bryant smile as he fielded the final out, that in itself a giant middle finger to curses and jinxes as he finally killed and buried the biggest one left in sports. I want to watch Rizzo slyly slip the final out into his back pocket before celebrating.

I'm sad that we'll never get to watch this exact group of guys play together ever again, but I'm so fucking happy that they gave us the best 179 games I'll ever see in my lifetime. I'm glad that guys like Ross and Fowler and Wood will forever be a part of Cubs history.

After the Cubs won the World Series, the bar that my friends and I were at served champagne and played music for hours afterward. We danced and drank and let it all sink in. The cab ride home took forever, as seemingly everyone in the city of Chicago was out driving around and honking. It was surreal. And it wasn't until about a half hour after I got home, already up late enough to make work the next day awful, that it really started to sink in. I randomly opened up Facebook and was presented with an ad from MLB Shop that just said "They Finally Did It!". Out of everything that happened, watching them win, celebrating with my closest friends, driving home through Wrigleyville, it was seeing that random ad in my Facebook feed that really made things get dusty in the old Funk household that night.

It actually happened.

The Chicago Cubs won the World Series. And they did it in the most perfect way possible.

*     *     *     *     *

As I mentioned before, there are so many more articles about what the Cubs did that are much better than what you are now (mercifully) ending. Just off the top of my head, this post from SB Nation was awesome, this video by Scott Van Pelt and this post on The Ringer really put what I've been thinking and feeling over the last 2 weeks into words better than I can. That's why I waited till the end to link them.

I've taken up enough of your time with my thoughts. To finish, here are a bunch of pictures I've taken on my phone over the last few weeks experiencing what Chicago was like in the wake of a World Series win.


I got to Grant Park for the Cubs rally at about 5:00 AM and there were already about 500 people waiting to get in. All of the buildings were lit up with Cubs pride.


Here's a view of all 5 million of my closest friends...


...and what is left behind after everyone goes home.

video

I got interviewed on WGN at a Cubs World Series rally. That sentence knocks 3 things off my bucket list singlehandedly.


This was spotted outside of Wrigley on the Sunday after the World Series win. I assume it's been there since the day Joe Buck was born. Also, the fact that they wrote "Sucks" in quotation marks is a curious choice.


I criticized Arrieta a whole lot over the second half, but the dude pitched a hell of a game in Game 6.


No we did not.


Matt Murton Forever