Cubs say gut-wrenching goodbye to fan favorites as best era in franchise history officially comes to an end

I feel “gutted” is the phrase. Positive, you possibly can apply that to the lively roster of the Chicago Cubs after a flurry of offers that despatched out All-Stars and franchise icons, however I am speaking in regards to the inside feeling that Cubs followers have proper now. 

These had been three of essentially the most integral gamers that contributed to me getting to write about my lifelong favorite team winning the World Series

Now, to be clear, by way of baseball strikes, it is completely doable this all is sensible for the way forward for the franchise. One thing was clearly damaged with this group and it appeared apparent extensions probably weren’t going to occur with Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant or Javier Bàez. An argument could possibly be made that fixing the crew meant extending all three and constructing round them, however there simply wasn’t mutual curiosity for no matter cause. That being the case with a crew actually not in playoff competition and people three gamers about two months from hitting free company, after all shoring up the farm system was the best way to go on the commerce deadline.

And nonetheless, the emotional attachment followers really feel to gamers would not have something to do with logic. We’re gutted. That is the tip of one of the best period in Cubs franchise historical past. 

Now, followers of another groups would scoff at that as a result of so many different groups have had a lot increased highs, however it’s the fact for this crew. Our crew. We by no means strayed. We waited a very long time for that one enormous, emotional payoff and it occurred, with lots of heavy lifting being carried out by these three immensely lovable gamers. 

Bàez was drafted within the first spherical in 2011, the final draft carried out earlier than the Theo Epstein regime took over. In a bizarre twist, it appears unimaginable that Epstein would’ve taken a high-strikeout, low-contact man within the first spherical, so it was an ideal storm that landed Bàez as a Cubs legend. He got here up in 2014 and homered in his first sport. He hit an enormous house run within the clinching sport of the 2015 NLDS, one other huge one the following NLDS after which gained 2016 NLCS MVP. He homered in Recreation 7 of the World Collection. He completed second in NL MVP voting in 2018. And but none of that matched the love the Wrigley devoted have for him for thus many causes. The youthful exuberance. The funky tags. The swim-move slides. The sunshine-tower energy with essentially the most violent swing doable from a participant his dimension. 

Rizzo was the primary huge acquisition by Epstein. He got here up in 2012 and needed to spend his first three seasons on unhealthy groups — although issues began to show round late in 2014, proper across the time he challenged all the Reds‘ dugout to a struggle and emerged because the crew chief. So many huge hits, a lot wonderful protection at first base, together with his tightrope act on the tarp and a lot playfulness mixed along with his intensive work with youngsters’s charities across the metropolis all meant he’d be beloved for all times. And naturally, he caught the ultimate out of the 2016 World Collection. 

Bryant was the massive hit by Epstein within the draft, going second general. It seemed just like the Cubs already had a bunch of hitting prospects and wanted pitching assist, however Epstein determined in opposition to drafting Jon Gray and went with Bryant. He was immediately a darling within the group and the prospect savior of the franchise. He lived as much as the promise instantly. He gained 2015 Rookie of the 12 months and 2016 MVP, hitting two enormous house runs within the World Collection. He made the play on the ultimate out, letting free with a refined smile as he was making the throw. Being genuinely one of many nicest gamers within the sport alongside along with his love for pranks made him amazingly lovable as nicely. 

As famous, it wasn’t simply their on-field efficiency. Keep in mind the “lovable losers” moniker? They had been lovable guys and had been actually not losers. 

The trio was the guts and soul of a crew that will play in three straight NLCS, made the playoffs 5 out of six years, gained the NL Central division three out of 5 years and, after all, gained the World Collection for the primary time in 108 years. For those who may return to 2014 and inform any Cubs fan that this may all occur within the subsequent six years, we would have handed out. This group was the spine of the crew that went from the butt of historic jokes to the highest of the league after which remained one of the crucial related groups up till simply over a month in the past. 

Perhaps the latter half is what made this much more gut-wrenching. On June 24, the Cubs beat the Dodgers to maneuver to 42-33 on the season. They had been tied for first place and had been probably going to be patrons in entrance of the commerce deadline. Membership president Jed Hoyer even stated they might add cash. One final run with our guys earlier than they hit free company? Deliver it! As a substitute, they’d then lose 11 in a row. 

In lower than two weeks, the Cubs went from patrons to sellers and now followers needed to attempt to come to grips with the potential for a couple of gamers being traded. It appeared like possibly Rizzo and Bàez would possibly find yourself sticking round. However in lower than 24 hours, the muse of our favourite crew, the group we would grown to like for all these years, was being shipped out. 

These three weren’t the one ones from that crew that’ll be beloved ceaselessly. There’s been a gentle drip within the ensuing years. Jon Lester and Kyle Schwarber hitting free company and signing with the Nationals was one of many larger actions. Dexter Fowler signing with the Cardinals coming proper off his leadoff Recreation 7 homer damage. Ben Zobrist was the World Collection MVP however his age and off-field proceedings had caught up with him by the tip of 2019. Willson Contreras, Jason Heyward and Kyle Hendricks stay, however it’s protected to say the core is gone. The period is over. Maybe Contreras indicators an extension and carries the torch with Hendricks to the following period, however this one is totally over. 

It was one of the best period in Cubs historical past. We’ll all the time look again fondly on all of the wonderful reminiscences they gave us. That is why it was so gutting to see the chance flip into actuality. 

Thanks a lot for the reminiscences, Javy, KB and Rizz. You might be legends in Wrigleyville for the remainder of your lives and nothing will ever change that. | Cubs say gut-wrenching goodbye to fan favorites as finest period in franchise historical past formally involves an finish


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