The long commute home from my job in the suburbs was greatly improved yeserday by a steady dose of 80s rock. I grew up in the 80s, and hearing Def Leppard, Motley Crue, AC/DC, Loverboy, and Aerosmith all in a row rocked my world, literally. But the song that started it off, as I was first getting onto the Jane Addams Tollway, was Poison’s “Nothing But a Good Time” and it shaped my thoughts in putting this piece together.
2015 was certainly a good time to be a Cubs fan. Winning 97 games was even a couple more than I thought they would win, and I’m not complaining about that. Jake Arrieta was a monster, and so was Kyle Schwarber. Kris Bryant was every bit as good as we knew he would be, and Anthony Rizzo was rock solid as the team leader. And I love Joe Maddon’s outlook on life, and I don’t ever want to see another Cubs manager besides him.
There are many great players on the horizon for the Cubs, too. Addison Russell is certainly one of them, and I think there will be others as the farm system begins to bear fruit. If the Cubs can keep Jorge Soler, he’ll be another foundational piece of the Cubs’ future success. But he’s also trade bait, along with Starlin Castro and Javier Baez and even Schwarber himself. The Cespedes trade that the Mets made is clear proof that enormous benefits can come via trades.
But the second part of Poison’s lyrics is what caught my attention. “Don’t need nothin’ but a good time, and it don’t get better than this.” But for the 2015 Cubs, it could have been–should have been–so much better than it was. And any Cubs fan who says otherwise just isn’t being honest with themselves.
The collapse against the Mets was as thorough as it was was unexpected. I never, in 107 years, thought the Cubs would get exposed like they were. Never was a pitch thrown where the Cubs had a lead in the series. I don’t know what the team batting average and OBP were for the series, and I’m happier that way. Most of the games were over before the Cubs even came up to bat. And to suffer an 8-3 shellacking in an elimination game at home was the cherry on a very distasteful postseason sundae. Any comprehensive discussion of the Cubs’ 2015 season has to point out that it ended in horrific fashion.
There is some optimism going forward, but I’m not thrilled with the 2015 season on the whole. Pleased, yes. Thrilled, no. And the “exceeded expectations” meme that’s been going around on the Internet doesn’t apply to me, because I picked the Cubs to Go All The Way here and in other places online. That’s going to be my standing expectation for the Cubs every year until either it happens or I die. And I very much hope the former occurs before the latter.