By: Alex Patt
To quote Green Day, “Wake me up when September ends.”
That is how I feel when it comes to the Chicago Cubs 2021 season. For the first time since 2014, the Cubs will finish with a losing record and will miss the postseason for the second time in the past three years. This coming after a run of five postseason berths from 2015-2020, three NLCS appearances and their historic World Series win in 2016.
We were so used to losing for such a long time, then finally we got used to success for a good stretch run. Now going BACK to losing, it feels so demoralizing. It felt like the days of “Lovable Losers” was over, and yet here were. The core has been dismantled and another rebuild has begun…in what was supposed to be the team’s prime window of contention. Blame for the downfall can be discussed and debated for the ten billionth time, in the end we are where we are and nothing will change that.
On one hand, hitting the reset button is probably what was necessary for this team. On the other hand, it still sucks. Even if they had kept the core intact at the deadline, they probably were not going anywhere anyway. The team’s infamous 11-game losing streak back mid-summer sealed their fate and it was clear the “Golden Age” of Cubs baseball was over.
Now here we sit, watching other teams (including the team very close on the South Side of Chicago) clinch postseason berths. It is a painful reminder of where the Cubs are now and where they once were not long ago. It had been seven years since we saw the Cubs enter September with no postseason position to play for. Even when the Cubs missed the postseason in 2019, they were in the Wild Card race until the final weeks.
Feeling the air cool down and seeing the trees turn yellow, orange, and brown just is not the same without Cubs playoff baseball to look forward to. When I was a kid, watching the Cubs make the playoffs was pretty much a bonus. Over the past half-decade, watching the Cubs make the playoffs was a normal part of Fall. Counting down the magic number, watching clinching celebrations, looking at the Wild Card and/or NLDS schedule, it was like Halloween was not the only October holiday. Even the past few postseason appearances for the Cubs when they went out with a whimper, at least there was still meaningful baseball at Wrigley Field.
I just miss being part of it…watching my team get ready for baseball beyond the regular season. What makes this worse is who the hell knows what that will happen again. Owner Tom Ricketts and president Jed Hoyer keep talking about this being a quick transition…but how? The farm is deep, which is great, but so young with a lot a guys a ways away from the majors. How can you fix a team filled with holes in one offseason? Improve? Of course, but not turn into a contender. Honestly, the next few Septembers/Octobers are probably going to feel like this one. I do not have a crystal ball, but I do not see the Cubs even flirting with postseason play until 2023 at the EARLIEST. Could be even longer.
At the end of the day I am a Cubs fan and I have been through all, it even at the ripe age of 27. Most of my childhood/college life has seen meaningless Septembers for the North Siders and I did not think much of it at the time. I just really thought this losing business was going to be over for quite a while…guess not. As I have said before to other Cubs fans we have to stay strong and push through this. Hopefully brighter days are ahead.