There was an idea. An idea to bring together a group of remarkable people, to see if they could become something more. To see if they could work together and fight the battles that we never could.
And fight those battles, they did.
The 2016 Chicago Cubs came together against all odds and defeated the mighty Indians to capture their first World Series championship in over a century. These men will go down as heroes in Chicago history, having broken through in a way that so many before them couldn’t accomplish. Banks. Santo. Jenkins. Sandberg. Sosa. All great players, but heroes? No. The 2016 Cubs are the true heroes.
With the tremendous popularity of Avengers: Infinity War (read my review!), I’ve begun to notice some crossover with the 2018 Cubs in my own Marvel-soaked mind. Javier Baez moves around like he has a sixth sense; has he been endowed with some sort of mystical power? Does he carry an Infinity Stone in his back pocket?
It might be ludicrous, but I went about deciding which Cubs players are most like several of the characters from Infinity War. Here is the totally serious list that I came up with. (WARNING: Spoilers for the movie are ahead)
Spider-Man – Javier Baez
This one is a cinch. The way Javy moves around on the bases, as seen with his swim-move slide on Saturday, makes him the Spider-Man of the group. Not only that, but Baez comes with a fun-loving, child-like attitude toward the game that really fits in well with the teenage Peter Parker. Just hope we don’t get any “I don’t feel so good, Mr. Maddon” moments this season.
Iron Man – Jon Lester
Jon Lester is an Iron Man in more than one way. Just like the Marvel Cinematic Universe all started with Tony Stark, so did the Cubs’ winning ways with Lester. Sure, many of the key players were already in place, but Lester was the big move that put the Cubs over the top. Not to mention, he absolutely got PAAAID in the process – another way he’s like the affluent Stark. Lester has also made 31 or more starts in 10 consecutive seasons, making him a true Iron Man.
Doctor Strange – Kyle Hendricks
There’s a clear correlation between Doctor Stephen Strange and Professor Kyle Hendricks. Neither man was blessed with the physical talents of their counterparts, but instead rely on their intelligence and knowledge. Hendricks can’t turn back time or travel between dimensions — at least not as far as I can tell — but he does a mystical job at making a change-up vanish.
Groot – Pedro Strop
There really is no key reason here, outside of Pedro Strop’s occasionally flamboyant celebrations on the mound. That, and “I AM STROP!” is just a perfect fit.
Bucky Barnes – Tommy La Stella
Bucky had like, what, three lines of dialogue in Infinity War? And one of those lines was – SPOILER ALERT – him dying. How could any Cubs player other than Tommy La Stella be Bucky Barnes? Like Barnes, La Stella is criminally underused. But also like Barnes, it’s with good reason. There is just too much overall talent.
Falcon – Carl Edwards Jr.
Just look at Carl Edwards Jr. and Sam Wilson! These two could be long-lost brothers. The best metaphor I could come up with is that Edwards lets it fly on the mound and Falcon can literally fly. Sorry.
Vision – Yu Darvish
This character was brought in with great fanfare, but to date has done very little of note. Am I talking about Yu Darvish or Vision? It was kind of hard for me to find a fit for Darvish among the Marvel crowd, but Vision makes the most sense. I don’t want to be too hard on Darvish, who I believe will come around after a poor start and a DL stint. But since Vision spent the entire movie injured and completely useless, this is the logical move.
Thor – Kris Bryant
Kudos to Evan for the thought on this one and some of the inspiration. Our fearless leader here at Cubs Insider compared Kris Bryant to Chris Hemsworth on Twitter, even mentioning that Bryant would have no problem wielding Stormbreaker. I tend to agree. Bryant is the first Cub I’d go to if I were creating a magical ax that could only be carried by a god. Plus, Bryant and Thor have one other thing in common: They are men, not dudes.
The Hulk – Kyle Schwarber
It’s extremely poetic that Kyle Schwarber, whose nickname is already Hulk, has actually lost a lot of weight, but Bruce Banner is finding it difficult to turn into the Hulk in Infinity War. But at any rate…duh. Moving on.
Captain America – Ben Zobrist
Ben Zobrist isn’t from Brooklyn, but he is definitely the old man of the squad. Like Captain America, Zo’s best days are behind him. But both men bring plenty of value, and while Cap is the MVP of the MCU, Zobrist is the literal MVP of the 2016 World Series. Boom.
Star-Lord – Anthony Rizzo
This is the last one I decided upon, but the more I think about it, this may be the best fit of the bunch. Anthony Rizzo is a lovable goof, much like Guardians of the Galaxy‘s Peter Quill (Star-Lord). If there was one guy on the Cubs that you could see winning a dance-off to save the galaxy, it has to be Rizzo, right? And by the way, it should be pointed out that in no way am I intending to draw a connection between Quill’s now-reformed womanizing and Rizzo.
Drax – Jason Heyward
You may have been wondering, “Where is Jason Heyward?” I’ll do you one better: Why is Jason Heyward? Drax is the best fit for the Cubs’ right fielder, given that he’s somewhat one-dimensional but a solid role player in the overall story. We love Drax and J-Hey, even if they can often be pretty frustrating.
Just like with the Avengers, we’re going to have to wait a while to see how things work out for these Cubs. Maybe Darvish comes back strong and they go on a tear, taking over first place in the competitive NL Central and building a big lead in the second half. Let’s collectively hope that the Cardinals haven’t been building up their stores of devil magic. If so, 2018 could end in a snap.