Winning the World Series in 2016 changed everything for the Chicago Cubs and their fanbase.
Making the playoffs is no longer good enough. A season in which they won 95 games is considered a failure. Not playing in the NLCS for a fourth straight year, a ridiculously hard thing to do, leaves fans with an incomplete feeling for the season.
“Wait ’til next year” has turned into ‘We’d better win next year.'”
The Cubs’ success hasn’t just changed the mindset of the fan base, it has also changed how they are viewed by their rivals. You could argue that Cubs and Cardinals fans have switched places. Remember when Cubs fans used to share the standings in May when they were doing well? Now you see Cardinal fans doing that.
Remember when Cubs fans used to talk about their minor league teams and prospects to try and predict future success in Chicago? Now you see Cardinal fans doing that.
Check out the Memphis roster and then go look at the Iowa roster and tell me how you feel about the future..enjoy your few years of success, clock is ticking. 👍
— KJ The Rams Fan (@KJTheRamsFan) July 31, 2018
It used to be St. Louis that expected deep October runs every year. Now, that’s the expectation in Chicago. Do you think Cub fans act entitled these days? Success will do that, so that kind of proves the point doesn’t it?
Cubs fans used to feel better about their lost season as long as St. Louis didn’t win in October. I saw a whole lot of ecstatic Cardinal fans the last two years when the Cubs were eliminated. How many “Fly the L” posts did you see? Too many to count. How many “We won as many playoff games as you” comments did you see? You get the point.
I know exactly how Cardinal fans will respond to this article: “You guys win one World Series and you act like you invented baseball.” But that’s not all this is about. It’s about the last four years. It’s about how expectations have changed. And you’d have to admit that you look at the Cubs differently than you used to. More than likely, you look at your own team differently than you used to.
Do you think the Milwaukee Brewers will be looked at as the team to beat in the Central next year? I doubt it. Even though they just won the division, I think you’ll still see the Cubs as the favorites. They won 95 games with a ton of injuries, had just 23 combined home runs from Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras, and the schedule from hell to end the season.
Theo Epstein is motivated. The Cubs will make some big moves this winter and will have a chip on their shoulder next year. The other teams in the division will probably be dangerous as well and it should be one of the best divisions in baseball once again. But deep down, I think everybody knows the Cubs will have the highest expectations.
Because things have changed.