Quantifying Hope: Cubs at 2.3% Playoff Odds After Series Loss in STL

The first thing I remember was asking Hoyer, “Why?” for there were many things I didn’t know. And Hoyer always smiled and took me by the hand, saying, “Someday you’ll understand.” Well I’m here to tell you now, each and every mother’s son — and daughter and those who identify as nonbinary — you better loin it fast and you better loin it young: Someday never comes.

Except that the July 31 trade deadline isn’t that far away, so at least that someday will come. It’s just going to feel a helluva lot longer than eight days.

I suppose that lede was a bit esoteric if you’re not into Creedence, but I just saw John Fogerty in concert last week — dude can still rock at 76 years old — and I’m feeling a little nostalgic right now. As odd as it may sound to say I’m wistful for the bygone days of just five years ago, I have to agree with Michael Canter’s assertion in The Rundown that 2016 feels like a lifetime or so ago.

But just like Bruce Springsteen’s ol’ speedball-throwing buddy from back in high school, the Cubs have kept talking about those glory days that have passed them by. They kept the band together but couldn’t quite replace the rhythm section or find the proper arrangement, so the result has been something akin to decent karaoke. There are times when this team hits the right notes, but far too often we’re left judging them like Randy Jackson.

It’s gonna be a no for me, Dawg.

That’s what the postseason would be saying were it anthropomorphized, though now I fear I’ve dragged this analogy far longer than it ever deserved. In any case, the Cubs have fallen further in the odds race, which tends to happen when you drop three of four games to a divisional opponent. They were already down to 3.7% heading into last weekend’s series in Arizona, so this isn’t even much of a drop in the grand scheme.

Then again, the Cardinals were only at 2.4% coming out of the break and have now nearly doubled the Cubs, which is like saying a car near the back of a race has lapped one of the few cars behind it. Perhaps that’s why July 31 now looks like a finish line of sorts, since it’ll at least end speculation about who’s being moved to where.

“Yes, at this moment, I am looking forward to it,” David Ross told reporters in St. Louis. “I’m serious. Well, it’s just, I don’t have to answer more questions. There’s a sense of moving forward, right?”

Moving forward sure would be a nice change for an organization that drove up the biggest hill in professional sports and then forgot to set the E-brake. Or maybe a better analogy is that they reached a plateau rather than a peak and simply ran out of gas at the top. Then they realized that in their excitement they’d forgotten to bring equipment to climb back down.

Shoot, I just belabored another analogy. Who am I kidding, no one’s actually going to read this far anyway.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d have traded a kidney or even an adult knee for a Cubs World Series title. Most of you are probably the same. But what’s happened since is no less disappointing, mainly because it continues to feel as though they went from a solid plan to simply flying by the collective seat of their pants.

This isn’t about not winning multiple titles in a six-year window, at least not entirely, it’s about the sparkle-and-fade nature of that title and how it now appears as though only a hard reset will spark another run. I’m with Ross, though, at least the passing of the deadline means we can put an end to speculation for the remainder of the season.

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