Culver City Observer -


After 108 Years It Happens


November 3, 2016

There’s a big difference between having a good team and going all out to have a championship-caliber team.

The 2016 World Series champion Chicago Cubs illustrate that point remarkably well.

The Cubs hadn’t won a World Series in 108 years but accomplishing what seemed impossible became the goal that surfaced in 2009 when the Ricketts family bought the team for $845 million and Tom Ricketts began running the show.

You may be familiar with the Ricketts family. They’re heavily involved in politics - they’ve spent millions on fundraisers but not for one candidate. The family is divided between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

But they agree that the Cubs should get the best in management and players.

In 2011 the Cubs hired Theo Epstein as general manager. He had built the Boston Red Sox into a World Series champion. It was obvious the Cubs were real serious about getting to the top.

In 2015 Epstein hired Joe Maddon as manager.

When Maddon was with the Angels beginning in 1993 and continuing until 2006 he was on the coaching staff of five managers, concluding with Mike Scioscia.

Maddon was regarded as a bright man who would eventually run a big league team. In 2006 he did that, becoming manager of the Tampa Bay Rays.

I remember that Maddon frequently rode a bike from his Orange County home to the Angels’ stadium on game nights and then gave impressive interviews to we media people.

By 2015 Maddon was high on the list of teams wanting a new manager and Epstein went after him.

‘Joe is a first class individual,” said Cubs catcher Dsvid Ross. Top notch. A very positive person.”

Maddon got the Cubs believing in themselves and he took advantage of the team’s willingness to bring in extremely talented young players in the years since Ricketts and Epstein arrived.

Finally, Ricketts approved the trade that meant 100 miles per hour relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman would leave the Yankees and join the Cubs midway through this season.

Ricketts and Epstein were asked why the Cubs would give up their best major league prospect in the deal and the answer was “hey, it’s been 108 years.”

The 2016 World Series was one of the greatest in baseball history. The Cleveland Indians were a worthy opponent who had a 3-1 lead after the first four games.

But the Cubs won the next two games and then held a clubhouse meeting led by outfielder Jason Heyward reminding each other they were the best team in baseball this season.

After a rain delay starting the 10th inning Wednesday night they concluded an 8-7 victory in Game Seven.

Ben Zobrist was the Series MVP. The 39-year-old Ross hit a home run in the final game of his career and the overworked Chapman was the winning pitcher.

There’s no assurance the Cubs will win again next year but they figure as a strong contender since they have a lot of young players and the spirit of centerfielder Dexter Fowler, who seemed close to signing with Baltimore this season but stayed with the Cubs.

“This is where I want to be,” he said when he made a surprise appearance at the Cubs’ spring training facility.

This is where they all want to be now.


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