There's no need to revisit the long, miserable history of the Chicago Cubs. From ridiculous curses involving goats to a Lee Elia rant that will live forever thanks to the magic of YouTube, to the Bartman moment that the networks always have qeued up and ready to play, the Cubs and their fans have suffered for a long time.
Tuesday in Chicago those Cubs and their fans got to celebrate an ALDS series clinching win over their hated rival, the St. Louis Cardinals.
Three more Cubs home runs on Tuesday afternoon propelled them past the Cardinals, 6-4, and into the NLCS against the winner of Thursday's Game 5 between the Dodgers and the Mets.
The biggest blow of the game was struck by SS Javier Baez, who's in the lineup only because starting SS Addision Russell has a bad hamstring. Baez also hit 9th in the order for manager Joe Maddon Tuesday, behind the starting pitcher, Jason Hammel.
But with two outs in the botto of the second inning, down 2-0 to John Lackey and the cards, Hamel singled in a run to cut the Cardinals lead in half. As unexpected as the Hamel RBI single was, it extended the inning and allowed Baez to hit a 3-run homer off Lackey just moments later to give the Cubs a 4-2 lead.
he Cardinals would tie the game in their half of the 6th, but Anthony Rizzo would untie it in the bottom of the same inning with a home run of his own. Kyle Schwarber provided the icing on top of the Cubs cake in the 7th inning with a mmaoth home run over the right field scoreboard off Kevin Siegrist.
When Hector Rondon struck out Stephen Piscotty to end the game, Wrigley erupted in relief and celebration.
"They deserve it," Rizzo said in the middle of the party. "Hopefully, this is just a taste of what's to come."
The young nucleus of the Cubs (Rizzo, Russell, Kris Bryant and Schwarber are all 26 or younger) probably has little appreciation for the Cubs history, but they do understand the emotion of beating St. Louis and moving on.
"I think we're too young to even realize what we just did," Bryant said. "It truly is a special time right now."
Cubs president of baseball operations, Theo Epstein, believes there's value to this group of young players not caring about or even understanding decades of futility that have colored the Cubs' past.
“Our guys don’t buy into the little narratives,” Epstein said. “They’re doing it for each other, for the organization. The pressure, the history doesn’t really bother these guys.
“They’re young. They’re innocent — in a great way. They were in instructional league last year. You think they’re worried about history? They’re worried about getting their laundry done in time for Saturday.”
Maddon, hired to put the young talent Epstein had acquired into a cohesive and winning unit, said this team has surpassed even his expectations already.
“When I was popping off at The Cubby Bear, I was thinking 90,” said Maddon, referring to his press conference when he took the Cubs job.
The Cubs are now at 102 wins and counting and Chicago has yet to hit full throat.
"I can only imagine what the next thing is going to look like," said John Lester, who's won two titles with the Red Sox. "And the next thing after that."