An empty Wrigley Field in October is no longer the Norm.
By: Alex Patt
It is early October, and the Division Series in MLB baseball has begun. The Chicago Cubs were eliminated in a 2–1 loss in the Wild Card game, and there is no more Postseason baseball for them.
For once in our lives the the lack of postseason Cubs baseball feels weird and unusual.
For decades, seeing baseball beyond the regular season at the Friendly Confines was a very rare treat. Heck from 1946–2006 there were only 11 postseason games at Wrigley Field played. The last four years there have been 18 postseason games at Wrigley. Pretty amazing when you think about it. Even in between 2006–2014 there were three more postseason games at Wrigley, but that is still just 14 total from 1946–2014. It is no wonder that not having postseason Cubs baseball feels weird now.
Still crazy to think that just a few seasons ago it felt totally different from now. 2015 was the beginning of this successful run and one year changed expectations for this ballclub. Calling a 95-win season successful feels moot at this point because they were eliminated so early and lost the division crown to the Brewers after having it under control most of the way. A few years ago just seeing a game being played in October at Wrigley would have felt great, even in a loss, it would have just been nice to have it. No Cubs fan wanted to play that Wild Card game, we wanted the division.
There is now a feeling of emptiness when seeing other teams play baseball right now. It kind of reminds me of 2008 when I tried to watch the Championship Series and World Series after the Cubs got brutally swept in the NLDS. I now get the, “That should have been us!” feel seeing the Brewers win crazy postseason games.
While it still kind of stings, it feels like everyone is ready to move on. Time will heal wounds, and Theo Epstein will make some big moves to get this team back. One thing I can say is that while one could call this a collapse, considering the lead they had in the division and losing two home games to end the season, at least it was not as bad as 2004. While this team and that team were compared often the past few weeks, here are a few things to consider:
- 2004 the team finished 2–7 and 2018 finished 6–4
- 2004 saw gut-wrenching losses in which they had the lead and blew it late, while 2018 team did not lose games in that kind of fashion down the stretch
- Dusty Baker lost control of that team in 2004 and saw the team turn against each other (Sammy Sosa walking out), while 2018 did not really see that. They just did not win when it mattered
- 2004 came off the 2003 NLCS collapse, at least the 2018 team is coming off three recent long-runs and a World Series
- At least the 2018 season did not end after game 162 like 2004 did
It will be a long offseason, hang tough Cubs fans.