Twice As Nice

They have done it again. The Chicago Cubs have once again won the NL Central Division. After starting off the year to a less than World Series defending performance, the Cubs found a way to right the ship and get back to doing what they do best. Sure, it took some time, but they never hit the panic button. Many of the fans and followers were rapidly hitting the button looking for something to happen. Throughout the first half of the season, how could you blame anybody for not being a little concerned? You went from watching a team that had just won a World Series, to a team that could barely even get to .500. They crawled to the All-Star Break and left many people wondering, “Were the Cubs going to find themselves?” Then things slowly got going. They started to move out of cruise control and into game mode.  The team made a couple of big moves. First, they moved catcher Miguel Montero to the Blue Jays. A few days later, they made their biggest move and traded for starting pitcher Jose Quintana. Then on July 31, the Cubs made the last of their big moves, and traded for catcher Alex Avila and relief pitcher Justin Wilson. Soon the team started winning games. The team had chemistry once again. The Cubs were playing meaningful baseball. There was still one problem the Cubs had to fix. In the midst of their first half slump, their rivals, the Milwaukee Brewers had taken first place in the division. The Cubs still had their work cut out for them. Almost two months later, it finally happened. The Cubs and Brewers were dueling it out to be the top dog and make it into the playoffs. With just two weeks left in the regular season the Cubs had a very important series coming up, a 4-game series with the Brewers. After taking three out of four games against the Brewers, the Cubs were clearly in control. Now with a four-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals, if the Cubs could win a few more games the division would be theirs. On Wednesday night, the Cubs accomplished part one of their long journey. With a 5-1 win over the Cardinals, the Cubs had clinched the division. The Cubs were going to the postseason! I can only imagine it had to be a little sweeter winning in St. Louis after being tormented so many years by the Cardinals winning the division. Now for a third consecutive year, the Cubs would play playoff baseball. For the second year in a row, the Cubs won the division. All was right with the Cubs once again. No worrying. No panic button. There is still a long road in front of them to get back to where they were a year ago, but for one night the Cubs could relax and enjoy what their hard work had brought them. Winning the Central Division title again had to be nice. Let the playoff games begin.

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