Tha Sports Junkies 101

Chicago Cubs Win NL Pennant

Chicago Cubs Arturo Pardavila III/Via


Target Embraced: Cubs win NL Pennant

At the beginning of the 2016 season, Chicago Cubs Manager Joe Maddon told his players to “Embrace The Target”.  For the first time in a very long time all the Baseball gurus were predicting the Cubs to win the World Series.  Well on Saturday night the Chicago Cubs showed that they listened and had embraced the target without a doubt and now are headed to the World Series for the first time since 1945.

Wrigley Field– The Chicago Cubs would find themselves one win away from a World Series birth entering game 6 of the NLCS.  Waiting on the other side was one of the best pitchers in all of baseball, Clayton Kershaw, who had pitched a gem for the Dodgers last Sunday to tie the best of 7 series up at 1-1.  Every media site was talking about how the Cubs were facing an almost insurmountable opponent and many were predicting a game 7 to be taking place on Sunday night.

There is one problem with all these predictions.  Everyone seemed to have forgotten that the Cubs were sending out Major League Baseball ERA leader for the 2016 season, Kyle Hendricks.  Hendricks (aka-The Professor), would pitch probably the best game of his career on Saturday night and show the baseball world that they need not forget about him again.  Hendricks would throw 7.1 innings only allowing 2 hits and 0 runs in the game 6 matchup.  He would be replaced by Aroldis Chapman in the 8th who would record the final 5 outs and seal the 5-0 victory for the Cubs.  Hendricks and Chapman also accomplished another historical feat tonight.  They faced the minimum amount of batters possible and became only the second team in history to do so.  The other team was the 1956 New York Yankees in Don Larson’s perfect game.

How Did they do it?

On top of an amazing pitching outing from Hendricks, the Cubs offense continued to click in game 6.  After the Cubs had seen almost their entire team fall into a slump in game 2 and 3, they woke in game 4 and never let up again.  Game 6 would see Dexter Fowler, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Wilson Contreras and Addison Russell continue to hit the ball and not just hit it, but they hit it hard all-night.  Rizzo and Contreras would both homer in the game and the Cubs would jump out to a 5-0 lead and never look back.

After years of dealing with the shadow of a Billy Goat, A Black Cat, Steve Bartman and being labeled the Lovable Losers, Cubs fans can now enjoy overcoming one hurdle they had faced for 71 years.  That’s right, it is official the Chicago Cubs are heading to the World Series and the players had a lot to say about the fans after the game.


“Listen to them. Outside before the game was crazy. Inside the game was crazy,” Cubs pitcher Jon Lester said. “These guys have done nothing but support us from Day One. It’s been unbelievable to be here and be part of this. Words can’t really describe where I’m at right now,” he said.


“This city deserves it so much,” Anthony Rizzo said.


The Cubs players would also remind the fans that their work is not quite done yet.

“We got four more big ones to go, but we’re going to enjoy this. We’re going to the World Series. I can’t even believe that.” said Rizzo

“We gotta keep grinding, we have 4 more wins to go” said Lester

Kris Bryant said “I’m so spoiled and it’s such a humbling feeling.  These fans are great, we’re not done yet though.” (All this as the Wrigley faithful chanted MVP)

Javier Baez and Jon Lester were named Co-NLCS MVP’s.

Baez hit .318 (7 for 22) with five RBIs, leading the Cubs past the Dodgers for their first NL pennant since 1945. The Slick fielding Baez also made a number of amazing defensive plays in the series, stealing home in the series opener and making an amazing bare-handed play to throw out Adrian Gonzalez in Game 5.

Lester, one of baseball’s most accomplished playoff performers, went 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two starts against Los Angeles.

Each player would speak on what the award meant to them after the game.

”Just having fun,” Baez said. ”Living my dream, playing like a little kid, moving everywhere, catching the ball and making plays.”


”It’s unbelievable. Going through this process, this is why they signed me,” Lester said. ”This is why they wanted me to come here to win a World Series. This is why I wanted to come here, to win a World Series for this city and this organization, this ownership, this front office. … We still have a long ways to go.”

Lester and Baez became the first NLCS co-MVPs since Cincinnati relievers Rob Dibble and Randy Myers in 1990.



Ben Zobrist, who won a World Series with the Kansas City Royals last season was asked how this win was different from past years.

“We are in the best stadium in all the world- Wrigley Field.  I Love this stadium and I love making history.”

The Cubs have accomplished part of their original plan.  First step was making it to the World Series and the next step is winning a World Series.  They will face off on Tuesday night against the Cleveland Indians who are looking to break a World Series draught of their own.  The Cleveland Indians have not won a World Series since 1948 and the Cubs have not won a World Series since 1908.  Regardless of how this series turns out, someone will end their World Series woes after years of heartache.

One person for the Cubs had something to say about his team and his expectations for now and for the future.  That person was 39-year old Catcher David Ross who is retiring at the end of this World Series run.

“This City is amazing, I love this city.” said Ross.  “Tom Richetts had better build a big trophy case, because we are gonna win this year and these players are young and are gonna win a lot more”.

All of the fans in Wrigley cheered loudly as Ross made this statement and all of Chicago can finally take a breath and stop doubting and officially start believing in this team and in this organization.

The Chicago Cubs are “Lovable Losers No More”.


Game 1 of the World Series is Tuesday night in Cleveland’s Progressive Stadium.  First pitch is set to take place at 8:00pm ET and will be aired on FOX.