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Cubs Thu Oct 22 2015

The End is Just the Beginning for the Cubs

Chicago CubsThe feelings come at different times when your favorite team loses in the postseason. Some people spot the signs early and prepare themselves for what's to come. Others don't see it until the last possible moment, and they move quickly through five universally known stages of grief.

Everyone is entitled to feel the way they want. Your way isn't wrong. Neither is mine, and we certainly don't have to agree on it. In the end, we'll all end up in the same place: flipping on the television on April 5 when the Cubs open up the 2016 season against the LA Angels.

Kyle Schwarber will continue to play in the outfield (and also at catcher). Jorge Soler too. Kris Bryant will be at third, Anthony Rizzo at first, and Joe Maddon will have his hands on the controls in the dugout. Nothing is wrong with these guys. They ran into a buzzsaw of a pitching staff, filled with guys who throw 95-plus with movement and precision. If they weren't hitting the corners, the series would've probably been different.

Getting this far in 2015 was unexpected and fun. It was a bunch of kids going out there and enjoying every single moment. They partied after wins, and held their heads high after losses. The Mets were better the last few days -- no question about it. And if you're wondering why they kept pitching to Daniel Murphy, it's the same reason why you let Josh Smith shoot wide open 20-footers. He's going to start missing a bunch at some point, and you don't want to be giving away base runners (or drives to the basket) in the process.

If teams as young as the Cubs need to experience loss and heartache before getting to the World Series stage, then hopefully this was like the '89-'90 Bulls; a young team with a new coach employing an unorthodox philosophy getting to the brink of the Finals. Those teams responded by working harder and making themselves better. Don't expect any different from the Cubs players.

Teams rarely look the same year over year, and the Cubs won't be any different. They lacked the depth of aces necessary to carry the team when the offense was floundering, so don't be surprised when names like David Price and Jordan Zimmermann are floated around. The corner outfielders are weaker defenders, so Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer will likely respond with a defensive whiz in center to cover up some of their sins. A power lefty-reliever you say? No problem, they've got the assets to go get one.

That's the best part about all this. The arrow is still pointing up, and it's a big damn arrow. The rookies will likely improve their games, and they have gobs of new money to spend. "The Plan" worked. All the scouting, the trading, the ballpark rebuilding has developed into what Epstein envisioned since his first press conference. The fun is just beginning.

This is the end of the season, but the start of an era. Feel however you want now, and I'll meet you at excited whenever you're ready.

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