Now that things have settled down after the Chicago Cubs took home their first World Series since 1908, it’s time to reflect. This was a phenomenal series. Both the Indians and the Cubs left everything on the field. They reminded everyone just how exciting baseball can be. But here are my 5 biggest takeaways from the series:
5. Terry Francona is the best manager in baseball.
Coming into the playoffs there weren’t many people convinced that Cleveland would make it to the World Series. In September they lost Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco, their no. 2 and no. 3 starters, respectively. But they kept winning, when they shouldn’t have. Furthermore, they did so convincingly, losing only one game on their way to the World Series. The magic ran out, however. Corey Kluber was forced to pitch twice on short rest, and Andrew Miller was used more than Francona likely would have wanted. Still, when it comes down to it, Francona brought this team within one win of a World Series with a depleted pitching staff. That’s impressive. It truly shows just how good he is, which is why the Indians front office decided to keep him around for a little while.
4. Francisco Lindor is a superstar.
I feel like Lindor does not get the credit he deserves. This season he finished with 6.3 WAR, good enough for eighth best in baseball. He hits and he plays great defense. FanGraphs actually has him rated as the second best shortstop in baseball according to their DEF stat. The play he made in the 9th inning of Game 7 is strong evidence of that. But, most importantly, he played great baseball when it mattered. He slashed .310/.355/.466 in the postseason, scoring 5 runs and knocking in another 6. It’s not just what he did though, it’s how he did it. Lindor always seems to have a smile on his face. He has a blast playing the game, and he’s just fun to watch. Then there’s the fact that he’s still just 22. He’s already one of the game’s most exciting talents and the future looks bright. He’ll be fun to watch.
3. Theo Epstein is a genius.
The guy knows how to end droughts. He did it in Boston and now he did it with the Cubs. He has an ability to judge players, building a winning team, from the superstars to the role players. There’s nobody better in the business.
2. David Ross got to go out on top.
There’s just something about David Ross that leaves you rooting for him. The way he carried himself is something to be admired. Teammates seemed to love him. He’s a player that deserved to go out on top. He’s not going to be remembered as one of the game’s greats, but who cares. He was a consummate professional and a leader on this young Cubs team. There’s also that Game 7 home run. I just want to say, congratualtions, David Ross.
1. The Cubs really were just that much better than everyone else.
Before the season even started there was so much hype surrounding the Cubs. It was clearly well deserved. They dominated every facet of the game this season. And they are ridiculously young. The core is there for the future. This team has the potential to build a dynasty.
Coming into the playoffs I wrote an article about how this was the Cubs’ year. They breezed through the postseason, but then went down 3-1 to Cleveland. That’s when they showed themselves. They didn’t panic. They simply played baseball, one game at a time.