What a strange time to be a Chicago Cubs fan right? How are we supposed to feel... what direction are the Cubs headed in?
Prior to the 2021 season, the talk around the league was that the Cubs were done and their run was officially over. This was amplified after trading away Yu Darvish and trusted back-up catcher Victor Caratini. Post Yu Darvish trade, the feelings, even amongst Cubs fans, were negative. Add all of the looming Kris Bryant trade talks and failure to extend any of the core players on top of that, and you have a very sour Cubs fan base.
To little surprise around the league, the Cubs started off slow and all of the issues that were anticipated were coming to fruition. But, as the Cubs always do, they came out and had the best month of May in the entire MLB and made you forget about all of their shortcomings. The team was a contender, looking for players to add for a deep October run.
Then the calendar turned to June and s**t hit the fan. A combination of injuries to key role players and a tough schedule turned the tide as quick as anything I've ever seen. The Cubs, who had a nice grip on first place in the NL Central, quickly went from looking down at the rest of the division to looking up at the Brewers. Sure, the Brewers had an easy schedule, but they took advantage and leapfrogged the Cubs. That all culminated into an 11-game losing streak that saw the Cubs in third place and eight games back of first place headed into the All-Star break.
The trade rumors came as the October hopes left, and with the trade deadline looming, the Cubs are on the outside looking in. They became sellers in what felt like a blink of an eye. The action has already begun with Joc Pederson going to the Atlanta Braves, and while that is only the slightest of changes, it is likely the beginning of the end for this iteration of the Cubs core. It's hard not to think that the Joc trade was just the start in preparation for Kris Bryant and possibly any of Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, Willson Contreras, and Kyle Hendricks to depart.
How are We Supposed to Feel?
In these three games post All-Star break, it already feels like it doesn't matter how the Cubs play. It's too late for the decisions to change and, regardless of what happens on the field in the next 12 days, the Cubs are still sellers. I can definitely get on board with that, but I am still not ready to give up on the importance of every game.
I was still able to hype myself up during every game of the 11-game losing streak, feeling that today was the day it gets turned around. Even though it didn't turn around, it was still a different point in the Cubs' season. I'm still convinced that the Cubs are ready to turn their season around even though the trades are inevitable. The Cubs have already won the first series of the second half, albeit against the Diamondbacks. However, a series like this past weekend is how momentum can build.
If I sound torn, it's because I am. I am ready to build for the future, but not ready to give up on the present. Especially since the trade deadline hasn't come and gone yet. The direction of the team has yet to truly be determined because a lot can change in two weeks. Hopefully things will become clearer post-deadline on July 30 and we as Cubs fans can focus on 2022. Oh, and we can enjoy all the videos of Ed Howard and Brennan Davis we see too.
Follow me on Twitter @JoeMarras and let me know what you think.