Theo Knows.

When the Chicago Cubs signed Theo Epstein in 2011, I’m not sure anyone expected things to unfold this way. I think most Cubs fans had the hopes and dreams of a World Series Championship and sustained success, but did we really believe it was going to happen? With so many lingering factors around the history of the Cubs, it was a tough sell to a fan base that had experienced nothing but heartbreak the past 108 years. It’s easy for Cubs fans (myself included) to say that we knew it was going to happen, but we’ve been spoiled the past three seasons with great baseball. At the time Theo took over, things were a disaster.

When Theo first came on board, he was open and honest with all Cubs fans. Epstein told fans they were going to have to be patient. Good things take time, and he emphasized this in his opening press conference. Theo preached sustained success, “the Cubs way” and building a great baseball operations department. I can’t find one thing in his opening press conference that he hasn’t delivered on.

Whether it was bringing in Jed Hoyer, trading for team leader Anthony Rizzo, or drafting Kris Bryant (the list goes on and on), Epstein has crafted an organization built for a lot of success now and in the future. If you’re looking for specifics as to how he assembled a teamed positioned for sustained success, you can read a great article by ESPN here.

As far as 2017 goes there’s no way around it, this season has been a rollercoaster ride. You can pick out a lot of things to be unhappy with throughout the year, but at the end of the day the Cubs accomplished something that has never been done before in the history of Cubs baseball. They are the NL Central Division champs for the second year in a row. The reigning World Series Champs are back in the playoffs for the third consecutive season (sustained success) and playing their best baseball heading into the postseason.

Facts are facts and the truth is the Cubs have one of the best rosters in baseball with a ton of postseason experience and a veteran pitching staff. They have four bullpen arms that have been consistent all year long (Duensing, Strop, Edwards Jr & Davis). They have arguably the best closer in baseball and a veteran coaching staff that has been through it all.

Anything can happen in October baseball but don’t overlook the Cubs. A lot has to happen in order for the Cubs to repeat as champs, but they will enter the postseason as underdogs and I truly believe that plays to their advantage. After a disappointing first half, a lot of people wrote off the Cubs. I do know one thing, I wouldn’t want to play them right now. This team is hungry and eager to prove to everyone that they are still the best team in baseball.

Cubs fans are put in a position they haven’t experienced before (sustained success) and I couldn’t be more excited. The best thing we can do is sit back and enjoy the ride because consistent success in baseball is hard to come by. These are stories we will pass on from generation to generation. I’m looking forward to more “I was there when (x) happened moments.”

I might be rambling on, but I want to take time to thank Theo for being honest with Cubs fans throughout this entire process. It hasn’t been easy and it’s far from over, but you’ve delivered time and time again and changed the culture of the toughest franchise to change. Before the playoff series against the Nationals I will make sure to have a toast to you, Mr. Epstein. Thank you for everything.

-Josh Schaffer

(Twitter: @j_schaffs)

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