Before the season began, an online betting service set the number of victories for the 2015 Cubs at 82½. With the team already at 82 victories with 21 games to play, that number seems almost quaint now. But at the time, a nine-victory increase from the season before seemed just about right.
There were people who were dreaming bigger, however. Anthony Rizzo famously predicted that the Cubs would win the National League Central, and he was dismissed as a rah-rah type sadly lacking historical context. But it’s September, and Rizzo’s thoughts don’t seem quite as fanciful as they did when he put words to them in January. It seems unlikely that the Cubs will catch St. Louis. They trailed the Cardinals by six games as of Friday night.
But it’s still within the realm of possibility. The Cubs haven’t been within a 300-mile radius of the realm of possibility in about seven years.
I was in the 82-victory camp, and I thought the people who had the team contending this season were getting ahead of themselves. One of them, whom I’ll refer to as “my brother Tom,’’ had the Cubs winning 90 games. For the first half of the season, friends of his who are White Sox fans treated him like a rug in need of a good beating. Not so much anymore. Barring a catastrophe down the stretch, he is going to look like a baseball insider.
You never know with this sport, the Cubs being a good example, the Sox being a better one. Maybe the Cubs will see the Cardinals in the postseason, giving Rizzo a chance for a makeup prediction. I wouldn’t bet against him.