Championship or bust?
It’s the elephant in the room with this Embrace-the-Target bunch of Cubs as they open one of the most anticipated postseasons in franchise history – 11 victories between now and Nov. 2 separating them from American sports immortality.
“No reason to answer that question,” All-Star first baseman Anthony Rizzo of the win-it-all-or-fail specter hanging in the fall air. “We don’t plan on that.”
How could they? The 103-win Cubs had the best record in baseball all season long, except for a brief stretch in July when the Giants did.
“We don’t put that in our head. We don’t play the what-if game,” second-year slugger Kris Bryant said.
“If you just look at what we have here, over the next, I don’t know, five or six years, we hope to making runs like this all the time,” Bryant added. “But certainly we have a chance here, and we’re not going to take it for granted. We’re going to give it all we’ve got. But I don’t think you put that type of [win-or-bust] pressure on yourself. Nothing good comes from that.”
Besides, these Cubs aren’t looking at the last century for motivation this month.
“We’re looking at it more about last year, what happened last year,” said leadoff man Dexter Fowler of last year’s elimination in the National League Championship Series. “We’ve all gone through this together, and everybody’s eager to get back, and get back to winning.”