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July 17, 2018

10/18/2017 5:18:00 PM
Room for a View: The Best Game in Town
By Charles Wilkinson

No doubt about it, the Cubbies are providing the best game in town. There’s nothing like post-season baseball and these days there is no team like the (W)rigleyville (W)inners of Chicago. The season still has to play out on the Main Stage later this month and, hopefully, the Cubs will share the spotlight. But, hey, its baseball and anything can happen.

But what makes this Cub team seem so special? What is the dynamic that solidified in 2016 and carried through this season? The bits and pieces of the organization – ownership, management, players, coaches, etc. – can be picked apart and analyzed endlessly by experts, but the answer is blatantly simple. Teamwork and togetherness.

The Cubs are giving their fans a lesson in cohesion and determination and having mountains of fun while doing so. The feeling of "team” both on and off the field is tangible. What goes on in the Cubs’ clubhouse must be something special. Their manager, Joe Maddon, masterfully keeps his players loose and tightly focused, a unique talent. He doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously, a contagious mindset for his players. But the game itself is a different matter.

On the field Coach Maddon is all business. And so are the Cubs. They are also all together, trusting their manager’s instinctive maneuvers and his respect for their individual talents. That kind of chemistry has worked wonders for everyone involved.

Trying to pinpoint a leader on the roster is a challenge, since the emphasis is clearly on the theme of “team.” There is all-around mutual respect among the players, a kind of maturity and shared purpose – a catalyst that binds. The mix of experience and young energy may have the team dancing in the bullpen and slaphappy in the dugout, but there is serious baseball happening on the field.

Like the game itself, these Cubs are sheer entertainment. The team has kept their fans dancing as well, and slaphappy even while flirting with heartbreak, a feeling all too familiar to long-term Cub devotees. At the moment, however, the Cubbies are giving Chicagoland the best game in town. Here in Evanston, that big blue W is back on that awning shop on Central Street. Let’s hope, come November, it is still there.

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