Cubs Best Cards in Round One

Evan Glantz

Rumor has it the Chicago Cubs have gone over a century without winning a World Series. But that didn’t stop Vegas from making them 4-1 favorites to win it all in 2016. This week, your St. Louis Cardinals hosted the new-and-improved North Siders, and I have to say, the visitors were impressive.

Now before you cough up that kosher dog at the thought of a pro-Cubs piece, allow me to explain. I think this is going to be a phenomenal summer of baseball between the two teams. For too long, it’s been a one-sided rivalry, with the Cardinals’ sustained success and the Cubs’ prolonged poor performances. Last year, we got a taste (granted, it was a bitter one) of what it can be like to have both teams competing deep into the fall. Imagine that excitement and drama building over the course of six months.

The first 2016 series between the Cards and Cubs did nothing to diminish expectations. Both teams showed up ready to play.

On Monday night, old friend John Lackey* blanked the Birds over seven innings to lead his new team to a 5-0 win.

*Fun fact about Lackey: with his win over the Cardinals on Monday night, he became the 16th pitcher in baseball history to beat all 30 MLB teams.

The other, higher-profile Cardinals-to-Cubs defector, Jason Heyward played a key role in the second game. With his new team up 2-1 in the bottom of the fourth inning, Heyward caught a Yadier Molina fly ball and fired home to nab a tagging Matt Holliday at the plate. That score held for the rest of the game.

On Wednesday, fans wouldn’t be blamed for thinking the darkening skies threatened more than just rain. A sweep by the Cubs was at stake. But thanks to a home run-saving catch by Randal Grichuk and a strong start from Carlos Martinez, the home team salvaged a victory from the series.

Not all the action took place on the diamond, however. Heyward was welcomed back to Busch with chorus of boos. More serious, however, were also rumors that heckling from Cardinals fans crossed a line. For now, they’ve proven to be unfounded, but the accusation is a sore spot for St. Louisans. 

In addition, Cubs fans who attended games at Busch wearing t-shirts with the slogan “Try Not to Suck,” were asked to remove the shirts or turn them inside out. The slogan is one of many used by Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon, and money from the shirts is used to benefit Maddon’s charitable foundation. The Cardinals have long had a stadium policy banning the word “suck” on clothing and/or signage, but are now considering loosening that rule.

The season narrative has already been written: the fun, up-and-coming Cubs are looking to unseat the stuffy, veteran Redbirds from the top of the NL Central. It’s been a long time since these two teams have truly been rivals. Get ready for a summer of drama, action and some great baseball between two classic teams.