If you had asked me right after the 2016 World Series to describe how the next five years would play out for the Cubs, “long and tedious’’ wouldn’t have crossed my mind. With all that talent on the roster and all that brainpower in the baseball operations department, I expected fun, interesting things.
The metaphor for what happened to the Cubs’ purported “championship window’’ was the second half of the 2018 season, when the team forgot how to hit. In 22 games during that span, they scored one run or fewer, including a 3-1 loss to the Brewers to determine the National League Central champion and a 2-1, 13-inning loss to the Rockies in a wild-card playoff game. It was as if Phil Mickelson had looked at his golf clubs and said, “What are these things used for?”
It’s not even that the franchise didn’t win another World Series after 2016, though that was certainly disappointing. It’s that the whole idea of the Cubs As Special was being dismantled, first emotionally and eventually physically — but all of it so slowly that it took a long time to grasp that there wasn’t going to be anything close to the 2016 season again. They should have been better in the ensuing years. They just weren’t, and it played out like a time-lapse film of a building being neither built nor razed. Just standing there looking nice.
On Thursday, the Cubs traded…