By Jim Irwin
As we know, this weekend’s series at home against the Nationals did not go as the Cubs planned, dropping two out of three including a penultimate bullpen collapse on Sunday heading into a West coast road trip. However, I consider myself an optimist, always looking for the silver lining that comes along with losses like these. The silver lining in this recent string of losses is the all too common rumors of Bryce Harper wanting to join the Chicago Cubs when he becomes a free agent after the 2018 season. We’ve heard all of the headlines: Harper named his dog Wrigley, he grew up in Vegas with Kris Bryant, their wives have become friendly with one another, it’s all the same. Politics aside, whether you want Harper on the North Side or not, you should be excited about this news as a Cubs fan. For decades, the Cubs have been known as the “lovable losers,” being the butt of countless jokes throughout their 108 year drought. That narrative has been flipped on its head by Theo Epstein. He has rebranded this team into holding themselves to a higher pedigree. A championship pedigree. Five years ago, the thought of a premiere talent in the MLB wanting to join the Cubs would be few and far between, if present at all. With blockbuster signings like Jon Lester in 2015 and Jason Heyward in 2016, it seems as if more and more players want a piece of the culture the Cubs have created the last few years. If my opinion holds any weight to you, I don’t think Harper will join the Cubs in 2019 at all, but the thought of the face of baseball wanting a piece of the crown makes me excited in itself. Kris Bryce and Rizzo one after another does sound like a Murderer’s Row type lineup, though.