By Dan Bernstein —
CBSChicago.com senior columnist
(CBS) If the Cubs had to relinquish their title to somebody, they could do a whole lot worse than making way for the 2017 Houston Astros.
We understand the variance inherent in baseball’s playoffs, knowing how possible it is for the best team in a given year to not win the World Series. It in fact may have happened for the second consecutive season, however, depending on how one sees a postseason tournament that involved three entrants with at least 100 wins.
A Cubs fan must tip one’s cap to another franchise that got bad to get good and explained similarly what it was doing along the way. The Astros also had a knack for finding value where others missed out on it, scooping up keen analytical minds and scouting eyes from Baseball Prospectus and elsewhere and putting them to work in blending what can be quantified and what can’t. They hired a manager with a psychology degree from Stanford to pull it all together on the field and play the proper percentages.
And the truth is that I would probably also be saying kind things about the Dodgers this morning had Game 7 gone differently Wednesday night, as they’re another exceedingly well-run organization that provides little to dislike.
The field was full of young, telegenic, expressive players unashamed to look like they were having the time of their lives on the game’s grandest stage. Pressured scowls and gritted teeth are now more dugout smiles and on-base hand-dances, the heaviness of every moment sublimated into ebullience. The Cubs helped start some of that as they revved up, and baseball is better for it continuing.
It was a memorable World Series that was destined to give us a baseball champion that fully merits the honor, as the Astros now do.