As you are probably aware, the Chicago Cubs are, and have been since the end of last season, the odds-on favorite to win the 2016 World Series. That is according to Vegas as well as some off-shore betting sites. As 4:1 favorites to win it all by most accounts, this implies there is exactly a 100% chance that the Cubs will win the 2016 World Series…assuming they play out the 2016 season four times in four parallel realities. Hey, at least that beats the 12 alternate universes the Mets would need to win!
You likely are also aware that this sort of thing sets up a team and its fans for failure and disappointment. With exceedingly lofty expectations comes excessive DOOM! The universe says “it is known”. And this being the Cubs (…107 and counting…), the doomsday scenario seems all but assured already, does it not? Do we know the Cubs will win or do we know they’ll never win? As with Schrödinger’s cat, I tend to believe both are true, and at the very same time, neither are true.
All of this brings me to a question I posed to my friend Google earlier today when thinking upon the Cubs’ current situation. That is, who was the last team to win the World Series after being declared the Vegas favorite during the preseason? The waters are murky but I believe I have the answer: the 2009 Yankees.
I began my research with this Bleacher Report article from 2013 that answers this very question for the 2008 through 2012 seasons. I extended past that year by way of selective Google’ing. To summarize:
2008 – Red Sox (lost in ALCS; Phillies win W.S.)
2009 – Yankees (well played, Vegas)
2010 – Yankees (lost in ALCS; Giants win W.S.)
2011 – Phillies (lost in NLDS; Cardinals win W.S.)
2012 – Phillies (didn’t make the playoffs; Giants win W.S.)
2013 – Blue Jays (didn’t make the playoffs; Red Sox win W.S.)
2014 – Dodgers (lost in NLDS; Giants win W.S.)
2015 – Nationals (didn’t make the playoffs; Royals win W.S.)
2016 – Cubs (DOOOOOOOOOOM!?!?!?!?!)
Conclusion: place bets at your own risk! As you can see it’s been awhile since Vegas got it right.
So Cubs fans, please keep your cool. Slow that roll, my Teddy Broosevelts and Brohinas. In fact, pretend it’s still a rebuilding year because in some weird way it still is a rebuilding year. They are awfully young and there will be growing pains. Also, don’t forget those pesky Red Birds…they have a way of winning when they aren’t supposed to (see 2011).