If you’re a Chicago Cubs fan you want the comparisons to begin after last nights debut of Javier Baez. In case you missed it and I’m not sure how you could unless you fell asleep since another Cubs game went into extra innings, Baez hit an extra inning home run in his first game for his first major league hit.
Some Blackhawks fans already know where I’m going with this, but if you don’t the first comparison and the biggest one we are making today is the fact that when Jonathan Toews was a very young phenom making his debut in the NHL in 2008 he scored a goal in his first game on his first shot of his career.
Now as a Cubs fan you are hoping that the comparisons don’t end with just the first home run for Baez. If you look at where the Blackhawks were as a franchise when Toews scored that first goal, it was a team mired at the end of their worst era of hockey in team history. From 1995-2008 the Blackhawks had only one playoff appearance which is pretty tough thing to do when over half of the NHL makes the playoffs every season.
Toews along with his partner in crime Patrick Kane took the team to the playoffs in their second season with the team reaching the Conference Finals, and in their third season they won a Stanley Cup a feat they duplicated three seasons later. The first Cup though was the one that ended the longest draught in the NHL at the time at 49 years, and when they reached the Finals it ended a stretch of 19 seasons without a Finals appearance and only one appearance in 40 years (1992 Finals).
Toews first goal was a sign of hope and that the tides of franchise were turning totally in the right direction! Does any of this sound familiar?
Baez homer hopefully isn’t just a fun highlight but a change and a tide turner for the entire Cubs franchise. The Cubs haven’t been to a World Series in almost 70 seasons and to make matters worse since Lou Pinella was let go, the past few seasons have felt like the Dark Ages of Chicago Cubs baseball if that is possible for a team that hasn’t won a World Series since 1908.
If you turn up the sound on the Baez homer you hear fans cheering very loudly, but it’s not them cheering just for a home run, it’s the fans cheering for the HOPE of what Baez brings to the franchise. Future stars named Kris Bryant and Jorge Solar are on their way too and along with Anthony Rizzo hopefully they can create the same Championship core that Toews, Kane, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook brought to the Hawks that turned the team from worst to First. The Hawks are now the model franchise in the NHL with Championships and talent up and down the organization depth charts and it all started with young talent that wasn’t afraid of the big stage.
Yes, it was just a home run last night, but in 2008 did you really think Toews goal was just a goal?
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