The 2017 Cubs run for the repeat has ended.

After a thrilling 3-2 victory on Tuesday night to avert the sweep, I began conjuring scenarios whereby the Cubs could orchestrate a miraculous comeback of epic proportions to reach the World Series.

It would involve incremental moments. A run here, a rally there and bang, the Cubs were playing game 7 with the Dodgers on the ropes on Sunday. I really had the scenario all set in my mind. Never underestimate the optimism of a Cubs fan.

It didn’t happen.

Instead, for the second consecutive year, the National League Championship was celebrated at Wrigley Field. This time, it wasn’t OUR celebration. The Dodgers won it in OUR house. THEY were the young and energetic team on a mission. THEY returned to the World Series after missing out the last 29 years. Boo hoo for the seemingly lengthy Lala Land hiatus.

There is much I could say about the 2017 version of the Cubs. First of all, it was fun. I will limit the remaining observations to three.

1 Heck yeah, the Cubs made it to their third consecutive final four, the NLCS. As a fan, am I happy about that? Indeed. But, since they’ve lost two of those three series in embarrassing fashion, I prefer to say the Cubs have WON three consecutive semifinals, the NLDS. Those have been the more positive defining moments that made us happy. The Addison Street Miracle needs a more consistent performance in the finals.

2 I love Anthony Rizzo. Don’t get me wrong. But what the hell was that “Respect Me” rant all about after a bloop single in Game 3 of the NLDS at Wrigley? He didn’t go yard. He didn’t hit a monster blast. He hit a flare with eyes.

The story of the Cubs in this three year miracle run has been all about TEAM. They stick together. They pick each other up. They’re a TEAM. There’s no “I” in team, but apparently Rizzo recognized there’s a ME. “Respect Me.” Really?

Tony, after your chest pumping rant, you went 1-22 with 11 K’s. Baseball karma. Catch it. Time to be a leader.

3 Sign Jake Arrieta. He has been the biggest BIG GAME pitcher in the history of the franchise. Jake has won EVERY “must win” game played in the past three years on this run. Don’t let him getaway. (See Greg Maddux.)

That said, as Humphrey Bogart said in the movie classic Casablanca, “We’ll always have Cleveland (2016).”

It tempers the blow of this year’s thwarted run. It NEVER gets old. It makes this year’s disappointment (if indeed it was) just a little more tolerable. It harbors hope for next year. The Chicago Cubs DID win the World Series.

“Wait until next year” has a new ring too it now. Not because MAYBE we’ll finally do it this time. No, this time it means, let’s do it again.

Who would have ever thought in the history of Cub fandom, we would “expect” a championship? This is how far the bar has been raised in this new culture of the Cubs. I’m kinda liking it. See ya in 2018.

FOOTNOTE: I located the Cubs “Season ending” posts from the last two years, in case you’d care to take a peek: