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Editorial: The 2016 Cubs need their own ‘Super Bowl Shuffle’

Chicago+Cubs+fans+gather+outside+Wrigley+Field+to+celebrate+the+Cubs+clinching+game+4+of+the+NLDS+series+over+the+San+Francisco+Giants.+on+Tuesday%2C+Oct.+11%2C+2016+in+Chicago.+%28Nuccio+DiNuzzo%2FChicago+Tribune%2FTNS%29
Chicago Cubs fans gather outside Wrigley Field to celebrate the Cubs clinching game 4 of the NLDS series over the San Francisco Giants. on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016 in Chicago. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Chicago Cubs fans gather outside Wrigley Field to celebrate the Cubs clinching game 4 of the NLDS series over the San Francisco Giants. on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016 in Chicago. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

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TNS

Chicago Cubs fans gather outside Wrigley Field to celebrate the Cubs clinching game 4 of the NLDS series over the San Francisco Giants. on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016 in Chicago. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

By Chicago Tribune

You could see it all season in their manager, their penchant for squeeze plays, pitchers as outfielders, their “meh” to batting practice, the onesies they wore on a road trip. Swagger.

The 2016 Cubs have it in heaps, and it’s rubbing off on a city that has been lumbering about with slumped shoulders, a city heaving heavy sighs over the horror of gun crime and tax hikes galore. What seems epochs ago, there was another team with swagger backed up by winning.

Names such as the Fridge and Sweetness, the Punky QB and Da Coach long ago became embedded in the city’s lexicon because that Chicago Bears team had so much fun rollicking its way to the 1986 Super Bowl Championship. Or Super Bowl XX if you prefer Roman numerals with your trophies.

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What epitomized that swagger?

All of us old enough to recall know the answer: The prescient “Super Bowl Shuffle” was released three months before the Bears walloped the New England Patriots 46-10 in the Superdome. Walter Payton, Jim McMahon and the other Shufflers rapped, and while they lacked Snoop Dogg’s vibe, they had enough groove to make it to No. 41 on Billboard’s top singles chart.

The Cubs, now entering the National League Championship Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers, also have been doing more than just winning — and winning a lot. There’s a style to their triumph. It’s buoyant confidence, of course, and the team’s talent justifies that confidence.

But it’s also a playfulness that reminds us that the game should never be only about signing bonuses and eight-digit salaries. Manager Joe Maddon’s mantra says it all: “Never let the pressure exceed the pleasure.”

The Cubs have carved out an identity that makes us forget about the goat and the fan and the black cat. If there’s something missing in the Cubs’ swagger, it’s a song that, like the Shuffle, predestines winning it all. It’s not too late, Chicago lyricists. And why not a dance as well?

“The World Series Dab?”

“The Fall Classic Nae Nae?”

So as October unfolds, relish a team that has unlocked the manacles of wait-till-next-year misery and given us the bounce in our step this city so sorely needed.

Chicago’s neck-deep in political meanness and violent crime; Maddon’s Merry Band is steamrolling through the playoffs at precisely the right moment for Chicago’s collective psyche.

The Cubs are more than watercooler talk, and they’re not just mood enhancers. They’ve added a luster to the city’s image, a glow that’s been missing for too long.

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(c) 2016 the Chicago Tribune

Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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