One year ago today, it finally happened.
The Cubs erased 108 championship-less years in its franchise history, battling through — and coming out on top — one of the greatest baseball games ever played.
2016's Game 7 was far more entertaining than 2017's iteration, even if this fall's World Series was undeniably epic in its own right.
Watching as the Houston Astros reveled in all their euphoria late Wednesday night, the Cubs and their fans obviously wished it was the boys in blue celebrating a second straight world championship.
The Cubs are no longer defending or reigning champs. But as 2017 gets further in the rearview mirror and the focus shifts to 2018 and beyond, Theo Epstein knows exactly what he's got in his team.
"I'm proud of the players because to me, now, the identity of the organization is: This is a team you can count on to play into October, you can count on them to play deep into October, you can count on them to play some epic games in October and you like their chances of winning those games," Epstein said on Oct. 20, the day after the Cubs' season ended.
"And that's a hard-fought identity that our players and a lot of guys behind the scenes have worked really hard to attain. I'm proud of them for that.
"And part of our job is to help create that identity and put them in position to achieve as many of those goals as they can."
Epstein's point about the Cubs' epic games is an interesting one.
Obviously the contest known simply as "Game 7" is up there, with the most famous rain delay in sports — and Chicago — history.
But then there's Game 5 of the NLDS this fall, when the Cubs somehow outlasted the Washington Nationals in a winner-take-all game of epic proportions.
There was a time not too long ago when it was even a question if the Cubs would put together three straight winning seasons, let alone three trips to the playoffs (done for the first time since 1906-08) or three straight years as one of the top two teams in the National League.
That task was much tougher in 2017, when the entire organization was nursing a World Series hangover that they know publicly admit was as real as the 108-year drought. And they were able to somehow play 10 postseason games despite a historically bad offensive showing.
The memories of 2003, 2007 and 2008 are in the distant past, with expectations now that this Cubs team challenge for the title each season.
"The identity of this organization has changed in a lot of ways that are meaningful and positive," Epstein said. "Looking around at those guys, any year in which we went to our third straight NLCS, if we're being honest — there was a tinge of disappointment, obviously.
"And to have disappointment in a year in which you reach the NLCS for the third straight year shows just how much the expectations have been raised around here and how high the bar is. That is a great thing.
"...We didn't reach our ultimate goal, but there's real value in getting back to October, to winning a series, to giving your fans thrilling baseball."