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The Cubs Confront the Curse: Is This the Year?

The Player

Pitcher Jon Lester spent nine seasons with the Boston Red Sox, watching as a city and a region burdened by decades of dispiriting postseason losses had its championship renaissance. In his second season as a Cub, Lester cannot help seeing the similarities between Chicago and Boston.

“In Boston, no matter how good the Patriots, Celtics or Bruins are, it’s sort of a Red Sox town,” he said. “I feel the same thing is true in Chicago. No matter how good any other team is, it always comes back to the Cubs.”

Lester has also assessed the two fan bases and sees considerable differences.

“East Coast versus the Midwest,” he said. “It’s not the full, up-in-your-face, fast-paced type of city and fan as you get in Boston. Here, everybody is a little slower, a little more laid-back. But the passion is still there. Both ballparks are packed every night, and everybody is yelling.”

While much of the Cubs’ roster was built with shrewd acquisitions of young talent, Lester was perhaps the final pivotal piece added when he spurned multiple other suitors, most notably the Red Sox, to sign a free-agent contract before the 2015 season worth $155 million. He was…

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