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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In 2016, the Cubs snapped a 108-year World Series drought and seemed destined to build a modern dynasty. 3 years later, they've been eliminated from the playoffs following a late-season collapse — and could be set for sweeping changes this offseason.

Why it matters: The death of the Cubs' dynasty (that never really existed) proves just how difficult it is to sustain greatness in baseball.

  • Unlike basketball, where a trio of superstars can win you a title, 3 baseball players aren't able to carry a team. And you can't remake your roster in one offseason, either. You need organizational depth — and a long-term plan.
  • Unlike football, where a new offensive/defensive scheme can make all the difference, baseball has no "schemes." For the most part, every team is playing the same game. There's no outsmarting your opponent.
  • Unlike hockey, where someone like Cale Makar can make an impact literally 2 days after his college career ends, baseball requires years of player development. The Cubs failed in that department, especially with pitchers.
  • Unlike soccer, where a few game-winning goals can alter the course of a season, baseball is such a slog that a team's record after 162 games is more about how well the roster was built, rather than whether or not you made a few game-winning plays.

The bottom line: "Ultimately, maybe none of the Cubs' struggles should come as too much of a surprise," writes WSJ's Jared Diamond (subscription).

  • "Dynasties rarely happen in today's baseball — no team has won consecutive championships since the New York Yankees completed their three-peat in 2000."

Worth noting: The Astros have dynasty written all over them after taking a similar path as the Cubs (tank, rebuild, emerge as contender), all while relying more heavily on analytics and doing a much better job developing talent.

Go deeper: Baseball's season of extremes

Go deeper

"Atmospheric river" swings Northern California from drought to flood

Satellite view of the bomb cyclone swirling off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and the atmospheric river affecting California on Oct. 24. Photo: CIRA/RAMMB

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are delivering historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest.

Why it matters: The atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, was causing Northern California to whiplash from drought to flood, as it slowly moved south overnight. It's triggered widespread power outages, flooding and mudslides.

In photos: Drought-ravaged California lashed by major storm

Workers try to divert water into drains as rain pours down on Oct. 24 in Marin City, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A major storm system was pummeling Northern California and parts of the Pacific Northwest with heavy rains overnight.

The big picture: "Atmospheric river" storms, associated with a record-strong "bomb cyclone" offshore from the Pacific Northwest, have brought flooding and mudslides to parts of California that were razed by recent wildfires and in severe drought. It's also caused widespread power outages in California and Washington state.

4 hours ago - World

Sudan's military places civilian prime minister under house arrest

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok during a 2020 news conference in Khartoum, Sudan. Photo: Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Sudan's civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was put under house arrest and several other ministers were also detained Monday in what appears to be a military coup in the country, per local reports.

Why it matters: The arrests of the civilian faction in the Sudanese government came a day after U.S. envoy Jeffrey Feltman met with the head of the military faction of the Sudanese government General Abdul Fattah al-Burhan and warned him against staging a coup.