On Wednesday night, the Cubs clinched their 4th straight playoff berth for the first time in franchise history.

Take a moment and let that sink in.

After three straight NLCS appearances and a World Series title, it should be normal for us as fans to have the simple expectation that our team will continue to make the playoffs year in and year, out right?

Well in Cubs’ history, four straight playoff appearances had never happened until last night.

This incredible feat by the Cubs is a reminder of just how futile the team had been for decades, and how truly lucky we are as fans to now to be living through the Golden Age of Cubs Baseball.

While fans, including myself, can nit-pick every in-game decision, matchup, player acquisition and more, we have to realize that we cannot take for granted the tremendous baseball achievements we are witnessing in our lifetime.

As the Cubs head into the 2018 postseason with more questions than answers with inconsistent hitting, an unreliable bullpen and injury woes, we have to take a step back and understand what we are watching. For this organization, four straight playoff appearances are a feat we cannot lose sight of.

For the foreseeable future, the Cubs will continue to be considered as well as expected to be a contender and we have one man to thank for that new luxury, Theo Epstein.

This playoff berth is a reminder of what Epstein meant when he set out to build ‘Sustained Success’ 7 years ago.

Epstein has kept his promise of sustained success and even though this may not be as strong of a team as the one in 2016, the fact that the Cubs are contending in the last week of September once again is an incredible achievement, and one that was unheard of just 5 years ago.

Epstein, along with Jed Hoyer, Jason McLeod and Owner Tom Ricketts set a new path and foundation for this organization in 2011, and while the growing pains were tough, this is the reward.

There are no more one-year fluke playoff runs, or lighting in a bottle seasons every 5-10 years. Since 2015 the Cubs and Epstein finally reached the point they had been building towards for four years and are now rewarding a new generation of Cubs fans with a consistent expectation of excellence every year, something we as Cubs fans have been waiting for, for generations.

Growing up a die-hard fan, I remember where I was when Aramis Ramirez hit a walk-off home run to knock off the Brewers in 2007, or the chaotic 9th inning that saw Kosuke Fukudome’s Opening Day Homer in 2008, or when Michael Barret and AJ Pierzynski duked it out at home plate, heightening the Crosstown Rivalry.

All of these regular season moments are forever etched in my memory and yet they meant so much because that is all we had to grasp on to as a fan base.

Now in 2018, that has all changed. There is a reason why the heated rivalry between the White Sox and Cubs is now just another game on the schedule, or why an exciting walk-off winner in May is not forever engrained in our memories.

It is because thanks to Epstein’s sustained success model, we expect more as a fan base. While the regular season is important, an exciting game early in the season means nothing when the goal is to compete for a World Series in October.

We are living in a time where ‘Cubbie occurrences’ that used to be sacred or pain-inducing for us Cubs fans, are now simply in the back of our minds, now that there are championship aspirations every year.

The entire outlook of the Cubs and for us as fans changed when Epstein re-vamped the Northsiders and turned the team into something the city had never seen before.

The Cubs had always wanted to get to a point, where four, five or even six straight playoff appearances were the norm, and they have gotten there.

This is the moment we’ve been waiting for as Cubs fans. Epstein kept his promise and we are loving every second of it.

For a franchise more famous for losing than winning, the tables have finally turned. The Cubs are competing and expected to compete every year.

And as long as Epstein is at the helm, we as Cubs fans need to truly appreciate this new era for Chicago Cubs baseball.

Let’s hope Epstein and the Cubs can keep delivering on their promise for years to come.