For so long, the Cubs had worn the title of lovable losers. The brief exception was 2007 and 2008, when Lou Piniella came in and led the team to playoff runs. But even then, the lasting memory of those runs was the ensuing sweep out of the playoffs.When Theo Epstein came in, he cleaned house and made no qualms about the fact that the rebuild would be a slow, arduous proce s. It would be meticulous, not utilizing shortcuts that would seem fruitful in the immediate but lead to even more futility down the road. But in the end, it would work, he said.MORE: Antony Rizzo, MVP?| The best player at every ageSo, with the exception of the most dedicated fans, baseball largely ignored the franchise for several years. From 2010-2014, the Cubs averaged 69 https://www.padresedges.com/san-diego-padres/dave-winfield-jersey wins and 93 lo ses. But behind the scenes in the draft, in the minor leagues, through data and analytics and scouting the Cubs were building a monster.The monster came alive last year, as the Cubs won 97 games and made the playoffs, winning the Wild Card game and knocking off hated rival St. Louis in the NLDS.The Cubs remember, the team that averaged 69 wins forfiveyears havebecome the best team in baseball. And teams are taking notice. This year, the Cubs will be a team that people love to hate.No one likes winners, see? The Yankees? Fans hate them. Cardinals? Despicable (just ask Cubs fans). The Giants? They win the World Series every other year.Now, the Cubs in all their glory with Rizzo and Schwarber and Bryant and Arrieta and so much more will join that group. It’s already started.It started last year with the Cardinals. The Cardinals had owned the rivalry for years. Then the Cubs came along and started making noise. The tension began bubbling in mid-September, as the Cubs and Cardinals met for a three-game series in Chicago. The Cardinals had a comfortable lead in the division while the Cubs were in the thick of the Wild Card race.In the fifth inning of the first game of the series, Dan Haren hit Matt Holliday in the head (he would later claim it was an accident, and the situation would seem to back this up the Cubs led by only one run and the tying run was already on base.) But Matt Belisle returned the favor in the seventh, hitting Anthony Rizzo. Belisle and manager Matt Matheny were ejected. After the game, Joe Maddon didn’t mince words.”I’m really disappointed in what the Cardinals did right there,” Maddon said, via CSN Chicago. “Absolutely. We did not hit their guy on purpose at all. It was an absolute mistake; there was no malicious intent on Dan Haren’s part. None.”So to become this vigilante group that all of a sudden wants to get their own pound of flesh, that’s absolutely insane, ridiculous and wrong. We don’t start stuff, but we will stop stuff.”Them there are fightin’ words.The next time the two teams would meet was in the playoffs. The Cardinals took the first game of the NLDS before the Cubs won the next three. The giant had been slain.Oh yeah, then the Cubs grabbed John Lackey and Jason Heyward two of the Cardinals’ prized po se sions in free agency this winter.You’d be wise to mark any Cubs-Cardinals games on your calendar. There are 19 of them, just in the regular season. https://www.padresedges.com/san-diego-padres/chase-headley-jersey The Cardinals now see the Cubs as a threat, and the Cubs see the Cardinals as just one more team in their way.MORE: Clubhouse controversies| Most hated MLB players of the centuryBut the Cardinals aren’t the only team with a beef against the northsiders. Fans in Pittsburgh aren’t too fond of them either.The Pirates had risen from the ashes of deplorability and had given the Cardinals a run for their money beginning in 2013. Then the Cubs joined the fray and me sed everything up.First there was the slide in mid-September, the one where Chris Coghlan took out Jung Ho Kang at https://www.padresedges.com/san-diego-padres/randy-jones-jersey second base. With that one slide, Kang’s season was over he underwent surgery that night for a displaced lateral tibial plateau fracture and lateral meniscalrepair. At the time of the injury, Kang had a .287/.355/.461 line. He’d finish third in the NL Rookie of the Year voting, behind Matt Duffy andKris Bryant of the Cubs.But that wasn’t the end of the Pirates’ feud with the Cubs. The two teams, who had combined to win 195 games, met in a winner-take-all Wild Card game. For the third time in as many seasons, the Pirates lost the game this time thanks to the buzz-saw that was Jake Arrieta. Even that game didn’t end without fireworks, as Jake Arrieta was plunked, benchescleared and Sean Rodriguez went ham on a Gatorade Cooler.Think the Pirates like the Cubs very much?Then last night, the Cubs and Giants squared off in a nationally-televised spring training game where Madison Bumgarner and Jason Heyward exchanged words after Bumgarner thoughts the Cubs were stealing signs. It ends up it was all a misunderstanding. But as SN’sJe se Spector tweeted last nightBro, if you think they’re really stealing signs in spring training, they’re in your head. https://t.co/l2fFDqVFyz Je se Spector (@je sespector) March 25, 2016Maddon always has a go-to phrase at the beginning of each season. Last year, it was Respect 90. This year, it is Embrace the Target.”I’m really a big believer in running towards the fire instead of away from it,” Maddon said, via ESPN. “I want our guys to get comfortable with the concept of everyone speaking so glowingly of us.”Everywhere the Cubs look, there are targets. There’s the target of winning the division. The target of making it to the World Series. And the target of finally winning it all.But the biggest target for the Cubs will be on their backs. Because no one likes winners. And, at long last, the Cubs can claim that title.