Anthony Rizzo explains why the Cubs never will be hated by sports fans

The Chicago Cubs were lovable losers for more than a century. But now that they have shed the loser portion of that tag, how safe is the lovable part?

First baseman Anthony Rizzo, who caught the ball that officially ended the 2016 World Series and the franchise's championship drought, doesn't believe fans ever will find a way to hate the Cubs -- even if they become a dynasty like the Yankees in the past and the Patriots in the modern-day NFL.

"We're a team that is likeable. Joe [Maddon] says 'authenticity,' and you see it," Rizzo told the Chicago Sun-Times. "I think this team has a lot of good personalities, where it's going to be tough. If we just respect the game, it'll make it hard for people not to like us."

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The topic came up because of an offseason conversation Rizzo had with a sports fan while working out.

"I had an older man in the gym telling me he's a big Red Sox and Patriots fan," Rizzo said. "And he said, 'Yeah, congrats, you guys won one, but you haven't done anything until the whole country hates you.'"

It's tough to imagine the entire country hating the Cubs, but you never know. If this talented young nucleus goes on a championship-winning spree for the next four or five years, the haters could come out in full force. And Cubs fans probably wouldn't mind one bit.