Post-Traumatic Recap: Wait Till Next Year

Monday, October 6, 2008

Post-Traumatic Recap: Wait Till Next Year

. Monday, October 6, 2008


Ladies and gentlemen of the Blue, fate has once again kicked us straight in the ass. Or maybe we did it to ourselves. Despite an entire year of buildup and a dominating 97-win regular season, we failed to show up in the playoffs yet again. Ever since the Alex Gonzalez (NOT Steve Bartman) game at the tail end of '03, we have yet to win a playoff game. To put things in perspective, the Houston Astros have won more games at crappy Minute Maid Park (opened in 2000) than we have at the beautiful friendly confines (est. 1914). This particular playoff year featured the curse of ... no hitting, no fielding, and little pitching. Sigh.

Unlike, say, the Bears losing the Super Bowl in 2006, I'm not angry at any specific thing. I'm just sad, and there's a big empty hole where baseball used to be. Sure, I love baseball, but I'm not putting my heart behind the rest of the playoffs, because, simply, this isn't The Year. I'm finding it difficult to even hate the Dodgers, sort of like the Diamondbacks last year, because we beat ourselves more than they beat us. It seemed like every man on the Cubs was feeling The Fear, which tells me that they may have believed the Curse hype even more than most of us. We never looked confident, and once we were down, we never looked hopeful to get back in it. Even a solid comeback from Carlos Zambrano couldn't get the team going, which made for a really, really sad evening. We hoped until the very end, playing out scenarios where Lilly pitched a heroic game 4 and Dempster would seek redemption in a decisive game 5 at Wrigley. Turns out we had even less in the tank than we thought. And so went the hopes and dreams of Cubs fandom for yet another year.

There are going to be some changes - Soriano may be replaced by someone who won't disappear in the clutch. Marshall and Samardzija are going to get their shots at the rotation. Felix Pie may just yet turn into an every day player. Who knows what will happen with Fukudome. The only given is that our team will grow and change as we give them yet another offseason to work their way back into our hearts and minds. And that's what kills me about this team - no matter how hard they make it on me, I can't stop thinking about them for an instant. They're a part of all the things that make my life in Chicago great - like Vienna Beef hot dogs, light traffic days on the Kennedy, and the feeling that our city is one great big backyard.





At a post-mortem/Bears game viewing yesterday afternoon at a North Side tavern, Steve and I already started talking about trades, free agency, and the Opening Day 2009 rotation. This being less than 24 hours after our team slumped out of a playoff series uglier than a colostomy bag in a microwave. As painful as it is right now to be a Cubs fan, I guarantee you the real fans are still talking about our team, wondering where it went wrong and how we can fix it. Frankly, if you watched our anemic hitting, bad fielding, and spotty pitching and said "that's it, I'm done," perhaps your friends didn't blame you. The whole short series was a tough watch. But there is a word for you - fairweather fan. If you can't handle our present baseball hangover, then you didn't deserve the highs that 2008 delivered either. Personally, I wouldn't trade my experiences this year for anything. I caught a game with my mom, sweat as much as I drank in the bleachers, and watched a rare Wrigley clincher all in one year. Sure, the ending didn't really suit me, but tough shit. If we know anything as Cubs fans, it's that life isn't fair. But those of us that are shaking off the cobwebs of grief know that we're still privilged to call the Cubs our team and Wrigley our home. And as always, we're looking forward to next year.

5 comments:

laniegirl3 said...

i've been waiting for this post since i went to the disaster of a game last thursday...thanks for making me feel better and here's to next year!

Emily said...

If only they had kept Matt Murton...

Mitch said...

I saw the very end of that terrible game 3 and was so very, very sad for you and Steve. Have been checking to see your final post of the season. Looking forward to enjoying next season with your humor.

John said...

Oh, don't worry. We're not going anywhere. We'll be blogging right through the brutal Chicago winter until the first rays of spring baseball again fall upon us. How do you run a baseball blog when your baseball team isn't playing? It's a zen thing.

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