Sometimes it is necessary to stop thinking and worrying about war, violence, the economy, the future of our country and the turnings of history to consider what is really important – the Cubbies. It’s not like the subject is a breath of fresh air. Try stale smoke, spilt beer, stiff sweat socks or wet newspapers for starters. Just "same old, same old." "The Cubbies are the Cubbies are the Cubbies.
About 10 days ago, the team became mathematically ineligible for post-season play. No news in that, the way the season has gone. The Cubs put a fork in themselves – and in their fans’ fragile hopes – with the Ryan Dempster deal. Yes, that was a "rebuilding" statement, a so-called moneyball move. That tanked the season. But, hey, the fans kept coming. Why?
• To take in Wrigley Field itself – a destination experience for out-of-town pilgrims;
• to witness the next crazy way to lose a baseball game;
• to watch the ivy blushing brown with embarrassment;
• to seek the company that misery loves.
True Cubs fans understand all of the above and will, no doubt, add a few more items of their own. They are too used to a season’s having a GPS that keeps saying, "Recalculating!" and never getting them to where they dearly want to go.
But true Cubs fans also see possibilities. They know baseball and appreciate consistent and growing talent. They believe the team has an infield that may eventually compete with "Tinker to Evers to Chance"; they see younger players moving up and fitting in; they pray for heavier and noisy bats, especially against lefties; they yearn for Cy Young pitching, solid, across-the-board fielding, post-season action and World Series play in the "Friendly Confines." The last doesn’t seem to be in sight, but true Cubs fans continue to scan the horizon.
Finally, true Cubs fans are sick of the "lovable losers" tag on the team, and even sicker of the mythic curse hovering over Wrigley. Enough already with that junk. Such nonsense may fill seats but it doesn’t win games. Get past it, guys.
2012 is almost history, embedding another teeth-grinding notch on a century-plus timeline. Still, there is no off-season for Cubs fans. They fill the bleachers of management’s mind, to eyeball every move Theo Epstein & Co. will be making, hoping that somehow, magically and mercifully, 2013 will be the "next year" they have been waiting for.