“Could it be? Yes, it could.

Something’s coming, something good…

Gonna be great!”

— West Side Story

I have been holding off since April writing my annual Cubs column for three reasons: First, the weight of importance for this particular season would challenge any wordsmith to express appropriately the hesitancies of most Cub fans to think, “This could be THE year!”; second, any too-early talk of playoffs, pennant, World Series and the whole enchilada might stir the jinxes and curses that haunt the eerie confines at Clark and Addison; and third, by the end of the first half of the season, some risks might be worth taking.

Now that the halfway mark has come and gone, the risks seem still not worth taking, especially after the south-side sweep — but I have to say something. The tune and beat of “Something’s Coming” has been playing non-stop in my mind since Opening Day. Every win notches up the volume, every loss turns it down, but the music plays on.

Seems like all the pieces are there this year: pitching, hitting, fielding, managing and coaching. Fan fervor is nothing new, but there is an intensity to it that is contagious and spreading. Even some away games sound like home games when distant fans start chanting, “Let’s go, Cubbies!” “It’s Gonna Happen” wrist bands and t-shirts may not be as noisy but they are humming a mantra for Cub fans everywhere.

I remember when the Mets did it all – in 1969 against the Orioles. The “Miracle Mets” pulled off one of the greatest upsets in baseball history and their fame still resounds through the ages. But they were not coming off a 100-year drought, nor were they haunted by Billy Goat curses, black cats and Bartmans.

Should the Cubs actually “Make It Great in ’08,” even the Mets will have to make room in the history books; and someone will have to invent a word to take the place of “miracle.”

All of this leaves me looking at what is ahead. I will admit my heart is hopeful but I hesitate to believe the music between my ears. But I will not allow that to stifle my dreams, diminish the drama of the months ahead, or kill the joys of this boy of summer. It would help greatly, believe me, if I did not know the ending of West Side Story. But, hey, I am talking north side, North Side.