I just had a friend tell me, “I don’t believe in faith anymore.” It took me more than a minute to un-pretzel his words to see some variation of an oxymoron, I think. Or maybe there is another name that describes his statement. His timing was fortuitous, however, since it came smack in the middle of my attempts to put words to where I am with the Cubbies this coming season.
Faith and the Cubs have become sickly synonymous. Like hope, the last thing left in Pandora’s Box, faith is what keeps Cubs’ fans wallowing in misery with no end to it in sight. I told myself after last season that I had given up, stopped believing that the Cubs can ever ghostbust that hovering curse-cloud or, as long as their fans keep filling the house, confront their mind-set as “lovable losers” while the media and marketing moguls beat the same drum.
You ask, “If you have really given up, then why are you writing this?” Well, you can blame it on baseball itself. The game teaches that there is always tomorrow. Win or lose, it is the next game that matters. Cubbies’ fans, especially, have learned to let go of yesterday and latch on to dreams of tomorrow. Can I call that faith – or is it insanity, like when one keeps doing the same thing over and over again while getting the same result – like an addict. Or maybe it’s a strain of spring fever. After all, spring training is only two weeks away.
I did not convene with the fans at the Hilton last month, but the media accounts did little to resurrect a faith buried beneath last season’s disasters: Zambrano’s eruptions, Soriano’s mid-hurricane-like fielding, Marmol’s implosions and even Castro’s tremor errors. I’m not talking injuries; they happen. It’s the mental infrastructure of the team that sabotages and frustrates. Can that ever change? Will the new front office and their money-do list make a difference? Can their new manager?
I cannot say, like my friend, that I don’t believe in faith any more, but I am resigned to living with not knowing. I am telling myself, “This is not the year,” and am resolved to take the pre-season media hype with a truckload of left-over winter salt.
I may have given up believing in the Cubbies “going all the way” anytime soon, but I have to admit baseball has done its job well in teaching me “there’s always tomorrow.”