“Hey! Hey! Whaddaya say, the Cubs are having some fun today!”
“What a difference a year* makes! (*read: century) No one can say at this writing where all of this is taking us, but it has been a highly charged season for Cub fans. Nor can they say “Baseball can’t be any better than this” since it can and hopefully will be. But there is no taking away the excitements this team has provided this season.
It has been a long time since I have thought of the Phillies’ Whiz Kids” of 1950 but this year’s edition of the Cubs is evocative of them. True, the Cubs’ demons still lurk, but the team thus far has played Ghostbusters baseball. Billy Goats, black cats, Buckner and Bartman belong in another century.
At the moment the Cubs are having fun. They are playing like a team rather than like a conglomerate of separate interests. And they are young enough to “Believes,” as their fans are blaring.
To this writer baseball is the perfect game, with so many “games” going on at once – in the dugout, on the field and pitcher’s mound, and in the batters’ box. Anyone who realizes that can never call baseball boring. It’s a game in which numbers tell one story while fans track so many others (like me remembering the Whiz Kids). In every game history is inescapable.
During the playoffs, the so-called Second Season, both intensity and quality of play are ratcheted up, dugout strategy becoming a fine art. In tight situations fans can hear the gears grinding under the team managers’ caps, even while creating their own solutions. What is happening on the field is so much more than “moneyball.” Grown men are back in Little League, college, the Minors and playing their hearts out, acting like little boys with every win. There is nothing quite like it.
This year’s Cubs team has already made history and is playing to make even more. Chicagoland is going wild following every move they make, while hoping the bogeyman keeps his distance. As in life itself, anything can happen. But this team is making magic, and fans are mesmerized by what is happening not only in Wrigleyville but also the wider world of baseball.
Some are saying Ernie Banks is an angel at shortstop and Ron Santo is still playing third base. Whatever is going on, the Cubs themselves are playing “winningball,” making history and simply having fun.