“Could It Be? Yes, It Could. Something’s Coming; Something Good … Gonna Be Great!” – lyrics by Stephen Sondheim from “West Side Story”
Ah, the North Side Story. Nothing quite like it for Cub fans, ever. The summer of 2016 has been giving them something they have been dreaming about for more than a century. The big blue W is flying high and often. Post-season play is a given and, if the gods be kind and the team stays loose, the Cubs could go all the way.
That is the good news. The club is obviously having fun – and making history. They have won, decisively, the longest part of their season. Now comes the tougher part – League Championship and, it is gonna happen sometime, the World Series. Wrigleyville will go wild.
All the pieces are in place – pitching, fielding, hitting, and attitude. But, as every Cub fan knows, baseball is baseball and anything can happen, particularly in post-season play.
While West Side Story has its own tragic ending, the North Side Story is hoping for a tale of epic proportions and long dreamed-of success. Yet, even as I write these words, there is caution pulsing in my fingertips. Timing is everything, especially in baseball. Slumps, costly errors, losing streaks, pitching woes, injuries and that d— Billy Goat curse rankle and worry the battered souls of long-suffering Cub fans. All of that comes with the game, providing a reality check.
But this team, this team is having too much fun to give in to any of that. There’s an attitude this season – in the clubhouse, dugout, on the field – that has been providing the fans with the kind of baseball that defines the game’s magic. Even before the playoffs, there are more than enough highlights worthy of a Cooperstown video, and plenty of statistics for the shrine’s books.
It has been a long time coming, and Cub fans are enjoying every moment. But from here on in, it is going to be a rumble. The Boys of Summer need to become the Men of October and keep on playing their hearts out. Neither Shakespeare nor Bernstein and Sondheim can create a happy ending for the North Side Story. That is up to the Cubs themselves, in the League Championship and the World Series. Meanwhile their fans can only hold their breath, watch, enjoy and hope the world of Wrigley Field becomes a star.
But, Hey. Something’s already here.