Well, here we are again, fellow Cub fans. The “Best Team in Baseball” has just beaten the San Francisco Giants with an improbable 9th inning comeback last night to advance to the NL championship series. That’s where they were last year when the Mets beat them in four straight. That’s where they were in 2003 when the Florida Marlins came back from a 3-1 deficit to win 3 straight. We all remember the meltdown in game 6 and Steve Bartman.
That’s where they were in 1984 when the San Diego Padres won 3 straight to overcome a 2-0 deficit in the NL final series.
That’s where they were in 1969 when they blew an 8 game lead in September and lost out to the Miracle Mets.
I have been there for all of this. I began this sad journey in 1963 when I became a Cub fan.
In 1969, I went to Chicago to watch them win the pennant. I got there just in time to watch them lose their lead to the Mets as they collapsed. History blames manager Leo Durocher, who never gave his regulars a day off. By September they all ran out of gas.
In 1984, living in Italy, I followed the games on my (lousy) short wave radio. I was in heaven when they won the first two games. I took my radio with me to Genoa while on a business trip. They lost game three. I was in Rome during games four and five and listened to the games at three and four in the morning while in bed. Of course, they blew it.
Then there was the grand daddy of them all in 2003. Just thinking about what happened in games 6 and 7 gives me pain. You would not have wanted to be in the Fouse home those nights.
I often remind people that the last year the Cubs played in the World Series was 1945-the year I was born. The last year they won the World Series was 1908-the year my Dad was born.(Fortunately for him he was never a Cubs fan.)
Being a fanatical sports fan defies all reasonable logic. Yet, it is what it is. I saw it with the Italians when I lived in Italy. Fortunately for me-though I tried- I never became a soccer fan. But I am a fanatical Cubs fan just as I am a fanatical Steeler fan. (I also root for the Pittsburgh Penguins, but it isn’t that serious.)
But I digress.
The point is after 53 years (for me) of futility and frustration, I will be on pins and needles this coming week as the Cubs try to fulfill their promise and give their fans what they have hungered for so long. All the experts are saying the Cubs will go all the way. I am not so sure.
After all, I am a Cub fan.