Normally in the hovel of Wrigleyville which serves as the mystic and perpetual capital of Cubnation, the only thing that flows is kilogallons of amber into the gullets of the people who need to be reminded that the game started 20 minutes ago, and the slightly yellower liquid that flows onto the lawns and through the alleys of the neighborhood later.
But lo! Yes … after the better part of a decade of shame from the events of 14 October 2003 …
… and the humiliation of 26 October 2005 …
… it appears that the free-flow spigots of cherry and blueberry kool-aid are open again as Cubnation crawls out from the woodwork to revel in Cubs success. Once again, Cubs fans are learning the names of the players, and a few even know the positions that they play.
To be fair … there is something notably different about this Cub team. This is not like the 1984 team which should have won and didn’t, or the 1989, 1998, 2003, 2007 or 2008 post-season teams which everyone in baseball knew would result in nothing (everyone in baseball except the Cub fans). No … this is different. There is a feeling of freshness, an odor of something different (there’s still that stale urine odor from the urinal troughs … but there is something more to it this time). This time, there is a genuine feeling that the Cubs might really be for real … that this team of no-names led by some mystic senior citizen wizard from some coal mining town in Pennsylvania best known for their “Keep Hazleton White” laws is perhaps perched on the edge of finally moving on to the World Series and perhaps, maybe, winning it for the first time since the Roosevelt administration (Theodore, not Franklin).
If I am right, and the Cubs have performed some kind of penance (or finally sacrificed enough children to their dark master), this means that they are really truly going to win, or the dear Lord is going to have to work overtime to prevent this from happening. So far, for those keeping score, he has used goats, Ryne Sandberg miscues, and even the intervention of a fan. What could be in store for the Cubs this time?? I have been going around and gathering thoughts:
- The Cubs actually win the World Series.
- Down three with two outs in the ninth inning of Game 7, a Cubs player hits a long one to the outfield, but is blocked from clearing the fence by a 747 which crashes into the outfield killing thousands. When the game is picked up, two weeks later, the same batter bounces into a 6-4 fielder’s choice to lose the World Series.
- As part of Joe Maddon’s love of animals program with the team, Maddon brings a tiger to the clubhouse. When Jake Arrieta, the projected pitcher for that afternoon’s Game 7 of the World Series steps up to pet the tiger, the tiger gets loose and mauls Arrieta, and the Cubs lose Game 7 by a score of 1-2.
- As a part of Maddon’s love of animals program that he introduced a week ago, several Cubs begin reporting flea bites, and two weeks later develop symptoms of the plague. The Cubs are forced to bring in a whole new roster for the World Series, and with Carlos Zambrano on the mound for Game 1, the game ends in a nuclear explosion from Zambrano’s rage. This forces the Cubs to forfeit the rest of the series (this is a bit Old Testament, but with the Cubs who can tell?)
- Game 7 of the World Series begins with a shocker: Steve Bartman himself comes out to throw out the first pitch, and is so excited that he uncorks a pitch that nails Kyle Schwarber in the nose. As Bartman is leaving the field, he goes to shake Jake Arrieta’s hand, and slips on the slick dewy grass, dislocating Arrieta’s pitching arm. As before, Cubs security is forced to quickly spirit Bartman away as the Friendly Confines again erupts with chants of “Kill Him!!”. With Arrieta unable to pitch and Schwarber out from behind the plate, the Cubs lose Game 7, 1-0.
- In the ninth inning of Game 7, Kyle Schwarber, who is due up next inning, is shifted to left field. A home run to take the lead slams into the new electronic video board, causing it to collapse killing dozens of fraternity boys and Kyle Schwarber. Schwarber’s replacement then flies out harmlessly as part of a 1-2-3 Cubs ninth to end the World Series.
- Coming around third to complete a Game 7-winning inside-the-park home run, Anthony Rizzo stops in bewilderment at what he sees as the ghost of Ernie Banks giving him the hold sign standing behind third base coach Gary Jones who is waving him home. Rizzo slips, and the relay throw catches him before he can scramble back to third. As he walks back to the dugout, Rizzo notes that it was the ghost of Minnie Minoso, not Ernie Banks.
It will be an interesting post-season. Will the Cubs finally break free of this endless orbit of frustration … or will the supernatural powers of the universe come through with another timely miracle?